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.

Prospective Students

Please download and read over this important letter to all students interested in Physical Therapist Assistant

Observation Hours

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.

Student Resources

Clinical Resources

Comments regarding the PTA program should be directed to the Health Careers department at (309) 690-7530.


Associate in Applied Science (Career Program)
Total Credit Hours: 70

Program Requirements

Select a course number below to see a course description.

Required General Education Courses

Course Name Credit Hours
COMM 110

BIOL 140
BIOL 206

Required Program Courses

Course Name Credit Hours
PHTA 111Introduction to Physical Therapy Interventions 5.5
PHTA 116Anatomy and Kinesiology for the Physical Therapist Assistant 5
PHTA 118Principles of Orthopedic Rehabilitation 6
PHTA 216Principles of Therapeutic Modalities 4
PHTA 218Principles of Neurological Rehabilitation 6
PHTA 220Special Patient Populations 5.5
PHTA 222Management and Administration for the Physical Therapist Assistant 2.5

* See specific requirements for Associate in Applied Science Degree.
** Must be completed prior to starting the first fall semester
*** Underlined courses may be complete prior to admission to the program

High School Recommendations:  3 years English, 1 year Biology, 1 year Chemistry, 2 years Mathematics


Recommended Course Sequence

Semester Courses
Summer SemesterBIOL 140 or BIOL 205 AND BIOL 206; HLTH 121
Fall Semester 1 ENGL 110; HEOCC 200; PHTA 111; PHTA 116
Spring Semester 1 PSY 110; COMM 110 or 113; PHTA 112; PHTA 118; PHTA 130
Summer SemesterPHTA 216
Fall Semester 2 PSY 202; Math or second lab science; PHTA 218; PHTA 230
Spring Semester 2Humanities; PHTA 220; PHTA 222; PHTA 232

Program Contact Information

Health Careers Department
Peoria Campus, Cedar 105
(309) 690-7530

Illinois Career Cluster

Health Science

Career Pathway:
Therapeutic Services

Career Pathway

Pathway programs at ICC have a map that shows the courses/degree requirements that will lead students to their desired education and employment goals.

Career Cluster: Health Science
Pathway: Therapeutic Services
ICC Pathway: Physical Therapy

Early College

If you are a high school junior or senior, you can get a head start on your future by taking college-level courses now! Visit our Dual Credit webpage for a listing of area high schools with courses available.

COMM 110 | ENGL 110 | HLTH 121 | ICC 104 | PSY 110

Point of Entry

High School Diploma or GED

Getting Started: Apply to ICC | Apply to Health Careers | Paying for College | Career Information | Student Information

Associate of Applied Science Degree

Physical Therapist Assistant(70 credit hours)

Industry Credentials


Employment Information

Physical Therapist Assistant$19-27/hr

Occupation Bachelor Degree Transfer Options

There are no current articulation agreements to Bachelor degree programs.

Career Cluster Bachelor Degree Transfer Options

Program transfer guides layout course work to be taken at ICC and the transfer institution to complete specific programs of study or majors.

Methodist College Bachelor of Health Science

Many other degree completion programs are available.

General Bachelor Degree Transfer Options

General transfer agreements formalize the transfer process from ICC to other colleges and universities.

For additional transfer information:
Transfer Assistance
Useful Transfer Links
Transfer Agreements


This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)

1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
(703) 706-3245
[email protected]


The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program is to provide the knowledge and skills and develop attitudes which prepare graduates to function as an entry-level PTA 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 physical therapist assistants (PTAs) for entry-level positions. 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.

Student learning 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.

Competencies of program graduates include:

  1. meeting the needs of their patients
  2. continually develop and update their knowledge and skills
  3. participate in professional organizations
  4. foster lifelong learning

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, the graduate will:

  1. Pass licensure examination and be eligible for state licensure/certification.
    Objective: 90% of students completing the program will pass the physical therapist assistant licensure examination.
  2. Graduate from the program as an entry-level PTA.
    Objective: 90% of students starting the program will graduate.
  3. Obtain employment upon completion of the program.
    Objective: 90% of graduates will be employed as a PTA within 12 months of graduation.
  4. 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 to function as an entry-level PTA at least 3.0.
  5. Be employed by employers who are satisfied with the performance of PTAs graduates they hire.
    Objective: 90% of employers will rate graduate performance at least 3.0 as safe, effective, and ethically sound to function as an entry-level PTA.
  6. Engage in lifelong learning for professional growth.
    Objective: 90% of graduates will indicate they have participated in some type of continuing education program within 12 months of graduation.

Program Goals

Upon completion of the program, the graduate will:

  1. Perform interventions under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist in a safe, ethical, legal, and effective manner.
  2. Recognize the need for continued personal and professional growth to ensure competence in current practices of physical therapy.
  3. Demonstrate sensitivity to individual and cultural differences in all aspects of physical therapy services.
  4. Demonstrate social responsibility, citizenship, and advocacy through the participation in community and service organizations and activities.
  5. Meet the employment needs of the community.
  6. 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.

Student Outcomes

For years 2016-2017, program statistics are as follows (2-year average):

2-year average

Graduation Rate


Exam Pass Rate (all)

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

C. Communication

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

D. Mobility

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

F. Hearing

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

G. Visual

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

H. Tactile

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

I. Smell

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