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Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapist Assistants, often times called PTAs, help patients who have suffered from an injury or illness recover, manage pain and regain full motion. Usually working under the direct supervision of a physical therapist, PTAs play a vital role in the successful rehabilitation of patients of all ages. Individuals aspiring to be a Physical Therapist Assistant must graduate from a CAPTE-accredited PTA program and licensure or certification is required in most states in which a PTA works.
The Career Potential
The American Physical Therapy Association expects that the employment of Physical Therapist Assistants will grow by 35% through 2018, making it a rapidly-growing field and an in-demand career choice.
After completing a two-year associate degree program and obtaining a license or certification, PTA’s have the opportunity to help improve the lives of patients on the road to a physical recovery. Physical Therapist Assistants work directly with a licensed Physical Therapist and his/her patients to implement care plans, track progress and promote healthier and more active lifestyles to patients.
At Villa, you’ll get a well-rounded education, the solid foundation you’ll need to work in a clinical setting and plenty of applicable experience. But what makes Villa right for you?
Villa’s PTA program boasts a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio for classrooms and a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio for lab work, so you can count on getting individualized attention here. This unparalleled level of accessibility to professors mean that you get the education you need to succeed in your specialty area and, whether you have a question in class, after class or on the weekend, someone will be there to help you find your answer.
The accessibility of facilities and equipment mean you don’t have to spend hours waiting in line to get your lab time in.
As a PTA student, you’ll have exclusive access to two laboratory rooms that provide you with the opportunity to practice the clinical skills you learn about in class. These labs allow you to practice patient assessment and treatment techniques, including gait devices, exercise equipment, and state-of-the-art physical agents (electrical stimulation, ultrasound, laser, traction, biofeedback, diathermy, and compression).
In addition to the labs, PTA students gain experience by volunteering in the Felician Sisters Health and Wellness Center, a long-term care facility located on campus.
Potential Job Placements
Interested in learning more about the Villa experience?
Real World Experience
Practice makes perfect, and perfect is important when you’re dealing with a person’s physical well being. There’s no better way to practice than with an internship. As a graduation requirement for PTA students, you must complete two full-time and two part-time internships to help you gain hands-on experience in the field you want to work in.
Some aspects of the internship requirements are flexible, but all work must be completed under the direction of a licensed Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant.
Choosing Your Specialty
As you complete your degree, you’ll begin to consider what field you’d like to dedicate your career to. Completing an internship can help give you an idea about which area you feel most passionate about. To date, our students have worked in the following fields:
- Sports Medicine
Testing Your Talent
You’ll be exposed to all aspects of a PTA job through your supervised internship, and you’ll be asked to complete a variety of tasks so you can get a complete experience of the job. Here are some of the skills PTA students commonly acquire through their internships:
- Direct patient care
- Administrative tasks
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Villa Maria College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: [email protected]; website; capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call Jim Kelley: 716-961-1835 or email: [email protected]
Admission into the PTA program is competitive. A high school average of 85 or higher and/ or a college GPA of 2.8 or higher is required for direct admission into the program. Applicants for PTA are required to take biology and chemistry or physics (physics preferred) in high school. Applicants must also demonstrate through math placement testing or transferable college coursework that their math ability is equivalent to MAT 100, Basic Algebra. Applicants who lack appropriate science coursework or math abilities may take an additional one to two semesters to complete the PTA program. Applicants interested in the program are strongly encouraged to be involved in or give evidence of prior volunteer or work experience in the healthcare field. A letter of recommendation from a supervisor of the healthcare experience should be submitted to the Director of Enrollment Management. Persons interested in the PTA Program are advised to apply early as enrollment in the program is limited. Once an application is completed and all transcripts are received, eligible applicants will be contacted to set up any required interview(s) with a program faculty member.
Applicants who do not meet the required GPA, or those with a GED may be admitted to Villa Maria College as Liberal Arts/Natural Science LBN/PTA students. These students will be advised by PTA faculty, and have an opportunity to raise their GPA and/or take appropriate classes to prepare them to enter the PTA program. Please note that LBN/PTA students are not guaranteed admission into the PTA program. Admission is contingent upon meeting the GPA requirements stated above.
In order to work as a PTA, you’ll need your degree and you’ll need to pass a licensing exam. After helping you succeed in the classroom Villa’s long-standing professors will help you prepare to pass your licensing exam, too. We offer licensing exam review classes and in-lab preparation exclusively for our PTA graduates. This extra support from our faculty will help you to be more prepared and feel more confident when you sit for the licensure exam.
- You are required to attain a grade of C+ or better in all PTA courses. If you fail to achieve a grade of C+, you may re-take that course. You may only retake one PTA course before dismissal from the program.
- You must have an annual physical exam, PPD or Mantoux test for TB, and have a Hepatitis B immunization or a signed waiver of immunization prior to placement in a clinical internship.
- You must be CPR-certified prior to placement in a clinical internship. The PTA program provides a CPR course for students on a yearly basis. You are responsible for fees for this course.
- You must be a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Fees for membership are included in course fees for PTA 105 and PTA 205.
- Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Physical Therapist Assistant Curriculum Requirements
PTA graduates will be prepared to demonstrate entry-level competence and professional behaviors in a variety of clinical settings under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist (PT) including the objectives below.
- Demonstrate effective and appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication with patients/clients, family members, supervising PT, health care team members and others in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings.
- Adhere to all established and accepted legal, ethical, and professional standards as they relate to their role as a PTA.
- Demonstrate entry level skill in data collection procedures delegated by the supervising PT. Students will use information gathered to modify or progress interventions within the plan of care and goals established by the PT, and use the information to communicate patient status to the supervising PT and other appropriate members of the health care team.
- Perform interventions, monitor patient response, and modify interventions within the plan of care established by the Physical Therapist. Students will effectively communicate patient response to the supervising PT and appropriate members of the health care team.
- Recognize and analyze clinical and personal strengths and challenges through an ongoing process of self-assessment, and utilize this information to develop a plan for lifelong professional growth.
Download a PDF of the full list of minimum skills required by the American Physical Therapy Association.
|Licensing Exam Passing Rate||95.7%||96.2%||97%|
Six months after licensing exam
Ultimate Licensing Exam Pass Rate