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Physical Therapist Assistant

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    ARE YOU READY FOR A JOB AS A

    PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT?
    Associate in Applied Science (AAS)
  • Overview

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    Associate in Applied Science Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant is a 68-credit-hour program that prepares students for careers in physical therapy. Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs help individuals of all ages who are ill, injured or have a health condition that limits their ability to perform daily activities needed for life. PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient centers, home health, schools, work settings, and the sports and fitness arenas. Care provided by a PTA may include teaching patients/clients exercises for mobility, strength and coordination, training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes or walkers, massage, and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation. PTAs must complete a 2-year associate’s degree and are licensed, certified, or registered in most states.

    Source: American Physical Therapy Association

    The physical therapist assistant program at STLCC-Meramec requires two full academic years and the intervening summer. Students will take general education and the related science courses in the first year; in the fall of that year, they will also take the first PTA course.

    Students who have already completed the related courses may not need to be full-time students the first year. However, the second year of the program is a full academic concentration of PTA courses, some of which involve full-time clinical work.

    Clinical and Fieldwork
    Some degree and certificate programs offered by the College require students to obtain clinical or other field experience as part of their course work. Students with criminal convictions or drug use may have difficulty progressing in these programs. Hospitals and facilities may mandate that a criminal background check and/or drug screening check (at the student’s expense) be conducted prior to placement in a clinical or field setting. Students not passing these checks may be prohibited from participating in the clinical or field experience thus rendering the student ineligible to satisfactorily meet the course/program requirements. Students contact an academic advisor or the program coordinator for further details.

    The Physical Therapist Assistant Program is offered at the Meramec campus. The office is located in Applied Science, room 109.

    Contact Information
    To inquire or apply to the program contact a PTA academic advisor:
    314-984-7526, MCAdvise@stlcc.edu

    Accreditation
    The Physical Therapist Assistant program at St. Louis 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: accreditation@apta.org; website:www.capteonline.org.

    Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone; 703-706-3245; accreditation@apta.org is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in most states.

    The following are student outcomes for the Physical Therapist Assistant program graduates.

    PTA STUDENT OUTCOMES
    Three Year Average Graduation Rate Ultimate Licensure Pass Rate Employment Rate at six months post graduation
    2011 68.8% 100% 95%
    2012 78.1% 100% 100%
    2013 74.2% 100% 91%
  • Career Opportunities

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    Job Resources

    • For information on the job outlook in the physical therapist assistant profession, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and search specific job titles. Also available: information on median pay, entry-level education, number of jobs and more.
    • For specific real-time information on wages and job prospects in the STLCC region, visit STLCC Career Coach.
  • Faculty

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    Julie High, M.S., P.T.
    Professor, Program Coordinator
    Phone: 314-984-7385
    E-mail: jhigh@stlcc.edu
    Christie Cohoon, P.T., D.P.T.
    Associate Professor
    Phone: 314-984-7591
    E-mail: ccohoon1@stlcc.edu
  • Program Curriculum

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    Physical Therapist Assistant (AAS) 68 Credits

    Program total 68 credits
    I. Career General Education 29 credits
    ENG:100 Career English (or)
    ENG:101 College Composition I 3
    COM:101 Oral Communication I 3
    PSY:200 General Psychology 3
    PSY:205 Human Growth and Development (or)
    PSY:203 Child Psychology 3
    SOC:201 Aspects of Aging 3
    XXX:xxx Missouri State Requirement 3
    BIO:207 Anatomy and Physiology I 4
    BIO:208 Anatomy and Physiology II 4
    BIO:209 Kinesiology 3
    II. Physical Education Activity 2 credits
    III. Area of Concentration 37 credits
    PTA:100 Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant 2
    PTA:104 Clinical Experience I 2
    PTA:105 Fundamentals of Physical Therapist Assistant 4
    PTA:208 Health Occupation Seminar 2
    PTA:211 Physical Agents 3
    PTA:212 Therapeutic Exercise and Rehabilitation Concepts I 7
    PTA:213 Therapeutic Exercise and Rehabilitation Concepts II 2
    PTA:214 Data Collection and Intervention Techniques for the PTA 4
    PTA:215 Medical Conditions in Rehabilitation 3
    PTA:216 Clinical Education IIA 4
    PTA:217 Clinical Education IIB 4
    Recommended Academic Plan (AAS) Check the Recommended Academic Plan, or RAP, for the suggested semester-by-semester course schedule. This map is designed to help keep you on track for a timely graduation.
  • Resources
  • Additional Information

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    FAQ’s

    What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

    Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) engage in a variety of activities. The primary responsibility of a PTA is to assist Physical Therapists (PTs) in providing physical therapy interventions. This may include a variety of duties ranging from helping patients perform exercises which increase strength and mobility to assisting in everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs and dressing.

    What type of licensure will I receive?

    Individuals who complete the Associate in Applied Science degree in Physical Therapist Assistant are eligible to sit for the national licensure test.

    Is the Physical Therapist Assistant program accredited?

    Yes, by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

    What are the prerequisite requirements?

    The PTA program has selective admission requirements. To be considered for the program, students must have a complete file. Check with the program chair or an academic adviser for a complete list of prerequisite courses.

    What salary should I expect as a Physical Therapist Assistant?

    The entry level wage in the St. Louis region is $19.95/hr, $37K/yr.

    Where do students complete their required clinical hours and how many hours are required?

    The PTA program has clinical contracts with many facilities in the St. Louis area, as well as facilities throughout Missouri. In addition, we also have contracts in Illinois and other surrounding states. Our contracts include hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient facilities and schools. There are three different clinical courses in the last year of the program for a total of 15 weeks. All clinical assignments are full-time, 40 hours per week.

    Note: Hospitals and facilities may mandate that a criminal background check and/or drug screening check (at the student’s expense) be conducted prior to placement in a clinical or field setting. Students not passing these checks may be prohibited from participating in the clinical or field experience, thus rendering the student ineligible to satisfactorily meet the course/program requirements.

    If I complete the Physical Therapist Assistant Associate in Applied Science degree, can I then transfer that to a Physical Therapy degree?

    The AAS in Physical Therapist Assistant is not equivalent to the first two years of a doctoral degree in Physical Therapy.

    When are the courses offered?

    The PTA program is a full-time day program. Each year, 32 students are accepted into the fall semester. The first year of study consists mainly of liberal arts coursework with PTA:100 Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant offered in the fall semester, and PTA:214 Assessment Skills offered in the spring semester. The summer immediately following the first year, students will continue into PTA:105 Fundamentals of Physical Therapist Assistant. The second year of the program consists solely of PTA courses.

    Where do graduates find jobs?

    Graduates of this program are employed in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities and schools. Duties may vary depending upon the type of institution and the number of therapists and assistants employed.

    What is the difference between an athletic trainer and a physical therapist assistant?

    Athletic Trainers
    Education – a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from a CAAHEP-accredited program is the current entry-level requirement.  Students will need to sit for a national licensing exam in the state of Missouri.

    Job Market — the Bureau of Labor Statistics comments on athletic training job market, projected job growth and salaries.

    Job Conditions — athletic trainers work under the direction of a physician and are involved in daily communications with coaches, athletes, parents, athletic administrators and other health care professionals. They assist athletes with the psychology of injury. They frequently work weekends and evening hours due to sideline work at games and to accommodate work/school and practice schedules of athletes.

    Resource: National Athletic Trainers Association

    Seeing Athletes as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
    Education – a PTA must graduate from an accredited program with a minimum AAS degree and pass the PTA licensure exam before practicing as a licensed PTA in the state of Missouri.

    How do PTAs interact with athletic patients?

    A PTA license allows you to work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist and see many kinds of patients, including athletes, although you are ethically obligated to make sure you have adequate knowledge in athletics.

    Job conditions for PT
    Most athletes are treated by PTs. PTAs can work with athletes under the direction and supervision of the PT. Most athletes are seen for therapy in outpatient facilities. You may find that you have to work some early morning or early evening hours to accommodate patients who are working or attending school. If you are a new employee, you may work more early morning or evening hours if your clinic assigns these times to people with low seniority.

    Job market – the Bureau of Labor Statistics comments on the physical therapy job market, job growth and salaries.

    Resource: American Physical Therapy Association

    Location

    The Physical Therapist Assistant program is offered at our Meramec campus. Students may take general education classes toward this degree at any of our four campuses, our five education centers, and online.

     

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