Director of Physical Therapist Assistant
Jessica Niemann, PTA, M.Ed.
PH 402.552.2868  TF 800.647.5500


The Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) degree option prepares students to carry out customized rehabilitative care plans tailored to their patients’ individual needs. The program offers two tracks: an on-campus, 24-month (6 semester) traditional track for first-time college students or those who want to take courses at a slower pace; and an online, 16-month (4 semester) transfer track for individuals who have an associates degree or higher or have earned at least 35 credit hours from an accredited college or university. 

Successful completion of the PTA program option leads to an Associate of Science degree, making students eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to obtain a PTA license. After earning an AS PTA degree from an accredited program, students can enroll in the Bachelor of Science in PTA degree program to further enhance their skills in the profession and open doors to career advancement.

The online PTA Transfer track requires all the same PTA coursework as the PTA Traditional track. The content for the transfer track is delivered online, asynchronously with four to five on-campus skills weekends per semester. Since students transfer general education courses to the College, the four semesters are primarily focused on PTA coursework allowing students to complete their degree in just four semesters with the flexibility of online delivery. 

PTA graduates can take their career to a new level by enrolling in the dual Associate and Bachelor of Science in PTA degree option. The dual degree in PTA option will open doors for career growth through advanced skills in clinical decision-making and multi-system interventions and lead to opportunities in leadership within the profession and community. 

Program Specific Competency Goals

Upon completion of the Associate of Science degree in Physical Therapist Assistant, graduates will:

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

 **Categories denoted in the parentheses represent relationship to the Clarkson College student success skills, which are our institutional student learning outcomes, and include Communication, Technology, Critical Thinking, Diversity and Professionalism. 

Admission Policies

Enrollment in Clarkson College degree programs is limited through a selective admissions process. Admission policies and procedures are available from: the Enrollment and Advising office, College website or Academic Policies & Procedures section (AD-1).

Progression Criteria  

  1. Entry into the PTA program is permitted during the fall semester.
  2. Students complete the course of study as outlined.
  3. Students applying for this program should possesses an associates degree or higher level degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education; or have earned 35 or more credit hours at an accredited institution with a transfer grade of a “C” or higher. Of those credits, 18 credit hours must be within the general courses listed below.

Curriculum Requirements 

In order to complete an Associate of Science in PTA degree at Clarkson College, students must successfully complete a total of 74 semester hours. Students are required to attend four semesters, with all PTA courses completed in the sequence shown in the sample curriculum. Total hours must be distributed as follows: 

  • Clarkson College Core Courses = 9  semester hours
  • General Education = 18 semester hours: Pre-requisites listed below must be completed prior to enrollment. 
  • PTA Major Courses = 47 semester hours

Program requires Health and Safety –   View Health and Safety Information

Health Care Core Courses: 9 semester hours

Core Curriculum Courses may be taken anytime during this program or prior to entering the PTA four-semester program option. These courses must be taken at Clarkson College.

Course Semester Hours
◊ Intercultural Communication Healthcare Core - IC 200 Developing Cultural Competence OR IC 250 Advancing Cultural Competence 3
Humanities Healthcare Core - HU 200 A Cultural History of the Healing Arts OR HU 205 The History of Science, Technology and Medicine OR HU 210 American Social Movements OR HU 215 Academic Travel Abroad Humanities 3
Ethics, Empathy and Advocacy Healthcare Core - EA 200 Biomedical Ethics in Healthcare OR EA 205 Death and Dying OR EA 210 American Poverty and Healthcare OR EA 215 Abnormal Psychology 3

Required General Education/Support Courses  

The following courses must be completed prior to entry into the PTA Transfer option:

Course Semester Hours
Medical Terminology 1
College Algebra 3
English Composition I 3
Introduction to Psychology 3
Anatomy (plus lab) (must be current within last five years) 4
Physiology (plus lab) (must be current within last five years) 4
Electives (minimum) 17
  Total 35

Note: Students that do not possess an associates degree or higher level degree must also complete an additional 17 credit hours of general elective courses for a total of 35 transferable credits to be considered as a possible applicant.

Service Requirements

Service reflects a holistic view that focuses on how individuals provide high quality, ethical and compassionate service in the field of health care and the community at large. Students will become familiar with service agencies, connect learning with practice and engage in civic service activities to live and demonstrate the Clarkson College Values of Learning, Caring, Commitment, Integrity and Excellence.

All students are to complete designated service courses as a component of their program of study. Successful completion of service experiences is required to pass the designated service courses. Designated service courses are identified using the following symbol: ◊

Physical Therapist Assistant Skills Lab

The PTA Skills Lab provides students with an opportunity to practice a variety of clinically-related, patient intervention techniques. Students have access to an assortment of therapeutic equipment reflective of the current practice of physical therapy during designated lab times. Open lab times are established to allow students with additional time to practice.

PTA - Transfer Track Required Courses (16-month option)

The following curriculum plan for an Associate of Science in PTA degree has been provided. Below is the lock-step outline of the program’s curriculum to guide students.

First Year

First Semester

Course Name Semester Hours
PTA 106 - Introduction to Physical Therapy 2
PTA 107 - Documentation for the Physical Therapist Assistant 2
PTA 105 - Functional Anatomy for the Physical Therapist Assistant 3
PTA 110 - Basic Skills in Physical Therapy 3
PTA 115 - Therapeutic Exercise I 3
IPE 301 - Interprofessional Education 0
Total Semester Hours 13

Second Semester

Course Name Semester Hours
PTA 122 - Therapeutic Modalities 3
PTA 125 - Clinical Practicum I 1
PTA 205 - Pathophysiology 3
PTA 222 - Therapeutic Interventions 3
PTA 215 - Therapeutic Exercise II 3
◊ IC Core - Intercultural Communication 3
Total Semester Hours 16

Third Semester

Course Name Semester Hours
◊ PTA 213 - Professional Leadership Seminar 1
PTA 220 - Clinical Practicum II 3
PTA 230 - Advanced Procedures 3
PTA 235 - Therapeutic Exercise III 3
HU Core - Humanities 3
Total Semester Hours 13
Second Year

First Semester

Course Name Semester Hours
PTA 240 - Clinical Practicum III 5
PTA 245 - Clinical Practicum IV 6
EA Core - Ethics, Empathy and Advocacy 3
Total Semester Hours 14
Last updated: 05/31/2022