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 Pathways and all classes are held at the Locust Grove Campus.

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 (66 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

    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

    Admissions process

    The PTA program utilizes a selective admissions process. Twelve students will be accepted each year. On-line applications are accepted between April 15 and May 15 annually; classes begin in August. There are no PTA courses scheduled during the summer.

    Acceptance rates for the first three years of the PTA program:







  • Application information

    PTA application information packet

    The application information packet is a comprehensive guide to the program and the application process. Please note that receipt of this information from the website does not replace attendance at a PTA program student information session, which is required. We recommend printing and reviewing this packet prior to attending an Information Session.

    In addition to course prerequisites, applicants are required to complete 20-hours of volunteer/observation experiences in two different physical therapy settings, one inpatient and one outpatient.  The letter of introduction and observation evaluation form available here will assist students in the completion of this requirement. Further information about this requirement is discussed during the information sessions. A link to a list of upcoming sessions may be found at the left side of this page. The application process is explained in detail during the information sessions and during the student’s final advising session. Additional instructions will be available as the application period approaches.

    The two-phase selective admissions process uses fair and unbiased evaluation criteria and supports our goal of a student body that is representative of the demographics of the student body of the college.

  • Advising


    PTA program final advising appointments for 2019 applications

    Deadline: May 1, 2019

    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.

  • 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 kept on file in the program office.

    Accreditation concerns

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

PTA program outcome measures

Acceptance rate

  • 2015-2016: 69%
  • 2016-2017: 65%
  • 2017-2018: 39%

Graduation rate

  • (2 year average): 88.5%

NPTAE licensure examination pass rate

  • 2 year average): 85.8%

Employment rate for licensed graduates

  • (2 year average): 100%