Director of Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Dr. Michael Witte, P.T., D.P.T., ATC/L, CSCS
PH 402.552.3325  TF 800.647.5500


The Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) degree program prepares students to carry out customized rehabilitative care plans tailored to their patients’ individual needs. The program offers a traditional track for first-time college students and a transfer option for individuals who have an associate’s degree or higher or have earned at least 35 credit hours from an accredited college or university. Successful completion of the PTA Program leads to an Associate of Science degree, making students eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination (NPTAE). After attaining licensure and becoming a practicing PTA, students can enroll in the Bachelor of Science in PTA degree program to further enhance their clinical competencies and job opportunities within the field.

The PTA Transfer (four semesters) option program requires all of the same PTA coursework as the traditional option program. The exception is the total number of PTA courses a student is able to take per semester based on previous college coursework completion.

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 Clarkson College’s 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 Admissions office, the College website, or in the Academic Policies & Procedures section (AD-1).

Progression Criteria  

  1. Entry into the PTA four-semester option is permitted during the fall semester only.
  2. The student must complete the course of study as outlined.
  3. If a student does not complete a PTA course as scheduled, the student must wait and take the PTA course when it is offered again in the option sequence or transfer to the traditional PTA curriculum sequence, if allowed.
  4. Students applying for this program should possesses an associate 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 physical therapist assistant (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.) Recommended elective courses include: Abnormal Psychology, Human Biology, Human Development and Nutrition, Advanced Anatomy, or Spanish for the Health Care Professional.
  • PTA Major Courses = 47 semester hours

Program requires Health and Safety –   View Health and Safety Information

Health Care Core Courses: nine 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 Health Care Core - IC 200 Developing Cultural Competence OR IC 250 Advancing Cultural Competence 3
Humanities Health Care 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 Health Care Core - EA 200 Biomedical Ethics in Health Care OR EA 205 Death and Dying OR EA 210 American Poverty and Health Care 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 associate’s 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. Lab time is scheduled as part of the curriculum and reserved lab hours can be established to allow students to complete required coursework and additional practice.

PTA 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 120 - Therapeutic Modalities I 3
PTA 125 - Clinical Practicum I 1
PTA 205 - Pathophysiology 3
PTA 210 - Therapeutic Modalities II 3
PTA 215 - Therapeutic Exercise II 3
IC HU EA - Health Care Core Course 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
IC HU EA - Health Care Core Course 3
Total Semester Hours 14
Last updated: 08/27/2018