Physical Therapist Assistant
The physical therapist assistant (PTA) is a skilled health care professional who works under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. The PTA participates as a team member, contributing to total patient care by performing a variety of activities designed to restore physical function and prevent disability of patients of all ages. The program is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Program graduates find employment in a variety of settings including long-term care facilities, hospitals, school system, outpatient clinics, and home care agencies.
Please download this list of possible clinic locations to complete required observation hours required for the program.
Please download this expenses list for estimated program costs.
Comments regarding the PTA program should be directed to the Health Careers department at (309) 999-4600.
Associate in Applied Science (Career Program)
Total Credit Hours: 66
Select a course number below to see our class schedule along with a course description.
Required General Education Courses
||COMPOSITION I ****
||COMMUNICATION: PROCESS AND PRACTICE ****
||INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY ****
||HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY **
Required Program Courses
||FUNDAMENTALS FOR THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT VI
||FUNDAMENTALS FOR THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT V
||FUNDAMENTALS FOR THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT IV
||FUNDAMENTALS FOR THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT III
||FUNDAMENTALS FOR THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT II
||FUNDAMENTALS FOR THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT I
||INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL THERAPY
||HEALTH CARE ORGANIZATION AND RESOURCES
||LEGAL ISSUES IN HEALTH CARE
||DISEASE PROCESSES IN MAN ****
||MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY ***
||CHILD AND ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT ****
* See specific requirements for Associate in Applied Science Degree.
** BIOL 140 or 205/206 within 5 years of admission into program with a grade of "C" or better.
*** Must be completed by the end of the first fall semester
**** Underlined courses may be taken prior to admission into the program.
High School Recommendations: 3 years English, 1 year Biology, 1 year Chemistry, 2 years Mathematics
Recommended Course Sequence
|Summer Semester|| PHTA 114; BIOL 140|
|Fall Semester 1|| ENGL 110; PSY 110; HLTH 121; PHTA 112; PHTA 115; PHTA 116|
|Spring Semester 1|| HEOCC 200; PHTA 216; PHTA 118; PHTA 130; Mathematics|
|Fall Semester 2|| PSY 202; COMM 110; HEOCC 220; HEOCC 230; PHTA 218; PHTA 230|
|Spring Semester 2|| PHTA 220; PHTA 222; PHTA 232; Humanities|
Program Contact Information
Health Careers Department
Illinois Career Cluster
This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
The mission of the PTA Program is to provide the knowledge and skills and develop attitudes, which prepare graduates to function as an entry-level PTAs who will work under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist to meet the needs of the community in a variety of clinical settings.
Faculty members believe that educational opportunities should be provided to prepare students for entry-level positions as a PTA. The curriculum for the Associate of Applied Science degree in Physical Therapy is designed to meet accreditation standards and to provide a foundation in technical PTA courses and general education courses for both personal and professional growth. Additionally, the curriculum is designed to support and integrate the College’s core values and achievement of general education goals.
Educational objectives are developed to align knowledge, skills, and affective behaviors with appropriate classroom, lab, and clinical education opportunities. As the student progresses through the program, opportunities are provided to allow for increased responsibility for patient care under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. Achievement of program goals and learning objectives are assessed using a variety of methods to enhance student success with the licensure exam and career as a PTA.
Upon completion of the program, the graduate will be able to:
- Demonstrate the skills necessary for entry-level practice as a PTA under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist in a safe, ethical, legal, and effective manner.
Objective: 90% of graduates will rate their preparation at least 3.0 (0-5 scale) to function as an entry level PTA.
- Utilize critical thinking skills to progress, modify, and/or withhold interventions based on patient status as determined through observation, data collection, and problem solving skills.
Objective: 90% of graduates will rate their knowledge at least 3.0 (0-5 scale) to progress, modify, or withhold treatment.
- Educate others (patients, family, staff, students, and other healthcare providers) using effective teaching methods.
Objective: 90% of graduates will rate their knowledge at least 3.0 (0-5 scale) in the teaching of others.
- Demonstrate social responsibility, citizenship, and advocacy through the participation in community and service organizations and activities.
Objective: 50% of graduates will indicate they participate with community service activities after graduation.
- Demonstrate sensitivity to individual and cultural differences in all aspects of physical therapy services.
Objective: 90% of graduates will rate their knowledge at least 3.0 (0-5 scale) for those factors which affect the delivery of patient care.
- Recognize the need for continued personal and professional growth to ensure competence in current practices of physical therapy.
Objective: 90% of employers will rate graduates at least 3.0 (0-5 scale) in advancing their knowledge and skills.
- Understand the PT/PTA relationship in providing quality physical therapy services.
Objective: 90% of graduates will rate their knowledge at least 3.0 (0-5 scale) in understanding the role of the PTA and relationship with the PT.
Upon completion of the program, the graduate will be able to:
- Graduates will pass the national licensure examination and be eligible for licensure/certification.
Objective: 90% of students completing the program will pass the national licensure examination.
- Students will progress in and graduate from the program with entry-level skills as a PTA.
Objective: 80% of students starting the program will graduate.
- Graduates will obtain employment as a PTA.
Objective: 80% of graduates seeking employment will be employed as a PTA within six-months of graduation.
- Graduates will be satisfied with the program’s curriculum to prepare them for the role as an entry-level PTA.
Objective: 90% of graduates will rate their preparation at least 3.0 (0-5 scale) to function as an entry-level PTA.
- Employers will be satisfied with graduates’ knowledge and skills as an entry-level PTA.
Objective: 80% of employers will rate overall graduate performance at least 3.0 (0-5 scale) to function as an entry-level PTA.
For years 2014-2015, program statistics are as follows (2-year average):
||2 year average
|Licensure Exam Pass Rate
|Employment Rate (after 6 months of passing licensure exam)
Essential Skills and Abilities
A PTA must possess the following capabilities and abilities: communication, motor, sensory, problem solving, behavioral skills and professionalism, which are necessary to provide physical therapy interventions. The following Core Performance Standards are necessary for the student to perform while in the program and in the role as a PTA.
The Core Performance Standards are used to assist in the determination as to whether accommodations or modifications are necessary for a student to meet program requirements. A student who identifies potential difficulties with meeting the Core Performance Standards should communicate his/her concerns to the Program Director. The student has the responsibility to identify and document any disability and to request reasonable and appropriate accommodations as needed. All students must be otherwise qualified and able to perform independently in all areas. Determination is made on an individual basis as to whether any accommodations or modifications can be reasonably made.
A. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking ability sufficient for safe clinical judgment
- Address problems or questions to the appropriate person(s) at the appropriate time(s)
- Adhere to policies and procedures including, but not limited to, safety and infection control
- Use sound judgment in decision making and consult with the physical therapist, as appropriate
- Function effectively under stress and maintain composure
- Adapt to changing environment and inherent uncertainties
- Respond appropriately to emergencies and take appropriate action
- Recognize patient goals and plan of care from the physical therapy evaluation
- Organize and prioritize patient care needs and job responsibilities.
B. Interpersonal Behavioral and Social Skills
Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds
- Establish rapport with patients, families, and colleagues
- Allow mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and fellow workers (interpersonal skills)
- Function effectively under stressful situations and time constraints
- Adapt to changing environments (flexible schedules, emergency conditions)
- Display compassion, professionalism, empathy, integrity, and concern for others
- Maintain patient confidentiality and abide by guidelines set forth in the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act
- Accept criticism and reflect upon provided feedback to improve performance and practice
- Adhere to the policies and procedures required by academic and clinical settings
- Able to resolve conflict in an effective and efficient manner
Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form
- Communicate in English to patients of all age levels in order to: converse, give instructions, relieve anxiety, gain their participation for therapy sessions
- Read the patient’s medical chart and/or therapy plan of care
- Demonstrate basic computer literacy skills
- Document patient responses to therapy interventions
Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces
- Assist all patients according to individual needs and abilities in moving, turning, and transferring from various surfaces without injury to self, patient, or others
- Be able to lift and carry 50 pounds
- Exert up to 100 pounds force or push/pull
- Must be able to walk and stand for extended periods of time without the use of an assistive device (such as walkers, canes, etc.) or use of a wheelchair
- Move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces
- Perform instruction by manual demonstration, as appropriate
- Must be able to lift and move supplies and equipment to shelves
E. Motor Skills
Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective care
- Apply manual resistance for strengthening exercises
- Physically be able to administer emergency care, including performing CPR, as needed
- Use hands repetitively, have manual dexterity and sufficient fine motor function
Auditory abilities sufficient to monitor and assess patient needs, and to provide a safe environment
- Demonstrate auditory acuity (with correction as needed) that includes hearing muffled voices (through surgical mask) with extraneous background noise
- Hear a patient talk in a normal tone from a distance of 20 feet
- Hear monitor alarms, emergency signals, and cries for help
- Discern soft sounds, such as those associated with taking a blood pressure, with/without background noise
- Auditory ability sufficient to hear verbal communication from patients and others; includes ability to respond to emergency signals
- Auditory acuity to be able to recognize and respond to soft voices, auditory timers, equipment alarms, and devices used for measurement of blood pressure and breath sounds
Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in the operation of equipment and care of patients
- Observe the patient in order to assess the patient’s condition and/or needs from a distance of at least 10 feet
- Can see numbers, letters, calibrations, etc., of varying sizes located on equipment or other signage (such as patient room numbers or patient ID bands)
- Set, adjust and read dials on physical therapy equipment
- Visual acuity to acquire information from electronic medical records or written documents. Near and far vision of 20/40 or better, with or without correction
Tactile ability sufficient for patient assessment and operation of equipment
- Perform palpation, tactile assessment, and manipulation of body parts to insure proper body placement and alignment
- Manipulate dials, buttons, buckles, cords or other needed equipment (such as an oxygen tank)
- Comfortable working in close physical proximity to patient
Tolerate odors to allow care of patient
- Tolerate noxious odors, perfumes, and other body odors from wounds or skin conditions
J. Mathematical Skills
Ability to perform basic mathematical calculations
- Calculate range of motion of a joint using a goniometer
- Determine amount of force to apply with exercise and/or other physical therapy interventions
- Determine girth measurement