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Physical Therapist Assistant - Associate in Applied Science

pta students with instructor Mike Spitz

Patient, caring, and like helping others? Want a job you can feel good about?

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) are skilled and licensed healthcare providers who work under the direction and supervision of physicaltherapists. Many people choose to be a physical therapist assistant because they have such direct access to patients. PTAs will see patients for about an hour at a time, often several days a week for a six-week or two-month period, sometimes longer. They really get to know their patients and share in their progress.

Physical therapist assistants provide treatments that improve patient mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or lessen physical disabilities, such as exercises, massages, electrical stimulation, paraffin baths, hot and cold packs, traction, and ultrasound. They record the patient's response to treatment and report it to the physical therapist. They also may be responsible for keeping the treatment area clean and organized and preparing for a patient's therapy.

PTAs can work with lots of different types of patients – from pediatrics to geriatrics – and in lots of areas. They can do home visits, work in hospitals, outpatient rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools and colleges, or in the field of sports medicine.

About the Program

The Physical Therapist Assistant program is a two year program designed to prepareyou for employment as an entry-level physical therapist assistant. Registration and acceptance into the PTA program occurs each Fall. Though many of Delta’s programs will transfer to four-year colleges, many – including the PTA, respiratory care, and surgical tech programs – are designed for immediate employment.

If you are planning to become a physical therapist, you should follow the physical therapy transfer guide sheet available in Delta's Counseling Center.

Careers and Job Outlook

Employment opportunities are available in a variety of settings including outpatient physical therapy offices and clinics, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities.

Employment of physical therapist assistants is expected to increase 46 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services is expected to increase in response to the healthcare needs of a growing elderly population.The average yearly earnings of physical therapist assistants in Michigan is $42,020.

Source: Michigan Department of Career Development, 2010 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates of Michigan Occupational Information System

What are students saying?

"The PTA program not only provides you with a degree in one of the fastest growing healthcare fields, it also challenges you to better yourself and reach new heights. With academic honors, leadership experience, and community service, you leave Delta as a highly desirable, well-rounded graduate with the skills to make you successful in and out of the work place."
– Megan Avery

"Learning from professors who are so evidently passionate and enthusiastic about the field of physical therapy has made me confident that I have chosen the right career path for myself."
– Theresa Mead

"The classroom activities replicate real clinical situations, which give us the confidence and knowledge to be true assets to the Physical Therapy profession. By doing this we can make our mark in this world."
– Cheryl Mrozinki

Find Out More

Have questions or want more information? Contact:

Chris Hausbeck
PTA program coordinator

Physical Therapist Assistant - Associate in Applied Science

Program Code: AAS.20573

Delta’s program is for the training of Physical Therapist Assistants only. If you are planning to become a Physical Therapist, you should follow the Pre-Physical Therapy program guide and meet with a counselor.

As a Physical Therapist Assistant, you will work under the direction and supervision of Physical Therapists. Such settings include: acute care hospitals, rehabilitation centers, school systems, nursing homes, home care, out-patient facilities, private clinics, and specialty clinics. As a graduate of this program, you will be able to carry out patient treatment programs designed by the Physical Therapist that utilize heat, cold, light, sound, massage, therapeutic exercise, aquatics, manual therapy, and rehabilitation procedures. This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Option A - Regular Track (Students can take and complete these validation courses at their own pace.)

General Education Prerequisite Courses-Option A

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
BIO 140W5Essentials Of Human Anatomy & Physiology ______________
OR ______________
BIO 152W(4)Human Anatomy & Physiology I AND ______________
BIO 153W(4)Human Anatomy & Physiology II ______________
OR ______________
BIO 240(4)Human Anatomy AND ______________
BIO 241(4)Physiology ______________
COM 114W3Interpersonal Communication ______________
ENG 1113College Composition I ______________
HSC 1052Medical Terminology ______________
POL ---3/4Any Approved American Government Requirement ______________
PSY 101W3Applied Psychology OR ______________
PSY 211W(4)General Psychology ______________

Option B - Accelerated Track (Students must take these validation courses in one semester.)

General Education Prerequisite Courses-Option B

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
BIO 140W5Essentials Of Human Anatomy & Physiology ______________
COM 114W3Interpersonal Communication ______________
ENG 1113College Composition I ______________
HSC 1052Medical Terminology ______________
POL ---3/4Any Approved American Government Requirement ______________
PSY 101W3Applied Psychology ______________

Clinical Program Course Sequence

Semester 1 (Fall)

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
ENG 1133Technical Communication ______________
LW 206A1Occupational Wellness 1 ______________
PTA 1012Applied Clinical Anatomy I ______________
PTA 101LW1Applied Clinical Anatomy I Lab ______________
PTA 1052Physical Agents I ______________
PTA 105LW1Physical Agents I Lab ______________
PTA 1102Fundamentals of Patient Mobility ______________
PTA 110L1Fundamentals of Patient Mobility Lab ______________

Semester 2 (Winter)

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
LWA 206B0.5Occupational Wellness 2 ______________
PTA 1022Clinical Neuroanatomy ______________
PTA 1202Orthopedic Rehabilitation ______________
PTA 120L1Orthopedic Rehabilitation Lab ______________
PTA 1211Human Development I - Topics in Pediatrics ______________
PTA 123W2.5Clinical Medicine ______________
PTA 123LW0.5Clinical Medicine Lab ______________
PTA 1242PTA Clinic I ______________
PTA 1251Applied Clinical Anatomy II ______________
PTA 125LW1Applied Clinical Anatomy II Lab ______________

Semester 3 (Fall)

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
LWA 206C0.5Occupational Wellness 3 ______________
PTA 2050.5Physical Agents II ______________
PTA 205L0.5Physical Agents II Lab ______________
PTA 2090.5Fundamentals of Pediatric Rehabilitation ______________
PTA 209L0.5Fundamentals of Pediatric Rehabilitation Lab ______________
PTA 2102Neuro-Rehabilitation Techniques ______________
PTA 210LW1Neuro-Rehabilitation Techniques Lab ______________
PTA 2130.5Orthotics and Prosthetics ______________
PTA 213L0.5Orthotics and Prosthetics Lab ______________
PTA 214W3PTA Clinic 2 ______________
PTA 216W1Introduction to Evidence Based Practice ______________
PTA 2222Human Development II - Topics in Geriatrics ______________

Semester 4 (Winter)

CourseCreditsCourse TitleCompleted
PTA 2212Clinical Seminar ______________
PTA 224W9PTA Clinic 3 ______________

69/74Total Credits Required For Associates Degree (option A)
69/70Total Credits Required For Associates Degree (option B)


1 - Registration and acceptance into the PTA program occurs each Fall. Anticipated enrollment capacities can be found on the validation chart. The procedures for application into the PTA Program are in the guidelines for validation. See Validation Procedures in this catalog for required process.
2 - Prerequisite qualifications for validation are: high school graduate or GED equivalent; provide transcripts from high school and all other colleges attended; be admitted to Delta College; completion with a B (3.0) minimum grade in: BIO 140 or BIO 152 and BIO 153 or BIO 240 and BIO 241; and completion with a "C" (2.0) minimum grade in ENG 111, HSC 105, PSY 101 or PSY 211, and COM 114, and complete 40 hours of observation time to apply for validation.
3 - Math skills of LEVEL 3 are recommended.
4 - Physical Therapist Assistant courses are offered day and evening hours and must be taken in the sequence shown. There may be occasional weekend courses, as well, that are mandatory.
5 - You must achieve a minimum C (2.0) grade in each Physical Therapist Assistant course to be eligible to continue in the program.
6 - In addition to tuition, fees, and textbook costs, you must purchase appropriate lab attire, name tags, provide your transportation to clinical settings, possible hospital parking charges, and field trips.
7 - Upon admission to the program, you must have a complete physical examination including a negative TB test or a physician’s release form annually.
8 - Current CPR for Health Care Provider certification is required upon successful enrollment in the PTA program. Current CPR certification must be maintained throughout the program.
9 - Proof of Hepatitis B vaccination or signed waiver and proof of current flu vaccination is required for admission to clinical sequence.
10 - An observation series is required prior to validation. Students must observe, at a minimum, two different PT’s or PTA’s performing their skills in two different clinical practice sites for a minimum of 40 hours. These observations must be documented on the Observation Form which is available on line under the PTA site or can be picked up in the Counseling Office. These forms must be stamped at the Registrar's office at the time the validation application is turned in. Once the form has been stamped it must be turned in to the PTA Program Coordinator.
11 - You need to be aware that clinical hospital assignments may be outside the local area. Students must be prepared to commute up to two hours for at least one rotation.
12 - Student Reentry Procedures are printed in the handbook given to all clinical students.
13 - Criminal background checks are required to participate in clinical experiences. There is a fee for the criminal background check. Any student with a previous or current felony/misdemeanor conviction must inform the PTA Program Coordinator of said conviction. Students should be aware that a felony/misdemeanor conviction may constitute grounds for ineligibility to sit for the PTA licensure examination. Students should be aware that the current licensure application form now requires that a criminal background check requiring fingerprinting be completed. Questions regarding licensure can be found at http://www.michigan/gov/healthlicense
14 - Students may complete the program in five (5) semesters by taking all General Education courses in Option B during one semester.
15 - Also see "Dual Degrees."
16 - You will be eligible to attempt to register for clinical courses only after successfully completing the prerequisite qualifications and receiving a “Semester and Year of Validation”.
17 - Any Approved American Government, POL ---, course must be completed with a "C" (2.0) minimum grade prior to graduation but is not required for validation.
18 - Students must have completed BIO 140 or BIO 152/BIO 153W or BIO 240/BIO 241 within the past ten years. If this time period is exceeded, an approved biology course must be taken to refresh this content. Please see the PTA Program Coordinator to determine which course(s) must be taken.
19 - ENG 113 Technical Communication must be taken while in the PTA program. If ENG 113 is taken prior to entering the PTA program the sudent will need to repeat the course. ENG 113 taken within the program will focus on writing skill/requirements within the PTA discipline.

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