Physical Therapist Assistant A.A.S. (Career)

Program website

Program Manager: Amelia Iams
Phone: 301.846.2644

Program Description

Prepares students for a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA). The PTA is a skilled technical healthcare professional competent in performing selected physical therapy services under the direct supervision of a physical therapist. Physical Therapist Assistants provide a variety of physical therapy techniques, in accordance with the licensing board in the state for which they practice. Physical Therapist Assistants conduct therapeutic exercises, functional trainings, deep soft tissue massages, and other physical modalities such as electrotherapy and ultrasound. A PTA's work is focused on providing therapy for patients who are recovering from injury and illness, enabling patients to regain movement, and manage pain. PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and more.

Students must earn minimum grades in all courses in the Physical Therapist Assistant program. Contact the program manager for details.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Integrate evidence and demonstrate critical thinking to support clinical decision-making.
  • Progress, monitor through data collection, respond to changes, and provide effective interventions for patient management across the lifespan within the scope of Physical Therapist Assistant practice and under the direction of a Physical Therapist.
  • Communicate effectively, orally and in writing, with patients, families, and other health care providers.

Program Requirements

  • Students must complete their credit English and Mathematics within the first 24 credits.
  • One course must meet the cultural competence graduation requirement.
  • CORE: The General Education CORE is that foundation of the higher education curriculum providing a coherent intellectual experience for all students. Students should check with an advisor or the transfer institution (ARTSYS) before selecting General Education CORE requirements.
  • In some General Education categories (Mathematics, Biological & Physical Sciences), a 4-credit course selected from the GenEd course list will satisfy the requirement in place of a 3-credit course. Students should check with an advisor before selecting these courses.
  • For the Physical Education, Health, or Nutrition requirement, a 3-credit PHED, HLTH, or NUTR course may satisfy the requirement in place of a 1-credit course. Students should check with an advisor before selecting this course.
  • Students must earn a grade of "C" or better in ENGL 101 English Composition.
  • Additional minimum grade requirements are required for all courses in the Physical Therapist Assistant program. Contact the program manager for details.
ENGL 101English Composition 13
MATH 120Statistics (or higher MATH course)3
Social & Behavioral Sciences
PSYC 101General Psychology3
Arts & Humanities
COMM 105Small Group Communication3
Biological & Physical Sciences
BSCI 150Principles of Biology I4
BSCI 201Anatomy and Physiology I4
BSCI 202Anatomy and Physiology II4
Physical Education, Health, or Nutrition Requirement
PTHA courses satisfy this requirement
Departmental Requirements
PTHA 101Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant3
PTHA 105Basic Patient Care Skills4
PTHA 110Kinesiology4
PTHA 113Physical Agents3
PTHA 120Pathology2
PTHA 125Therapeutic Exercise3
PTHA 180Clinical Experience I3
PTHA 200Physical Therapy Ethics and Administration2
PTHA 205Advanced Patient Care Skills4
PTHA 210Neurorehabilitation4
PTHA 220Orthopedics3
PTHA 230Professional Seminar2
PTHA 235Clinical Experience II4
PTHA 240Clinical Experience III5
Total Credits70

Transfer Note

For more information on careers and transfer, contact the Career and Academic Planning Services office at 301.846.2471 or visit Transfer Services.

Guided Pathway to Success (GPS)

Suggested schedules map your path to degree completion.

Students should meet with an advisor each semester to carefully select and sequence courses based on their specific academic goals and interests. Visit Jefferson Hall or call 301.846.2471 for advising.

Plan of Study Grid
Recommended First SemesterCredits
BSCI 150 Principles of Biology I 4
Mathematics Elective (Gen Ed course list) 1 3-4
Statistics (or higher required)  
Recommended Second Semester
ENGL 101 English Composition 1 3
BSCI 201 Anatomy and Physiology I 4
PTHA 101 Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant 3
PTHA 105 Basic Patient Care Skills 4
Recommended Third Semester
BSCI 202 Anatomy and Physiology II 4
PSYC 101 General Psychology 3
PTHA 110 Kinesiology 4
PTHA 113 Physical Agents 3
PTHA 120 Pathology 2
Recommended Fourth Semester
COMM 105 Small Group Communication 3
PTHA 125 Therapeutic Exercise (6 weeks) 3
PTHA 180 Clinical Experience I (4 weeks) 2 3
Recommended Fifth Semester
PTHA 200 Physical Therapy Ethics and Administration 2
PTHA 205 Advanced Patient Care Skills 4
PTHA 210 Neurorehabilitation 4
PTHA 220 Orthopedics 3
Recommended Sixth Semester
PTHA 230 Professional Seminar 2
PTHA 235 Clinical Experience II (5 weeks) 2 4
PTHA 240 Clinical Experience III (7 weeks) 2 5
 Total Credits70-71

Take this course within the first 24 credits.


Full-time clinical education experiences are a minimum of 35 hours/week, but can be up to 40 hours/week, depending on schedules of the facility.

Part-time Students

Part-time students should complete courses in the order listed on the pathway. Please contact program manager for questions about part-time status.

Students who take fewer than 15 credits each semester or who require developmental English or Math coursework will need additional semesters to complete their degrees. Summer term and January session classes may help students to make faster progress.

Pathway Legend

Milestone - courses with the Milestone notation should be taken within the recommend credit range to stay on track for program completion.

Fall, Spring, Summer - courses with a Fall, Spring, or Summer notation indicate the course is offered in the specified semester only.