Degree: Associate of Applied Science
Emphasis: Physical Therapist Assistant
The Physical Therapist Assistant program prepares students to apply to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination. A Physical Therapist Assistant can perform a range of physical therapy procedures specific to a patient’s diagnosis under the supervision of a physical therapist. As a Physical Therapist Assistant, you will have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of patients, from pediatrics to the older adult and every age and functional level in between. Obtaining a passing score on the national examination is required to practice as a physical therapist assistant in the state of Tennessee. The primary goal of physical therapy is to rehabilitate patients suffering from various diagnoses that affect their mobility and overall functional status. The Physical Therapist Assistant provides specifically prescribed treatments and exercises that improve one’s mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit physical disability. In addition, Physical Therapist Assistants help restore, maintain and promote overall fitness and health. Physical Therapist Assistants may find employment in many diverse settings, such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, private physical therapy practices, home health agencies, rehabilitation facilities, schools, and long term care facilities. At this time there are numerous job opportunities for the PTA nationwide.
The Walters State Community College Physical Therapist Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website:www.capteonline.org.
This program is designed for the student who does not intend to transfer to a baccalaureate degree program.
Legal Limitation for Licensure
Graduates of the program will be eligible to apply to take the National Examination to become a licensed physical therapist assistant. Obtaining a passing score on the national examination is required to practice as a physical therapist assistant in the state of Tennessee. Physical therapist assistants may not practice unless under the supervision of a physical therapist.
PTA General Admission Requirements
Any student desiring to pursue an associate degree in Physical Therapist Assistant Technology must:
- Apply, meet admission requirements, and be accepted by Walters State Community College.
- Indicate Pre-Physical Therapist Assistant as the desired major on the WSCC application form.
- Follow college policy for advising prior to registration.
- Complete all required Learning Support courses.
- Successfully complete BIOL 2010 and 2011, BIOL 2020 and 2021, and MATH 1530 or 1630 no later than the end of spring semester of the year the student elects to participate in the selection process for fall semester PTA class. A grade of “C” or better must be achieved in each required science course, with an overall GPA of at least 2.0. Biological science courses previously taken must have been completed within the last 10 years.
- General education requirements are ENGL 1010, PSYC 2130, COMM 2025, and HUMANITIES/FINE ARTS ELECTIVE. These courses may be taken after acceptance into the program, but must be completed prior to the spring semester the student intends to graduate. However, it is recommended that all general education requirements be completed no later than the end of the spring semester of the year the student makes application to the PTA program.
- The college requires all degree-seeking students to demonstrate computer competency either by passing an examination or by successfully completing a designated computer course (INFS 1010). Students are required to meet computer competency during the first 30 hours of coursework.
- Completion of a minimum of 30 hours observation in a physical therapy practice or employment in a physical therapy practice equivalent to three months of full-time hours. This observation must be under the supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. Observation and Employment evaluation forms are located on the Physical Therapist Assistant website at: www.ws.edu/academics/health/physical-therapist-assistant/. Observation hours must be completed during a nine month period (July 15 - April 15) preceding the April 15 application deadline. Observation and Employment evaluation forms should arrive at Walters State by April 15.
- Students may not audit any PTA courses without the approval of the department director and the dean of Health Programs.
Physical Therapist Assistant Program Application Requirements
- Complete prerequisites, general education requirements and required observation hours
- Maintain an overall 2.0 GPA (excluding Learning Support courses)
- Complete and return to the director of the PTA program a “Physical Therapist Assistant Application”.
- Application, observation/employment documentation and results of designated admissions test must be received by the health programs department no later than April 15 of the year the student elects to participate in the selection process for the fall semester PTA class.
Selection to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program
- Selection of each class will be made by the Admissions Committee whose membership consists of:
- Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director
- Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education for the PTA program
- Faculty for the PTA program
- Dean of Health Programs (ex officio)
- Vice President for Academic Affairs (ex officio)
- The Admission Committee will rank each student on the basis of predetermined criteria. The criteria include but are not limited to:
- Designated Admissions test
- Overall GPA in all required general education and prerequisite courses.
- Observation/employment experience - minimum of 30 observation hours, or 3 months full-time employment as a P.T. tech in a physical therapy setting
- First grades received in required Biology courses
- Interview conducted by practicing physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.
Other Admissions Information
- Transfer students who have attended another PTA program and who desire to transfer to the WSCC PTA program will be considered on an individual basis. Transfer requests should be submitted in writing to the director of the PTA program. Students must meet the same standards and criteria as others pursuing an associate of applied science degree in PTA.
- Basic science courses over 10 years old, or specific PTA courses over 5 years old may not be eligible for selection criteria.
- Students selected to the program for the fall semester will be notified in writing by July 15.
- Students notified of admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program must return the Information Packet for New Admits by the date specified on the form: (a) sign, date and return an acknowledgment of the Drug/Alcohol Abuse Policy and Consent form; and (b) a comprehensive health examination at the student’s expense by a physician with required lab tests and immunizations or records of immunizations. Students who do not respond or who do not plan to attend will have their positions filled by other applicants based on the criteria rankings.
- Students not selected for admission may reapply for a subsequent class.
- Contact the director of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program for additional information, 423-585-6981 or TECH 104 on the Morristown campus.
- Students who have experienced an academic failure in any healthcare program must disclose this information when they make application to the PTA program.
- Students who have experienced a clinical failure in a healthcare program are not eligible for admission.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program accepts approximately 20 new students each fall semester. The number of students accepted into the program is limited. Programs with limited enrollment such as the PTA program cannot accept out-of-state residents if there are Tennessee residents eligible for admission. Contact the Director of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program for further information.
To remain in good standing once admitted to the PTA program, the student must:
- Adhere to all WSCC, PTA program, and clinical agencies policies.
- Earn a “C” or better in each PTA course and maintain a 2.0 GPA overall.
- Satisfactorily complete the theory, clinical and skills requirements of each PTA course, including exhibiting safe and competent clinical behavior as defined by written criteria given to each PTA student. A grade of “F” in any course will deny the student the ability to continue in the program.
- Demonstrate professional, ethical, and legal conduct.
- Maintain professional liability insurance.
- Maintain current AHA Basic Life Support (CPR/AED) for Healthcare Providers.
- Successfully complete any general education requirements for graduation prior to the beginning of the final semester of the PTA programs, including computer competency.
- Submit to a drug test if requested by the office of Student Affairs, Dean of Health Programs or director of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at any time during the program. Refusal to submit to a drug screen and/or a positive drug test is grounds for immediate dismissal.
- Some clinical affiliates require drug screening. Refusal to submit to a drug screen and/or a positive test is grounds for immediate dismissal.
- Individuals who have been convicted of crimes other than minor traffic violations could be ineligible for physical therapist assistant licensure in the State of Tennessee, even though they have successfully completed the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. (See Criminal Background Check Requirement in the Health Programs portion of the catalog.)
- Complete a comprehensive health examination and submit the required form to the director of the PTA program by the designated date.
A student who has earned a “D” or “F” in a physical therapist assistant course or who has withdrawn from the program may apply for readmission under the following considerations:
- To be considered for readmission to the PTA program after academic failure or withdrawal by the end of the first semester, a student will be required to proceed through the regular selection and acceptance procedures along with all other candidates for the following year.
- A student who withdraws or is unsuccessful academically after the first semester must complete the following: (a) a written request to the PTA program director for consideration of readmission; (b) attend a readmissions committee hearing to be scheduled by the committee. The program director will respond in writing and will provide the student with date, location, and time of readmission hearing.
- Readmission committee is composed of the PTA academic faculty and faculty from other Health Programs (minimum of 3 additional faculty).
- First-time students will be given priority in clinical rotation placement. Second-time (readmitted) students will be placed in clinicals when space is available. This may mean a delayed graduation date. Every effort will be made to place all students in clinicals during scheduled times.
- If a student is readmitted to the PTA program, auditing of designated PTA courses, successful completion of skill testing, and laboratory practicals may be required.
- A student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 to be considered for readmission.
- Any student is allowed only two attempts to complete the PTA program.
- Students who have experienced a clinical failure in a healthcare program or were dismissed due to unethical, unprofessional and/or illegal conduct are not eligible for admission.
Health and Physical Considerations for Physical Therapist Assistant Students
Because the College seeks to provide in as much as possible a reasonably safe environment for its health career students and their patients, a student may be required during the course of the program, to demonstrate their physical and/or emotional fitness to meet the essential requirements of the program. Such essential requirements may include the ability to perform certain physical tasks, and suitable emotional fitness. Any appraisal measures used to determine such physical and/or emotional fitness will be in compliance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, so as not to discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability.
The practicing PTA must be capable of long periods of concentration in selecting correct techniques, equipment and safety measures to assure maximum care and safety of the patient. Therefore, the applicant must be able to exercise independent judgment under both routine and emergency conditions. A person abusing alcohol or conscious altering drugs could not meet these criteria. The following core performance standards have been adopted by the PTA program. Admission to and progression in the PTA program is not based on these standards but should be used to assist the student in determining whether accommodations or modifications are necessary. If a student believes that one or more of the standards cannot be met without accommodation or modification, the physical therapist assistant program will determine whether reasonable accommodations or modifications can be made. The student should contact the Director of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program, and/or the Office of Disability Services.
The standards are:
- Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment;
- Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact effectively with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds;
- Communication abilities sufficient for effective interaction with others in verbal and written form;
- Physical abilities sufficient to effectively move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces;
- Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective physical therapy care;
- Auditory abilities sufficient to monitor and assess health needs;
- Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in physical therapy care;
- Tactile ability sufficient for accurate physical assessment.
Students are strongly encouraged to carry a personal health insurance policy, which is required by a majority of clinical affiliation sites. Completion of this program does not guarantee employment. The applicant should realize relocation may be necessary in order to obtain employment.