Director of Physical Therapist Assistant Programs
Dr. Michael Witte, P.T., D.P.T., ATC/L, CSCS
PH 402.552.3325  TF 800.647.5500 
wittemichael@clarksoncollege.edu

Mission

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program at Clarkson College utilizes high quality, well-integrated, contemporary curricula to prepare students to deliver professional, ethical, competent and compassionate health care.

Program Description

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Clarkson College is designed to give students a diverse educational experience rich in both basic and applied sciences. Students of the program are prepared to work under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist and are expected to demonstrate clinical competence, good ethical judgment and compassion in the treatment of patients. The Physical Therapist Assistant program provides an optimal learning environ­ment for preparing students to deliver quality health care in a variety of clinical settings. The program offers a broad educational experience that enables students to apply theoretical learning to clinical practice. Students develop the necessary clinical problem solving and professional skills needed to becoming an integral member of the health care team. Graduates are expected to adhere to all professional and ethical standards set forth by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The program prepares students to help people improve their quality of life, which is consistent with the College mission.

Philosophy

Physical Therapy (PT) is a healing profession. It focuses on the restoration of function, the promotion of physical wellness and a commitment to service to others. Physical therapist assistants are individuals who play an integral role as part of the health care team by assisting the physical therapist in patient care. Involvement with patient care in PT requires an educated individual who demonstrates compassion of others and who places a strong moral value on human life. Physical therapist assistants are influential professionals who advance the field of PT through life long learning as clinic administrators, faculty members, clinical instructors, clinicians and by participating in professional organizations at the state and national levels. They are educationally and technically trained health care professionals concerned with improv­ing the well-being of all, and they are empowered to make a positive difference.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the PTA program will:

  • Work within the legal guidelines and professional standards for the physical therapist assistant in the delivery of high quality health care under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.
  • Implement treatment plans and PT interventions under the supervision of a physical therapist.
  • Show sensitivity to cultural, ethnic, gender and lifestyle differences.
  • Possess the ability to effectively translate theory into practice in order to meet the demands of a dynamic health care system.
  • Contribute to the advancement of the profession by participating in research, teaching, continuing education and serving on professional organizations.
  • Exhibit good moral and ethical judgment in health care practice and uphold confidentiality of all persons at all times.

PTA in the Profession

Physical therapist assistants are an integral part of the health care team and provide skilled services to individuals across the lifespan. Physical therapist assistants work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, neurological rehabilitation facilities, educa­tional settings and wellness facilities. Under the direction of a Physical Therapist, physical therapist assistants implement numerous interventions, including exercise prescription, therapeutic modalities and mobility training. Whether the patient’s goal is to resume function after an illness or injury or to improve their physical fitness, physical therapist assistants have the skills to help people achieve functional independence and improve quality of life.

Admissions Policies

Students must meet the criteria for entrance into the College prior to application into either the Traditional or Transfer PTA program options. For information about entrance requirements, refer to the Admissions section. Because class sizes are limited, additional criteria are used to determine admission into the PTA program. Complete details regarding the policies and procedures about admission are available from the Admissions office, the Director of the Physical Therapist Assistant program or on the website in the Admissions section.

Program requires Health and Safety – View Health and Safety Information

Undergraduate Physical Therapist Assistant Courses

(Two hours of theory, three hours of laboratory per week) This course will introduce the student to the essentials of functional anatomy as related to the study of muscle origin, insertion, action and innervation. In addition, basic terminology and concepts of applied kinesiology will also be covered. Experiences will include student application of appropriate communication skills with hands-on application of palpation skills as well as how to obtain patient consent. Cadaver dissection surface anatomy review is also completed.

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Functional Anatomy recitation meets for one hour each week to reinforce the concepts and knowledge discussed in the lecture course. This course will emphasize study skills and time management strategies related to the essentials of functional anatomy, including the study of muscle location and function as well as basic terminology and concepts of applied kinesiology. Recitation also provides students an opportunity to ask questions and practice new skills in a small group environment.

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(Two hours theory per week) This course is designed to provide an introduction to the profession and practice of physical therapy. This course also provides students with an introduction to program expectations and includes community and professional service activities outside of the classroom. Students will explore topics such as the history and development of the profession, the roles and characteristics of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, the American Physical Therapy Association, laws, ethics, financing and communication in physical therapy, as well as an overview of practice in physical therapy relating to musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular and pulmonary, integumentary, pediatric and geriatric conditions. Students will also be exposed to the basic APA style format for professional literature.

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(Two hours theory per week) This course presents students with information on current systems of medical documentation for patient care, as used in the profession of physical therapy, throughout multiple practice settings. Students will explore topics such as abbreviations and medical terminology commonly encountered in the profession of physical therapy; components of the S.O.A.P. note format; International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health and Nagi disablement models; goal writing; legal and ethical issues in documentation; billing and coding for physical therapy services; and S.O.A.P. note documentation in electronic, written, typed and dictated formats.

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(Two hours theory, three hours of laboratory per week) This course provides an examination of the principles and practices of physical therapy with the development of an understanding and application of basic patient care procedures, such as transfers; wheelchair management; universal precautions and wound management; balance and gait; sensory assessment and PNF techniques; and vital signs assessments. These principles will involve patient and treatment set up in both the Simulation Lab and PTA lab settings, review of PTA responsibilities and incorporate beginning intervention techniques to the course-related topics.

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(Two hours theory, three hours of laboratory per week) This course will provide students with the skill set necessary to complete all manual muscle testing and goniometry measurements for the spine, upper extremity and lower extremity. In addition, students will gain a basic understanding of the assessment of all muscular strength and range of motion function.

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(Two hours of theory, three hours of laboratory per week) This course provides students with an in-depth knowledge of the basic science involved in understanding therapeutic modalities and the different forms of energy, along with their relation to modality interventions available in physical therapy. Basic principles of using a variety of modalities for the treatment of pain management and other physiological conditions will be introduced, for example, thermal and some electrical agents. Students will gain a thorough understanding of physiological effects, indications, contraindications, and application techniques for multiply modalities available in various patient populations and practice settings.

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(A minimum of 40 hours of clinical per semester) This clinical will allow students the opportunity to observe and begin supervised clinical practice. Students will gain insight into the PT/PTA relationship and apply learned technical skills.

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(One hour theory per week) This course will introduce concepts of leadership development through self-assessment of students own strengths and areas for improvement. Students will take part in the introspective assessments and developing leadership behaviors they can use in the physical therapy profession. The course will include the role of values in the ability to reflect on one's own leadership behaviors and the ability to make choices based on these values. This course will also serve to facilitate the process of incorporating the leadership and advanced practice skills from program coursework into contemporary practice.

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(Three hours of theory per week) This course is designed to provide an introduction to general pathology with an empha­sis on the study of diseases and disorders most commonly seen in physical therapy practice. Diseases of the musculoskeletal, nervous and cardiopulmonary systems are emphasized with discussion on the PTA role and proper physical therapy intervention.

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(Two hours theory, three hours of laboratory per week) This course provides students with a comprehensive knowledge of both contemporary and alternative modalities administered in current practice. An understanding of current literature and an evidence based practice approach will be established in regards to the use of therapeutic modalities for multiple patient conditions and diagnoses. Students will gain a thorough understanding of physiological effects, indications, contraindications, and application techniques for a variety of patients in multiple settings regarding the use of modalities such as manual techniques, applications for wounds and lymphedema, and continued practice with electrical and mechanical modalities.

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(Two hours of theory per week) This course will focus on various professional issues related to the clinical practice of a physical therapist assistant. Included in this course are issues related to licensure/certification, professional liability and responsibilities, advocacy and service, patient and clinic management, professional leadership and employment skills. Students will create a service project and implement the project during this course, among other service requirements.

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(Two hours theory, three hours of laboratory per week) This course is a continuation of the study of physical therapy skills including the anatomy and physiology of exercise and principles of exercise prescription. Included is the study and application of cardiovascular exercise, progressive resistive exercise, stretching and balance exercises. Both traditional and alternative approaches to exercise are presented. There is an emphasis on wellness programs, exercise progression and modification for pathological conditions and physical therapy appropriate for related disorders.

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(A minimum of 120 hours of clinical per semester) This clinical provides opportunities for establishing and following individual patient treatments and pro­grams. PTA goals are realized from experience in providing treatments. In addition, insights are gained into medical, departmental and institutional func­tions and organization. Topics include reinforcement of techniques and skills, information concerning the care of the ill and disabled, a continuation of commun­ications skills and discussion of the PTA role.

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(Two hours theory and three hours of laboratory per week) This course assists the student in learning new and advanced rehabilitation techniques for patients with neurologically related diseases, such as spinal cord or brain injury, cerebro­vascular accidents, as well as advanced rehabilitation techniques for cardiopulmonary conditions, industrial wellness and pediatric conditions. Included are also evidence-based practice activities and PT/PTA relationship activities with neighboring PT programs. Emphasis is placed on integration of skills learned over the course of the PTA program to form complete and thorough patient care experiences.

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(Two hours theory, three hours of laboratory per week) This course expands on the theory and principles of physical therapy skills used to treat specific orthopedic disorders and other special populations, including sports physical therapy, amputation, prosthetics and orthotic use, wound and burn care, women’s health, critical care and lymphedema. Emphasis is placed on integration of skills learned over the course of the PTA program to form complete and thorough patient care experiences.

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(A minimum of 200 hours of clinical per semester) This clinical is a continuation of supervised practical experience in a physical therapy setting with added opportunities to apply and improve therapy skills. Students are expected to manage a larger patient load during this terminal clinical practice and complete assignments related to topics, including quality assurance issues, documentation systems and the APTA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

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(A minimum of 240 hours of clinical per semester) This clinical is de­signed to be a final step in the development of the physical therapist assistant student and demonstrate entry-level competence with skills with full patient caseload and additional responsibilities in a physical therapy setting. Students will be expected to perform patient care skills as related to the profession of physical therapy in a competent and ethical manner. In addition, students will complete an in-service present a patient case study and relate how the PTA fits into an integrated health care environment.

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(One hour theory per week) This course will broaden the application of leadership concepts from Clinical Leadership & Practice Integration I coursework, to application of leadership in the work setting. Students will learn methods for management of clinical components and marketing. The course will dive into quality assurance and process improvement within the work place. The course will include the role of values in the ability to apply management skills in the workplace. This course will also serve to facilitate the process of incorporating the leadership and advanced practice skills from program coursework into contemporary practice.

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(Three hours theory per week) This course will provide the PTA a basis for advanced clinical practice including review of Ethics and Evidence Based Practice (EBP) skills necessary to become reflective practitioners and critical consumers of rehabilitation literature. This is done through exploring research philosophy, understanding critical inquire, research design, descriptive statistics, and concepts of correlation, reliability, and validity. In addition, concepts related to ethical obligations of healthcare practitioners, professionalism in practice, and the introduction of legal and moral issues and dilemmas regarding healthcare trends will be covered.

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(Three hours theory per week) The purpose of this course is to provide the PTA with fundamental principles of utilizing and reporting functional outcome measures, as well as fiscal management in regards to coding, billing and reimbursement. This course will investigate the impact of healthcare reform and setting-specific assessments used in physical therapy documentation

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(Three hours theory per week) The purpose of this course is to help students understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of cardiopulmonary and neurological disease. Concepts in this course include physical therapy assessment tools, specialized physical therapy treatment strategies, and techniques including red flags for alerting supervising PTs or other medical staff.

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(Three hours theory per week) This course will allow students to understand advanced musculoskeletal system interventions as well as the relationships and interdependence of body regions as applied to all populations. Students will gain knowledge regarding different advanced manual skills such as mobilization with movement, muscle energy techniques, postural restoration, and instrument aided soft tissue mobilization. The course will look at the differences in surgical procedures to treat musculoskeletal injuries and develop the students understanding of the biomechanics involved in different performance activities.

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(One hour theory per week) This course will broaden the application of leadership concepts from the Clinical Leadership and Practice Integration I and II coursework to application of leadership at the organizational level. Students will learn core practices of exemplary leadership and apply leadership problem solving behaviors to organizations. The course will include the role of values in decision-making as they apply to organizations. This course will also serve to facilitate the process of incorporating the leadership and advanced practice skills from program coursework into contemporary practice.

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(Three hours theory per week) This course expands on skills in order to incorporate physical therapy knowledge and theories in to the transitional care of a patient from ailment to return to functional life. Course topics include: acute care treatment, trauma, ICU and CCU, understanding relevant acute medical testing and measures. Additionally, pharmacological considerations, the effects of multiple system and mental health diseases, will be examined on how chronic illness inhabits multiple facets of the patient’s life.

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(Three hours theory per week) This course will explore treatment of patients with complex medical conditions seen in physical therapy and the system interdependence of individuals with multiple comorbidities. Additionally, nutritional, pharmacological and psychological considerations will be addressed. The course will also cover the medical and social transition of patients among healthcare settings, end of life care and therapy considerations for patients with medical conditions across the lifespan.

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(One hour theory per week) This course will broaden the application of leadership concepts from the Clinical Leadership and Practice Integration I, II, and III coursework to application of leadership in the community. Students will learn core practices of exemplary leadership and apply leadership problem solving behaviors to the community. The course will include the role of values in decision-making as they apply to the community. This course will also serve to facilitate the process of incorporating the leadership and advanced practice skills from program coursework into contemporary practice.

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Last updated: 02/22/2018