Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical Therapy AssistantAbout the Career

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) work under the direction of physical therapists to help people of all ages who have health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform daily activities. Physical therapist assistants help patients reach their maximum performance and level of functioning while learning to live within the limits of their rehabilitation goals. Physical therapist assistants may assist in the development of treatment plans, treatment documentation, and modification of specific treatments that have been established by the physical therapist.
 
Employment opportunities are available in a variety of settings including outpatient physical therapy offices and clinics, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities.

About the Program

The Associate of Applied Science degree in the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) professional curriculum is a five-semester sequence, preceded by a set of prerequisites. Students must maintain a minimum grade of a "C" in each PTAT and ZOO course, in addition to college graduation requirements, to progress and graduate. Upon accreditation, graduates of the Physical Therapist Assistant program are eligible to apply for the national licensing exam, administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). 

Accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant curriculum is designed to meet all the accreditation requirements for the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The PTA program at LCCC is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of  the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), 111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, accreditation@apta.org, 703.684.2782.

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Drug Screening and Criminal Background Checks

At their discretion, clinical sites may require a drug screening and/or a criminal background check prior to allowing students into the clinical setting. (If required, any associated fees will be the responsibility of the student.) Clinical sites may also require random drug testing and/or drug testing for reasonable cause. Testing positive on the drug screening or evidence of tampering with a specimen will disqualify a student from participation from clinical assignment.

In addition to drug screening, for the safety of patients and health care workers, child abuse clearance and criminal background checks are required by some agencies prior to a clinical assignment. Certain criminal activity, as evidenced by a criminal background check, may also disqualify a student from clinical participation.

Students are advised that the inability to gain clinical education experiences can result in the inability to meet program objectives and outcomes. These circumstances may prevent acceptance into and/or continuance in the program.

Program Goals and Objectives

The PTA program seeks to prepare students to assume a professional and active role within the physical therapy community. The program seeks to:
  • 1. Produce PTA’s prepared to competently meet or exceed the entry level duties of a PTA in a variety of settings.
  • 2. Produce PTA’s prepared to successfully complete the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination (NPTAE).
  • 3. Develop and deliver an integrated academic program leading to the successful completion of the guidelines developed by the Higher Learning Commission of the North-Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), and the Normative Model of Physical Therapist Assistant Education: Version 2007.
  • 4. Advance the recognition of the field of physical therapy and the role of the PTA within that field.
  • 5. Promote the importance of continued personal and professional development through life-long learning and membership in professional organizations.

Graduates will be able to:

  • 1. Work under the supervision of a physical therapist in an ethical, legal, and professional manner.
  • 2. Implement a comprehensive treatment plan developed by the physical therapist.
  • 3. Recognize and implement the use of outcomes for patients in a variety of settings.
  • 4. Demonstrate effective oral, written, and non-verbal communications skills as it relates to a culturally diverse population.
  • 5. Successfully integrate concepts from the prerequisite course work, basic sciences and PTA programming into physical therapy practice.
  • 6. Demonstrate a commitment to life-long learning, evidence based practice, and ongoing professional growth in physical therapy practice.

Mission Statement and Philosophy

The primary mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Laramie County Community College is to provide a high quality education in physical therapy in order to produce certified, professional, ethical, competent practitioners in the field with a strong potential for advancement and leadership.

The program philosophy is committed to a high standard of educational excellence while promoting learner responsibility, effective communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. We strive to educate entry level PTA practitioner generalists that adhere to professional, ethical, and legal guidelines of the profession to serve our communities. We strive for excellence in all aspects of student education. Student education will be focused on the theory, knowledge and clinical skills essential to the entry level PTA. The curriculum is designed for the optimal use of technical innovation, hands on learning, and thorough practical clinical education. This structure drives our emphasis on technology and communication to facilitate learning in the classroom and the clinic. Graduates will meet the diverse needs of employers and the community while providing high quality patient care under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.

The foundation for the education of the PTA students is based on criteria and performance expectation described in A Normative Model of Physical Therapist Education: version 2007 by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).