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Physical Therapist Assistant A.A.S.

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The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Herkimer County Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website: The program is designed to prepare the student to be a skilled health care provider who works under the supervision of a Physical Therapist.

The Physical Therapist Assistant curriculum gives the student a science and physical therapy technical foundation as it applies to the Physical Therapist Assistant. The student has both lecture and labs on campus and clinical education at participating clinical facilities.

You can work as a skilled health care technician under the supervision of a physical therapist with a degree in Physical Therapist Assistant. This dynamic hands-on profession helps patients preserve, develop and restore optimal function.

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Admissions Requirements

Admissions to the PTA program are competitive. Students possessing minimal requirements are invited to apply but are not guaranteed admission to the program.

Minimal Entrance requirements for PTA program

1. High school graduates must have:

  • average of 80% or higher
  • 80% or higher in Regents Biology
  • 75% or higher in their mathematics sequence
  • 75% or better in chemistry or physics
  • 15 hour clinical observation
  • 2 letters of reference
  • Completed questionnaire

2. Transfer students have two admission tracks

Admission Track 1:

  • The applicant must have a GPA of 3.0
  • B or better in college biology or a C or better in Anatomy & Physiology I
  • C or better in college mathematics
  • C or better in chemistry or physics
  • 15 hour clinical observation
  • 2 letters of reference
  • Completed questionnaire

Admission Track 2:

  • The applicant must have a GPA of 3.0
  • B or higher in Anatomy & Physiology I (all other science requirements are waived)
  • C or better in college mathematics
  • 15 hour clinical observation
  • 2 letters of reference
  • Completed questionnaire

Job Outlook

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of physical therapist assistants is expected to grow at a much faster rate than the average job through the year 2022. This increased demand results from the rapidly growing elderly population, large baby boomer population who will in the future require disease related rehabilitation, growth in the number of individuals with disabilities or limited function plus the improved survival for trauma victims due to developing medical science. For further information on the job outlook report please reference:

Learn more about the Physical Therapy Assistant Program

Program Philosophy

HCCC Physical Therapist Assistant program prepares students to enter the healthcare workforce as a Physical Therapist Assistant with an Associate’s in Applied Science Degree. The program strives to provide our students with a quality education that promotes professional healthcare practices, while maintaining established guidelines for clinical practice as outlined by the APTA and which emphasizes ongoing post-graduation professional education. The program seeks to increase each students potential through informal student-faculty exchange and interactions with additional learning and service opportunities sponsored by the Physical Therapist Assistant Club.


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program will, by offering students an affordable, quality education, provide local and regional areas with competent, professional, employable, healthcare providers. The PTA is trained, under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist, to approach a diversity of health related conditions in a manner that follows established guidelines for practice as outlined by the APTA. The PTA program emphasizes ongoing post-graduate professional education, thereby supporting the overall mission of HCCC.

Clinical Education

Clinical education is a key component of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at HCCC. During the course of the two-year program, students will complete two full-time supervised five-week clinical fieldwork experiences and one full-time supervised six-week clinical fieldwork experience. The student has at least one rotation in an acute care hospital, sub-acute or rehabilitation hospital. The student has two other clinical experiences which may include a pediatric setting, private practice out-patient setting, skilled nursing facility or other area of interest.

Clinical fieldwork assignments usually involve a 40 hour work week for the duration of the experience. The final affiliation is scheduled only after all other course work has been completed satisfactorily. Due to the limited availability of local clinical sites, students enrolled in the Physical Therapist Assistant program must be prepared to travel to participating facilities regardless of the location. No guarantee of local placement can be made. Students will be required to meet their own living and travel needs during all fieldwork assignments.

Fieldwork sites require compliance with New York State Health Department and pertinent OSHA regulations. This means that a physical examination with evidence of required immunizations is required for each student prior to admission to the program, and the physical must be updated annually and be current for the duration of each clinical. Each student is responsible for providing individual health insurance prior to each clinical fieldwork. Personal liability and malpractice insurance protection, in the amount of $1 million coverage per occurrence, is arranged for by the college for each clinical affiliation and is paid by the student in special program fees. Each student must provide evidence of up-to-date CPR and First Aid certifications prior to every clinical affiliation.

Requirements for Certification

Program graduates must sit for the National Physical Therapist Assistant Licensing Examination which is administered by the Professional Examination Service. Upon successful completion of the classroom component, clinical fieldwork component and passing the National Physical Therapist Assistant Licensing Examination, the student is eligible to apply to the State of New York for certification as a Physical Therapist Assistant.

What makes a successful Physical Therapist Assistant student?

Successful Physical Therapist Assistant students focus on their academic preparation. Allied Health programs, by the nature of the heavy science and professional emphasis, are among the toughest programs at the College, requiring increased study and dedication over other programs. The demands placed upon Physical Therapist Assistant students in the academic and practical portions of the program, and later in clinical settings, make good physical and mental health essential. Areas of study consists of both theoretical and practical knowledge, but emphasizes the practical applications. After graduation, graduates will take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Licensing Exam. The student must realize that the board examination will test in all aspects of their education. Successful completion of the Herkimer County Community College curriculum and the National Physical Therapist Assistant Licensing Exam makes the graduate eligible to be certified by the NYS Board of Education as a Physical Therapist Assistant.

Special PTA Program Requirements

A student in the PTA curriculum must pass all PT courses with a “C+” or better, SC courses with a “C” or better and pass all PTA lab practical examinations with a “B” or better to continue in this program. Each student must demonstrate professional behavior in class, lab and clinical settings. A student must demonstrate discernable progress toward the achievement of a degree in this program. A student previously enrolled in, and dropped from the program, who has successfully completed readmission requirements may be readmitted one time.

Skill Requirements

Students interested in pursuing a career as a physical therapist assistant are encouraged to “look into a mirror” to see if you have the necessary abilities to perform the work of a PTA with or without accommodations.

Essential functions for a PTA.

Special Application Procedures

Applicants to the Physical Therapist Assistant program will be notified by mail of special application procedures and retention requirements.

Program Goals

Having met all of the New York State and college requirements, the HCCC PTA program graduate:

1. demonstrates a sound theoretical and practical knowledge base for physical therapy
2. demonstrates competence with the computer and other current technology as it relates to the Physical Therapy environment.
3. demonstrates the skills and abilities to safely practice in the field of physical therapy
4. utilizes the skills to apply scientific principles as a means to treat or prevent disability, injury or disease
5. practices with integrity and adherence to ethical principles
6. practices with respect and sensitivity for individual differences
7. demonstrates the ability to use the problem solving process of physical therapy in dealing with a variety of patients/clients
8. demonstrates the ability to carry out patient care functions in a timely, cost efficient manner under the supervision of the physical therapist
9. seeks new knowledge through continuing education
10. fulfills a need in the marketplace

Download the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Handbook

Program Assessments

  • Graduation: At least 60% of students entering the program will graduate from the PTA program within 2-3 years.
  • Experience: 100% of program graduates will have had a variety of clinical experiences. One clinical experience will include an acute care experience, subacute experience or rehabilitation experience. The other clinical experiences may include, but will not be limited to, out-patient orthopedics, pediatric, geriatric and developmental disabilities.
  • Professional Behavior: At least 85% of employers will rate graduates as average or above average in professional behavior, ethical behavior, interpersonal skills and time management skills and at least 50% of program graduates will maintain APTA membership.
  • Life Long Learning: At least 85% of graduates will participate in professional continuing education.
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Integration of Skills and Procedures Learned in all Coursework: At least 85% of employers will rate graduates as average to above average in critical thinking, problem solving and integration of skills and procedures learned from classroom to clinical site.
  • Communication Skills: At least 85% of employers will rate graduates as average to above average in all aspects of communication.
  • Documentation Skills: At least 85% of employers will rate graduates as average to above average in documentation skills.
  • Cultural Competence: At least 85% of employers will rate graduates as average to above average in cultural competency.
  • Physical Therapy Technical Competence: At least 85% of employers will rate graduates as average to above average in PT intervention delivery and data collection.
  • Safety: 100% of employers will rate graduates as average to above average in meeting safety competency.
  • Performance on the FSBPT Licensing Examination: Over any two year period, graduates will achieve an average pass rate of 85% on the FSBPT licensing examination.
  • Employment Rate: 100% of graduates seeking employment will be employed within 1 year of graduation.
  • Technology Competence: At least 85% of employers will rate graduates as competent in computer and other current technology as it relates to the Physical Therapy environment.

Current Program Outcomes

1. Class of 2014

Licensing examination: 100% of graduates taking exam passed the Physical Therapy board (NPTE) in July. Two graduates did not take the exam.

2. Pass Rate on Boards (Pass rate as of 11/7/14)

Class of 2014: 90%
Class of 2013: 100%
Class of 2012: 100%

2 year pass rate 2013 – 2014: 95%

3 year pass rate 2012 - 2013: 100%

3. Employment (of those actively seeking a job were offered a job within 6 months of passing the boards)

2 year employment rate 2013 - 2014: 100%
2 year employment rate 2012 - 2013: 100%
2 year employment rate 2011 - 2012: 100%

4. Program Retention/Graduation Rate

(This includes students graduating in 2 years with entering class or in 3 years with next class).

The two-year retention/graduation rate average from 2013-2014 is 58%
The two-year retention/graduation rate average from 2012-2013 is 48%

Class of 2014: cohort 2012 matriculated 29, graduated 19 (19 in 2 years)
Class of 2013: cohort 2011 matriculated 28, graduated 14 (13 in 2 years, 1 in 3 years)
Class of 2012: cohort 2010 matriculated 36, graduated 17 (15 in 2 years, 2 in 3 years)


Course Catalog

View our program course requirements as published in the College Catalog: Physical Therapist Assistant A.A.S.

Career Opportunities

The PTA may perform physical therapy interventions and related tasks that have been selected and delegated by the supervising physical therapist. Such duties may include active or passive exercise, physical agents for pain relief and healing, instruction in the use of assistive devices for walking, hydrotherapy, wound care, prevention, wellness, and much more. Where permitted by law the PTA may also carry out routine operational functions such as supervising the PT aide and documentation of progress.

The PTA works in hospitals, private practices, community health centers, corporate or industrial health centers, sports facilities, research institutions, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, schools, pediatric centers, and colleges and universities. PTA’s generally work 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday, with some settings having weekend or evening hours as well.

For further information about physical therapy and the role of the Physical Therapist Assistant, please see the following web pages:

 apta gold membership Reach 100 Web Button Platinum 

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