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Physical Therapist Assistant

Associate of Applied Science

Purpose: The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Germanna Community College is to prepare successful graduates of a comprehensive program of study who have the knowledge, skills and attitudes expected of entry-level physical therapist assistants, and who are able to meet the employment needs of the surrounding communities.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will demonstrate the ability to collect and review data and to administer evidence-based interventions within the limits of the PTA scope of work and as outlined by the physical therapist in the plan of care.
  2. Students will demonstrate written and verbal communication related to the practice of physical therapy that is effective, professional, and presented in a manner appropriate to the audience.
  3. Students will apply critical thinking and decision-making skills to the provision of physical therapy care to ensure patient safety and to appropriately progress the plan of care developed by the physical therapist.
  4. Students will adhere to federal and state regulations, facility policies and procedures, and APTA standards of ethical conduct in clinical practice as a physical therapist assistant.

Accreditation Status of the Developing Physical Therapist Assistant Program:

Effective April 29, 2015, the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Germanna Community College has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone; 703-706-3245; accreditation@apta.org. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses and that the program is progressing toward accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.

Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Occupational Objectives: Employment opportunities for the PTA include jobs in hospitals, nursing home/extended care facilities, assisted living facilities, outpatient clinics, home health, Veteran’s Administration clinics, sports facilities, and school systems. Experienced physical therapist assistants are also utilized as clinic directors. The physical therapist assistant works under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist to administer components of the plan of care.

Admission Requirements for All Applicants:

Prospective students must complete the following as part of the program application and admissions process:

  1. Apply for and be granted admission to Germanna Community College.
  2. Have official High School and College Transcripts mailed to Germanna Community College Admissions and Records. Assure that transcripts from all other colleges attended are on file with the GCC Admissions and Records office prior to the program application deadline date. Any transfer credits must be evaluated before any transfer credit is granted. Transfer Counselors are available; please ask the Welcome Center staff for assistance.
  3. Attend a Physical Therapist Assistant Information Session (dates are posted on the PTA Program website).
  4. Complete the prerequisite general education courses with a grade of “C” or better: Points earned for “A’s” and “B’s” will contribute to application priority points.
  5. Achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better for all pre-requisites and/or required general education courses.
  6. Complete two (2) distinct volunteer/observation experiences of 20 hours each under the supervision of a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant. One experience must be in a hospital or long-term care facility. Supervisor evaluation forms and instructions for submission are available in the Application Packet online.
  7. Meet with the PTA Program Director or Clinical Director (ACCE) within the 6 months prior to the application deadline to review the transcript and to identify remaining criteria to be met. County/city of residency will be reviewed in the Student Information System and recorded in the student’s file for awarding of residency points.
  8. Submit a current criminal background check through CertifiedBackground.com. (A positive background check may prevent admission into the program; a record of a barrier crime will in most instances prevent admission to the program as this record may prevent required clinical affiliation placements.)
  9. Submit all components of the PTA Program Application by the application deadline, including:
    • Personal Statement essay explaining the student’s reasoning for choosing the field of PTA
    • Current class schedule, if enrolled in any pre- or co-requisite courses.

Basic Requirements and Competencies

Applicants will meet the following basic requirements:

  • Valid High School diploma or GED
  • Acceptance as a student at Germanna Community College
  • Competency in MTE 1-4 as a pre-admission qualification
  • Successful challenge of GCC computer competency test or completion of ITE 115, prior to admission

Students transferring from another college or university will consult with the Admissions and Records Office for an evaluation of transfer credit. Official transfer credit evaluations will be completed when all official transcripts and a Request for Evaluation of Transfer Credit form are received by the Admissions and Records Office.

Applications will be accepted between April 15 and May 15 each year.

Admission to the PTA program is competitive; class size is limited and not all qualified applicants can be accepted. A standardized system of evaluation criteria is in place which will include a point designation for the following: points earned for A’s and B’s in prerequisite and recommended co-requisite courses, volunteer/observation supervisor ratings, the applicant’s Personal Statement, and priority points for residency in the service area. In order to be considered for admission, the applicant must submit all required materials during the open application period, and no later than the posted deadline. Applications will be reviewed by the PTA Program faculty, and the top twenty (20) applicants will be invited to interview. Targeted class size is twelve (12) students.

It is recommended that General Education requirements and math and computer competencies be completed within five years prior to application to the program. It is mandatory that science courses be completed within the five years prior to admission. In instances where a student has been involved in continued study or employment utilizing the prerequisite science course content, this time requirement may be waived by the Program Director.

Applications do not carry over from year to year. If a student is not accepted and wishes to re-apply, he/she must resubmit a new application the next annual cycle. Volunteer experiences and evaluation forms completed for the original application will be accepted provided they were completed within two years of the new application deadline.

Students of the PTA program follow a structured curriculum designed to progress from the simple to complex, and from basic understanding to competent performance. Students will develop both cognitive and psychomotor skills through individual reading, traditional lecture, lab, group projects, role-playing, one-on-one guidance, peer mentorship, use of interactive study aids, and off-campus experiences. Students will also complete three distinct clinical education experiences, imbedded into the final three semesters of the program. Competence as an entry-level PTA requires hours of hands-on and performance practice, both in the lab and in the clinical environment. Students will develop their skills by learning not only intellectually, but in the psychomotor and behavioral domains as well. In this way, the student will be prepared with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for successful practice as a physical therapist assistant.


A.A.S. in Physical Therapist Assistant CURRICULUM:

(Including prerequisites and required General Education courses):

Degree Requirements Credits
Student Development SDV 100 or 101 1
English English 111 3
Humanities Any course from ART, ENG LIT, HUM, MUS, PHI, REL, or Foreign Language (American Sign Language does not qualify) 3
Social Sciences PSY 230, SOC 200 6
Biology or Natural Sciences BIO 141-142 (or NAS 161-162) 8 CPR 8
CPR HLT 105 1
PTA Technical Courses (taken in predetermined sequence) PTH 105, 110, 115, 121, 122, 131, 151, 210, 225, 226, 251, 252, 255 44
Total Minimum Credits   66

Suggested Scheduling

Students are expected to progress sequentially through the PTA curriculum. Progression from one semester to the next is dependent on passing each PTH-prefix course with a ā€œCā€ or better, and maintaining an overall 2.5 GPA. Students will be given opportunity for remediation if they are in danger of not passing a course. Clear guidelines for minimum requirements to pass each course are included in the course syllabi. Students are expected to avail themselves of open lab opportunities if they are experiencing trouble in any PTA program course.

Semester 1

Course Credits
BIO 141 (or NAS 161) 4
ENG 111 3
PSY 230 3
SDV 100 or any approved SDV course 1
HLT 105 1
Total Credits 12

Semester 2

Course Credits
BIO 142 (or NAS 162) 4
PTH 105 Introduction to PTA 2
PTH 121 Therapeutic Procedures I 5
PTH 151 Musculoskeletal Structure & Function 5
Total Credits 16

Semester 3

Course Credits
PTH 115 Kinesiology for the PTA 4
PTH 122 Therapeutic Procedures II 5
PTH 110 Medical Reporting 1
PTH 131 Clinical Education I (135 Hours) 2
Total Credits 12

Semester 4

Course Credits
PTH 225 Rehabilitation Procedures 5
PTH 251 Clinical Practicum I (225 Hours) 3
PTH 210 Psychological Aspects of Therapy 2
Humanities Elective 3
Total Credits 13

Semester 5

Course Credits
PTH 226 Therapeutic Exercise 4
PTH 252 Clinical Practicum II (240 Hours) 4
SOC 200 Principles of Sociology 3
PTH 255 Seminar in Physical Therapy 2
Total Credits 13
Totals Credits
Total PTH credits 44
Total for degree 66
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