Physical Therapist Assistant

Associate Degree

Program Overview

The Physical Therapist Assistant associate program prepares you to become part of a physical rehabilitation team. Through classroom and clinical training, learn how to collect data to determine the effectiveness of patient interventions; carry out physical therapies outlined in PT treatment plans; use technology to overcome disabilities; and design activities to help people reach their goals.

Career Possibilities

  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Rehab Technology Professional
  • Assistive Technology Professional

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High School Graduation Year

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Associate in Science Degree

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) associate degree program prepares students to help a variety of people in a variety of settings. PTAs assist people of all ages, with various movement disorders, to become independent in their day-to-day functions. Physical therapy is a hands-on career, which literally involves working to change people’s lives for the better. Because every client has a unique set of circumstances, PTAs help to carry out a unique treatment plan for each one, under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.

As a PTA, graduates can work in traditional medical environments or in settings where people need to learn new ways to prevent injury or to promote health, wellness, and fitness. In the field, the PTA is supervised by a licensed physical therapist (PT). Most of the time, the PTA works with individual clients or groups under the direction of a PT. In the associate degree program, the student learns to act as part of the rehabilitation team, collecting data to determine effectiveness of patient interventions, carrying out selected physical therapy interventions outlined in the PT treatment plans, using technology to help people overcome disabilities, and designing activities to help people reach their goals.

After completion of all classroom training on campus, and Level I Clinical Education off campus, students enter the community for Level II Clinical Education. The two Level II Clinical Education experiences give the student many opportunities to apply classroom training to real life situations. Upon successful completion of all degree requirements, the student will be eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination for Physical Therapist Assistants. Employment is available in a wide variety of settings in the areas of physical disabilities, pediatrics, and geriatrics, as well as in athletic facilities and wellness programs. In addition, after completing certain prerequisites*, graduates of this program are eligible to continue on for a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management Technology.

In some programs, and particularly the Health Sciences and Criminal Justice programs, a criminal conviction may limit a student’s participation in a clinical or externship placement, and/or employment in the field.

As of December 2016, PTA students who matriculated Fall 2012 and Fall 2013 include a graduation rate of 60%, a license exam pass rate of 97%, and of those who sought employment, 100% reported they were employed as PTAs within one-year of graduation. PTA students who matriculated Spring 2013 and Spring 2014 include a graduation rate of 63%, a license exam pass rate of 97%, and of those who sought employment, 100% reported they were employed as PTAs within one-year of graduation.

ACCREDITATION STATUS

The Physical Therapist Assistant Technology program at the New England Institute of Technology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone:  703-706-3245; email:  accreditation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org.

The PTA Student Manual and PTA Clinical Education Manual are available to the public at the college library.

Associate in Science Degree

Program Mission, Goals and Outcomes

Program Mission

The mission of the NEIT Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program is to provide a specialized associate degree program to prepare graduates who will be effective in their roles as assistants to physical therapists in the contemporary practice of physical therapy and eager to continue their professional education. Through a combination of classroom, laboratory and clinical education experiences, the program emphasizes hands-on application of knowledge to the provision of physical therapy services to all individuals who strive to live productive lives.

Program Goals

  1. To provide appropriate learning opportunities that match current practice standards to meet the diverse learning needs of adult learners to acquire the theoretical knowledge, applicable skills and attitude necessary to function as an entry-level physical therapist assistant; under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist.
  2. To prepare students to become competent, licensed entry-level physical therapist assistants with the minimum requirements necessary to qualify for the national certification examination.
  3. To instill in the student a sense of commitment to the physical therapy profession’s core values and ethics and help students explore various aspects of physical therapy to identify and develop career paths of interest.

Program Outcomes
The graduate will:

  1. Function as a member of the health care delivery team to optimize patient outcomes.
  2. Provide patient-centered care across the lifespan, as directed in the plan of care established by the physical therapist, to minimize risk to patients/clients, self and others.
  3. Communicate effectively all written and oral expression of ideas and learned concepts.
  4. Employ skills in problem solving, and thinking logically, flexibly, and critically.
  5. Demonstrate values, ethics and standards of practice for physical therapy while respecting the value of all people and dealing with social problems and responsibilities as members of society and the physical therapy profession.
  6. Display a commitment to professional development and life-long learning by integrating informational resources and relevant physical therapy literature. 

Associate in Science Degree

  • PTA 102 Introduction to Kinesiology
  • PTA 111 Foundations of Physical Therapy
  • PTA 112 Foundations of Physical Therapy Lab
  • BIO 100 Anatomy and Physiology I
  • BIO 101 Anatomy and Physiology I Lab
  • HS 110 Applied Medical Terminology
  • PTA 123 Data Collection Skills
  • PTA 124 Clinical Kinesiology
  • PTA 125 Clinical Kinesiology Lab
  • BIO 120 Anatomy and Physiology II
  • BIO 121 Anatomy and Physiology II Lab
  • PHY 126 Applied Physics & Lab
  • PTA 138 Physical Agents & Lab
  • PTA 139 Advanced Data Collection Skills
  • PTA 141 Clinical Education Seminar and Service Learning
  • PTA 142 Principles of Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy Intervention and Lab
  • PTA 143 Pathophysiology for the Physical Therapist Assistant
  • PTA 237 Level I Clinical Education
  • PTA 240 Principles of Neuromuscular Physical Therapy Intervention and Lab
  • PTA 242 Principles of Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Intervention and Lab
  • PS 202 Psychology of Healthcare
  • PTA 253 Practice Issues for the Physical Therapist Assistant
  • PTA 258 Level II Clinical Education A
  • PTA 260 Senior Capstone
  • PTA 268 Level II Clinical Education B
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