Jul 25, 2024  
2014-2015 Catalog 
2014-2015 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapist Assisting, A.A.S.

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The Physical Therapist Assisting (PTA) program is a 1 + 1 program.  One year of prerequisites must be completed prior to starting the Fall semester of the technical phase.  Because students apply on March 1st each year, students may be enrolled in prerequisites during the Spring semester and still apply.  The midterm grades for those spring semester courses will be used to determine acceptance.  Acceptance would be contingent upon the successful completion of those spring courses.  If prerequisites are still left over to compete during any summer term, those students will NOT be considered for acceptance until the following year.  In ALL prerequisite coursework, each student must earn a C or better.  Once in the technical phase of this PTA program, it will last one year plus one 5 week summer session.  Once in the program, each student must maintain at least a 75% test average in order to keep their spot in the program.  Admission to the PTA program is competitive, and twenty students will be admitted to the PTA program each Fall. 

A numerical score sheet is used to select 20 students for each class.  Points are assigned for grades in all prerequisite courses, volunteer experience, the brief narrative written on the application, and previous degrees earned.  For students who use EDGE credits for any of the prerequisite courses, a grade of “B” will be assigned.  Students who have previously earned an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree qualify for additional points.  Degrees earned at the end of the spring semester of which the student has applied to the technical phase, WILL still allow the student to earn the extra points for the degree.  Acceptance would be contingent upon the student actually earning the degree.  The minimum requirement for volunteer hours is 20 total hours split between two distinctly different practice settings.  Students are asked NOT to complete much over the 20 hour requirement so that we do not overwhelm clinical sites.  The total score for the PTA score sheet for acceptance is composed of:  60% letter grades in prerequisite courses, 10% volunteer hours, 15% written essay on application, and 15% past degrees obtained.  The 20 students with the highest scores are chosen.

The completed application packet must be submitted to the program coordinator by March 1st for the next entering class.  Late applications are accepted only if space allows. 

The Program mission is to prepare graduates to be licensed as physical therapist assistants and work in any health care setting so that the physical therapy needs of the citizens in our service region can be met.

Although technical competence is the predominant goal, broader academic abilities are also desired for PTA graduates.  The general studies component of the curriculum provides the avenue for developing effective speaking, writing, and thinking skills to form a foundation for lifelong learning.

To fulfill this mission, the Program will:

  1. Provide students with a program of study that will assist them in developing the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the National Physical Therapist Assistant Licensure Examination.
  2. Hold high expectations for student acquisition of academic and clinical skills, and professional behaviors so that our graduates possess entry level skills.
  3. Maintain contact with health care providers and consumers in our service region to ensure that the Program remains relevant and continues to serve the needs of all communities of interest.

Graduate Goals

Upon successful completion of the PTA program the graduate is expected to:

  • Exhibit conduct that reflects practice standards that are legal, ethical and safe.
  • Implement a plan of care established by the physical therapist.
  • Demonstrate competence in performing data collection through tests, measurements and observations.
  • Use verbal, non-verbal, and written communication in an effective, appropriate and capable manner.
  • Demonstrate professional behavior through attendance, promptness, and the ability to assume appropriate responsibility.
  • Demonstrate the cognitive knowledge basic to physical therapy intervention.

Student Abilities

To meet these goals, the student must be able to:

  • obtain information during class time and outside of class from lecture, text, computer-based, and video formats.
  • obtain information from the medical record.
  • produce written responses to assignments.
  • compose progress notes for the medical record.
  • complete in-class small group assignments.
  • receive and transmit information to the instructors, classmates, supervising physical therapists, and patients.
  • perform physical therapy techniques in high (standing), medium (sitting), and low (squatting, stooping) body positions.
  • operate equipment with knobs, switches, touch pads, and touch screens.
  • lift and position classmates, patients, and equipment.
  • assist and guard classmates and patients while they practice standing, walking, and moving into and out of wheelchairs.
  • assist classmates and patients while they perform therapeutic exercises.
  • perform physical therapy techniques and move about the clinical facility for up to 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.
  • assess the patient’s verbal and nonverbal response to treatment.
  • complete multi-step work assignments.

This program will prepare students to sit for the national PTA licensure examination, which is required to practice in most states.  This program will also prepare the PTA students to work in a variety of physical therapy settings including; acute care, outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, rehabilitation center, and nursing home.

The students will have a total of 4 clinical education experiences.  Each of these experiences will occur in a different setting so that the PTA student will be well rounded and prepared to work in any setting after graduation.  The students will be evaluated by their clinical instructors while in the clinic or hospital. 

BRCTC is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.  The PTA program at Blue Ridge CTC 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:  http://www.capteonline.org

During the first two years of this program’s existence, it was considered an expansion program of Pierpont Community and Technical College.  The following information refers to our enrollment, graduation and licensure statistics of those two classes.  During 2010-2011, 14 qualified applicants applied, with an 85% graduation rate, and a 91% exam pass rate.  91% (10 of the 11 students) are now working as PTAs.  During 2011-2012, 17 qualified applicants applied, with an 82% graduation rate.  That class now has a 79% exam pass rate.  That same class also has a 79% employment rate.  The three students who have not yet passed the examination are not working as PTAs. 

The first class that has been considered a part of BRCTC, is 2012-2013 class.  20 students were accepted out of the 27 that applied, giving us a 74% admission rate.  That class had a 95% graduation rate, and they have a 100% exam pass rate. Employment statistics are not available for that class yet.  The 2013-2014 class had 49 applicants.  20 of those were accepted, for an admission rate of 43%.  Graduation rate, exam pass rate statistics and employment statistics are not available for that class yet. 

Dr. Chrystal McDonald is the program coordinator.  You can reach her at 304-260-4380, ext 3408 with any questions or complaints about the PTA program.  Michele Sheely is the clinical coordinator, and she can be reached at 304-260-4380, ext 3313. 


PTA Application

PTA Score Sheet for Acceptance

Observation form for current students


Career Opportunities

As a physical therapist assistant, you’ll work alongside a physical therapist, helping patients recovering from injuries and other health conditions regain their ability to move and thrive.


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