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Physical Therapist Assistant A.A.S.

The knowledge and experience you need to help patients regain functional skills.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Herkimer College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE),  3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call Dr. Karen S. Jones, program director, at 315-866-0300 ext. 8740 or email jonesks@herkimer.edu.

You may also contact Dr. Elizabeth Pogonowski, PT, DPT, Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education, at 315-866-0300 x8340 or pogonowem@herkimer.edu. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact Associate Dean William McDonald at 315-866-0300 ext. 8240 or email mcdonalwh@herkimer.edu.

The program is designed to prepare the student to be a skilled healthcare provider under the supervision of a Physical Therapist. 

Support for advertising of this program was provided by the Federal Carl D. Perkins grant administered by the NY State Education Department.

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Admissions Requirements

Admission into Herkimer’s PTA program is competitive and acceptance is selective.

To be considered for admission into the PTA program:

High school graduates:

  • Cumulative average of 80 or better AND
  • 80 or better in Biology/Living Environment (cumulative course grade or regents exam)
  • 75 or better in Chemistry and/or Physics and/or another relative science course (cumulative course grade or regents exam)
  • 75 or better average in the high school Math sequence

Out of state students or home school students who have no regents, the following SAT or ACT scores will be used for eligibility:

Cumulative average of 80 or better AND:

  • SAT score of 1080 or above (minimum of 500 or more required on math portion)
  • ACT composite score of 21 or higher

Transfer students:

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better AND:
  • C or better in any college-level math
  • B or better in A&P I


  • C or better in A&P I AND B or better in high school or College Biology AND C or better in high school or college chemistry and/or physics


Additional requirements

  • A&P I and II may be used to satisfy admission requirements. It can also fulfill requirements for graduation if it is taken within 5 years of matriculation
  • All students entering the Physical Therapist Assistant program are required to have completed a 15-hour clinical observation upon acceptance prior to the start of the first semester.
  • Please note: To be eligible to sit for the National Board Examination for licensure as a Physical Therapist Assistant, you must be a US citizen.
  • In order to transfer Anatomy and Physiology I or Anatomy and Physiology II to Herkimer, the topics covered must match the topics covered in Herkimer’s course verbatim. If the topics are not verbatim, the course cannot be transferred. It is recommended that if you take A&P at another institution you take both I and II to ensure complete topic coverage.

Should you not meet the specific requirements above, applicants may be reviewed on an individual basis for eligibility.


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, the large baby boomer population who will in the future require disease related rehabilitation, growth in the number of individuals with disabilities or limited function, and the improved survival for trauma victims due to developing medical science.


Program Philosophy

The Herkimer College Physical Therapist Assistant program prepares students to enter the healthcare workforce as a Physical Therapist Assistant with an Associate 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 student’s 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 postgraduate professional education, thereby supporting the overall mission of Herkimer College.


Clinical Education

Clinical education is a key component of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Herkimer College. 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 outpatient setting, skilled nursing facility, or other areas of interest.

Clinical fieldwork assignments usually involve a 40-hour workweek for the duration of the experience. The final affiliation is scheduled only after all other coursework 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 by Herkimer 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 Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). 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. Applicants must be aware that New York State requires an applicant to have “good moral character” as defined by the NYS Education Department. If anyone has any doubts about their moral character, they should contact the Office of Professions for Physical Therapy (NYSED.gov ) before applying to or entering the program. Additional background checking and drug screening may be required depending on the area of clinical fieldwork or practice.


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 Herkimer 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 consist of both theoretical and practical knowledge, but emphasize 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 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 they 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 Herkimer College 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, outpatient 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.
  • Lifelong 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. Pass Rate on Boards

Class 2021:
First time: 94.4%
Ultimate: 94.4%

Class 2020:
First time: 86.7%
Ultimate: 93.3%

Class 2019:
First time: 90.5%
Ultimate: 100%

2 year pass rate 2020-2021: 93.85%
2 year pass rate 2019-2020: 96.65%

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

Class of 2021: 100% were employed within 6 months of graduation

2 year employment rate 2020-2021: 100%
2 year employment rate 2019-2020: 100%

3. Program Retention/Graduation Rate

(Using the method of calculation adopted by CAPTE per website).

2 year retention/graduation rate average from 2019-2020 is 94.4%
2 year retention/graduation rate average from 2018-2019 is 90.6%

Date of Graduation

Class of 2021 graduated 85.7%
Class of 2020 graduated 93.3%
Class of 2019 graduated 95.5%

4. Employer Satisfaction Survey Class of 2021

Category Category Results
Safety competency 100%
PT intervention delivery 100%
Documentations skills 100%
Data collection skills 100%
All aspects of communication 100%
Critical thinking, problem solving and integration of skills and procedures learned from classroom to clinical site 100%
Professional behavior, ethical behavior, interpersonal skills and time management skills 100%
Cultural competence 100%
Participate in professional continuing education 100%
Competent in computer and other current technology as it relates to the Physical Therapy environment 100%

Herkimer County Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, marital status, disability or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law in admissions, employment or in any aspect regarding the conduct of College business.


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
  • Reach 100 Web Button 2015 Silver
  • Platinum Reach100 Web Button
  • Reach100 WebButton2017 Platinum


States for which licensure or certification requirements are met by the program’s curriculum: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, DC, FL, GA, ID, KY, LA, MD, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, TX, UT, WI, WY
States for which the institution has not made a determination as to whether the program’s curriculum does or does not met licensure or certification requirements: CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, IN, IA, KS, ME, MA, MN, NY, OK, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, VT, VI, WA, WV


Cost & Financial Aid

Herkimer College offers a quality and affordable educational experience. Learn about our cost of attendance and financial aid.

Support for advertising of this program was provided by the Federal Carl D. Perkins grant administered by the NY State Education Department.

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Prior Felony Disclaimer

Enrollment of Individuals with Prior Criminal History

Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of this program. For more information, read the Policy Regarding Enrollment of Individuals with Prior Felony Conviction.