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Physical Therapist Assistant

Earning a degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant opens the door to an exciting and rewarding career helping others while developing personal and professional skills that will last a lifetime. 

The Physical Therapist Assistant program is part of the Health Science Pathway and all classes are held at the Locust Grove Campus.

Students interested in the proposed expansion program in cooperation with Lord Fairfax Community College are advised that this program must be approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) prior to implementation.

A Physical Therapist Assistant provides care under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist to restore function to individuals affected by physical impairments, dysfunction, and disabilities. Services are provided across a wide spectrum of settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, outpatient clinics, and schools, and across the age continuum from infants to the elderly. This dynamic and in-demand profession is well-suited to students with strong academic abilities and the desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is a professional organization for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The APTA Careers page provides excellent information about the profession and educational requirements.

Program Information and Details

  • About the Program

    The Physical Therapist Assistant program prepares the graduate with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes expected of an entry-level physical therapist assistant. The program provides training in the evidence-based practice of safe and effective physical therapy care delivery, across the spectrum of care and with sensitivity to differences in age, gender, and cultural background.

    The program is a full-time commitment, five semesters in length (68 credits), and culminates in an Associate of Applied Science Degree. Graduates will be prepared to take the National Licensing Examination, administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Graduation from a PTA program accredited with The Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is required to sit for the PTA licensure examination in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Successfully passing the licensure exam permits the graduate to enter the workforce as an entry-level Physical Therapist Assistant.

  • Curriculum

    *Please note: Students interested in the AAS for Physical Therapist Assistant should select “Allied Healthcare Preparation” as their major while preparing to apply for the program.

    Students will complete general education courses in the areas of science, communication, sociology, and psychology to prepare to work in a rehabilitation career. Four semesters of specific PTA curriculum guides students sequentially through coursework in the science of human movement, common injuries and pathology, clinical skills development and the safe and effective application of physical therapy interventions within the PTA scope of work.  See the application information packet for more details about the curriculum.  The program includes clinical lab work, simulations, and field trips to reinforce and support classroom coursework, and students complete three full-time clinical education experiences under the supervision of a clinical instructor. Students are expected to be available daily on a full-time basis to accommodate the changing schedules inherent to a program of this nature.

  • Health Requirements

    Students in the PTA program must provide proof of immunization against MMR, influenza, Varicella, Tdap, and Hepatitis B, and are required to complete documentation of a medical exam prior to attending clinical education.

  • Admissions Process and Application Information

    The PTA program utilizes a selective admissions process; not all qualified applicants can be admitted. Applications are accepted online from April 15 to May 15 each year for the Locust Grove program.

    Students interested in the proposed LFCC expansion program will apply in July 2020 if the expansion is approved. Admissions criteria are the same; however, the LFCC program will accept students every other year.

    Applicants are evaluated in two phases. The first uses priority points earned for grades in selected prerequisite courses, supervisor ratings during required volunteer/observation hours, and points earned for a short personal statement. Top-ranked students are invited to interview in the second phase of the admissions process. Detailed admissions information is available in the PTA application information packet, a comprehensive guide to the PTA program and the application process. The observation evaluation form must be completed for each of two observation experiences.

    Applicants are required to attend a PTA program information session, offered in person at GCC locations, and via video conference. View the “information session calendar”and scroll through the calendar entries by month for upcoming dates and instructions. Detailed information about application and admissions is presented during these sessions, and students are encouraged to attend as early as possible.

  • Advising

    Initial advising is available from academic advisors and counselors, as well as through the information session process. Students planning to apply to the PTA program must schedule a final advising meeting with a PTA faculty member during the six-month period prior to the application deadline and no later than two weeks prior to that deadline. Students do not need to have completed all application requirements to schedule the meeting. Email professors Daigle and Williams to schedule a final advising meeting. Contact information is at the right side of this page. Walk-in advising with program faculty is not typically available.

    Students planning to apply to the Physical Therapist Assistant program must schedule a final advising appointment with one of the PTA faculty members between November 15 and May 1.  You do not need to have completed all application requirements prior to this meeting.

    Bring your unofficial transcript(s), as well as official observation evaluation forms, if being hand-delivered.  Advising will take place at the Locust Grove campus, Room 407.  Professor Daigle is in Room 407A, Professor Williams is in Room 407I.  Please email to schedule an appointment with one of us.

    Walk-in appointments are not available.

    Advising Documents and FAQ’s

  • Complaints

    Register a Complaint

    Members of the general public have the ability to express a concern or register a complaint regarding the PTA program or its graduates through the PTA Program Director at (540) 423-9849.

    Unresolved Complaints

    Unresolved complaints may be directed to the Dean of Nursing and Health Technologies at (540) 423-9824, or via email at All complaints will be documented and filed electronically in program records.

    Accreditation Concerns

    Accreditation concerns should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), using the following link:

  • Outcome Measures

    All outcomes are reported as two-year averages using the most recent data.

    Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Licensure Pass Rate Employment Rate
    60% 92% 91% 100%