Physical Therapist Assistant
Earn your Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Applied Science degree at Arapahoe Community College and get started with a career in healthcare.
As the field of physical therapy grows, so do the roles and responsibilities of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA). The field's future is both exciting and challenging. ACC has a 2-year, Associate of Applied Science Physical Therapist Assistant degree at the Sturm Collaboration Campus in Castle Rock that includes 59 credit hours of PTA courses and 16 hours of transferable general education courses to prepare you for a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant.
What You'll Learn
Getting your Physical Therapist Assistant AAS degree you will be prepared to take the National Physical Therapy Exam in and receive their license to begin your career. After you graduate from the PTA program, you’ll be able to:
- Collect, document, analyze, and report data to a supervising physical therapist
- Perform basic physical therapy interventions
- Adhere to legal and ethical policies and procedures
CIP 510806 (PTA)
A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a health care provider working under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist. The PTA is involved in the treatment of individuals with muscular, skeletal, cardiopulmonary and nervous system disorders. The PTA may also be involved in injury prevention or programs specifically targeted toward individual or group wellness. The PTA is able to provide physical therapy services as specified in a care plan developed by a Physical Therapist. Treatment program implementation may include: therapeutic exercise, ambulation training, activities of daily living and administration of physical agents such as heat and cold.
The PTA program at Arapahoe Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314; 703-706-3245; email: accreditation [at] apta [dot] org; website: www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 303 797-5897 or email pta [at] arapahoe [dot] edu.
The program is five semesters in length with a summer term following the first year. Upon successful completion, the graduate is awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree.
To be eligible for PTA licensure/certification, in addition to being a graduate of an accredited program, individuals must successfully complete the National Physical Therapist Assistant Exam administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (www.fsbpt.org). For employment an employer may also require successful completion of a background check, drug screen, CPR certification and/or various vaccinations and immunizations.
Contact the School of Health and Public Services Office, Room A2000, 303.797.5855. Please refer to the PTA Program Information for application and placement test scores. You can contact the School Office by phone 303.797.5855 for a copy of the PTA Program Information. See further information online at https://www.arapahoe.edu/academics-programs/programs/physical-therapist-assistant
- Admission to Arapahoe Community College
- A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 to be considered in the selective admission
- The PTA program is selective admission that accepts a limited number of applicants each year. In order to qualify for consideration for admission into the PTA program, each applicant must submit the following:
- Completed supplemental PTA program application. Applications are accepted between February 1 and May 15 each year.
- Official transcripts of general education courses completed sent directly from the issuing institution to Arapahoe Community College - Admissions and Records.
- Unofficial transcripts of general education courses completed attached to the PTA program application.
- ENG 121 and BIO 201 (or BIO 106) with a "C" or better are pre-requisites for PTA courses
- Students should have been assessed to be at college-level in English and Mathematics (see Student Resources and Services - Assessment in this Catalog)
- Minimum scores to be considered are:
- ACCUPLACER test:
- at least 246 or higher in Next Generation Writing
- at least 230 or higher in Next Generation QAS
- Three letters of recommendation on the required form.
- Documentation of work related or volunteer hours in Physical Therapy on the required form.
- Handwritten answers to the questions regarding the program, found in the application packet.
- BIO 106 or BIO 201 must have been completed in the last five years.
*Students planning to transfer their speech credit to another institution should complete COM 115.
- All major, general education and other courses required for this degree must be completed with a "C" or better to meet graduation requirements.
- Apply for graduation online at www.arapahoe.edu/graduation.
- As a graduate of a Career and Technical Education program you will be contacted by an ACC employee in approximately six months to verify your employment information. This information gathering is a federal requirement to ensure that ACC receives certain federal funding.
The Arapahoe Community College Physical Therapist Assistant Program prepares entry level Physical Therapist Assistants to:
- Perform in a safe manner that minimizes the risk to patient, self, and others
- Demonstrate expected clinical behaviors in a professional manner in all situations
- Perform in a manner consistent with established legal standards, standards of the profession, and ethical guidelines
- Adapt delivery of physical therapy services with consideration for patients’ differences, values, preferences, and needs
- Communicate in ways that are congruent with situational needs
- Participate in self-assessment and develops plans to improve knowledge, skills, and behaviors
- Demonstrate clinical problem solving
- Perform selected therapeutic exercises in a competent manner
- Apply selected manual therapy, airway clearance, and integumentary repair and protection techniques in a competent manner
- Apply selected physical agents, mechanical and electrotherapeutic modalities in a competent manner
- Perform functional training in self-care and home management and application and adjustment of devices and equipment in a competent manner
- Produce quality documentation in a timely manner to support the delivery of physical therapy services
- Participate in the efficient delivery of physical therapy services
(Adapted from the APTA Physical Therapist Assistant Clinical Performance Instrument August 2009 version.)
Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant is a great way to enter the field of healthcare and help others. Getting your Physical Therapist Assistant AAS can open doors for you in a range of settings, such as:
The PTA program at Arapahoe Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314; 703-706-3245; email: accreditation [at] apta [dot] org; website: www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 303 797-5897 or email pta [at] arapahoe [dot] edu
Getting Started in the PTA program
You can start the PTA program every fall, but you can begin taking general education courses in any semester. See our Program Information and Program Application for complete details. Acceptance into the PTA program is enhanced by work-related or volunteer/observation time in a PT clinic.
A Physical Therapist Assistant is:
- A health care provider working under the direction of a physical therapist
- Involved in the treatment of individuals with a variety of diagnoses whose ages can range from infants to the elderly
- Able to provide physical therapy services as specified in a care plan developed by a physical therapist
- Involved in modification of treatment programs, patient/family education and discharge planning
ACC is the perfect place to begin your PTA studies
- Cost effective, affordable tuition
- General education courses that will transfer to Colorado public four-year schools
- Experienced faculty including Physical Therapists and PTAs
- ACC Board pass rates are consistently higher than the national or state average
- Long-standing relationships with many clinical affiliation sites in Denver, Colorado and other states
- Nearly 30 years with an excellent graduate placement record
- Lab equipment and teaching technology continually updated
Visit the American Physical Therapy Association for more information about Physical Therapy and being a Physical Therapist Assistant.
Physical Therapist Assistant Club
Join PTA Club, a social and professional group for students interested in physical therapy, rehabilitation, and health and wellness.
For more information or to join the PTA Club, contact Ashley Vasquez at ashley [dot] vasquez [at] arapahoe [dot] edu.
ACC Graduation Rates
- 2019 - 89.5%
- 2018 – 89.5%
- 2017 – 85%
- 2016 – 88.9%
- 2015 – 85%
First Time NPTA Exam Pass Rate
- 2020 – 94%
- 2019 – 100%
- 2018 – 100%
- 2017 – 100%
- 2016 – 82%
- 2015 – 100%
Ultimate 2-year Board Pass Rate
- 2018-2019 - 100%
- 2017-2018 - 100%
- 2016-2017 – 92%
- 2015-2016 – 92%
Job Placement Rate
(Graduates employed as PTAs within six months of passing licensure exam)
- 2019 - 100%
- 2018 - 100%
- 2017 – 100%
- 2016 – 100%
- 2015 – 100%