Physical Therapist Assistant

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    Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

    Prepare for the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy exam—STLCC students have an excellent pass rate.

    We offer a variety of clinical experiences—from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities to pediatrics.

    Fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education.

  • The STLCC Advantage


    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:; website:

    Graduation from an accredited Physical Therapist Assistant education program is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination.

    Licensure: Upon completion of this program students earn an Associate in Applied Science degree and are eligible to sit for the national licensure examination for the physical therapist assistant administered by the FSBPT (Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy). Licensure is required in Missouri and most other states.

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

    Year 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%

    Clinical experience: The program includes 15 weeks of full-time clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant:

    • STLCC has clinical contracts with many facilities in the St. Louis area, as well as throughout Missouri, 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.

    Small class size: Each year 32 students who meet the application requirements are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Faculty: STLCC has been graduating physical therapist assistants since 1986 and maintains an excellent reputation, with a high percentage of credentialed academic and clinical faculty members.

    Credits that transfer: STLCC’s Physical Therapist Assistant program has established an articulation agreement with Maryville University for the benefit of students who wish to continue their education and earn a Bachelor of Arts in Practice Management, or a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership.

    To find out if STLCC is right for you, we invite you to visit. You can meet with one of our faculty members, tour the campus, and get answers to any questions you might have. Click Here

  • Career Opportunities


    • Rehabilitation Centers
    • Schools
    • Hospitals
    • Sport and Fitness Facilities
    • Outpatient Facilities
    • Nursing Homes

    Job Resources:

    • For information on the job outlook, median pay, entry-level education, number of jobs and more, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    • To learn about the top openings in specific cities across Missouri visit the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.
    • For specific real-time information on wages and job prospects in the STLCC region, visit STLCC Career Coach.
    • STLCC Career and Employment Services (CES): On each campus CES offices provide services and resources to assist students and alumni in finding full-time or part-time, on-campus or off-campus, internship or co-op, permanent, seasonal or temporary employment. CES also assists employers who are looking for qualified applicants. Click Here
  • Estimated Expenses and Financial Aid

    • St. Louis Community College provides a comprehensive financial aid program funded by federal, state and private agencies. READ MORE
    • STLCC provides a Net Price Calculator to help students estimate costs. READ MORE
    • For information on STLCC Scholarships READ MORE.
    • For this program you’ll need to purchase health insurance. Specific clothing may be required in special clinical settings. Hospitals and other facilities require a criminal background check and/or drug screening (at the student’s expense) prior to placement in a clinical or field setting.
    • FAFSA Apply online
  • Faculty


    Julie High, M.S., P.T.
    Phone: 314-984-7385
    Christie Cohoon, P.T., D.P.T., O.C.S.
    Phone: 314-984-7591
  • Program Curriculum


    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 Patient Care for the PTA 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

    STLCC’s Physical Therapist Assistant program is a selective admission, college-level program:

    • The curriculum 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.

    Get started: If you’re considering applying to the PTA program we advise that you attend an Allied Health Advising Session to learn more about the pathway to this rewarding career. To register:

    Please note:

    • Hospitals and other health facilities used as clinical sites for the PTA program require a criminal background check and drug screen. Should the background check reveal prior felony criminal convictions, the facility will be contacted to determine if the individual will be disqualified. If the drug screen is positive, the individual will not be permitted to participate in any clinical rotation.
    • Credits earned in STLCC’s Physical Therapist Assistant AAS program generally do not transfer to Physical Therapy degree programs. The curriculum for a PTA degree is distinctly different from the curriculum for a PT degree.

    We invite you to meet with an STLCC advisor for one-on-one help in planning your pathway to this rewarding career. Click Here

  • Additional Information


    STLCC’s Physical Therapist Assistant Advisory Board: Made up of PTs, PTAs, and industry partners.  The board provides feedback and advice on skills and educational needs from an employer perspective, and helps keep the STLCC PTA program current with industry trends.

    APTA: STLCC faculty members belong to the APTA and adhere to its professional standards and ethical guidelines.

    Industry resources:

    American Physical Therapy Association

    Missouri Physical Therapy Association


    What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

    PTAs assist Physical Therapists (PTs) in providing physical therapy interventions. This often includes helping patients perform exercises in order to increase strength and mobility, and enabling patients to perform everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs and dressing.

    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 an academic advisor for a complete list of prerequisite courses.

    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 mandate that a criminal background check and drug screening check (at the student’s expense) be conducted prior to placement in a clinical setting. Students not passing these checks are prohibited from participating in the clinical 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.

    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 Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy  (FSBPT) national licensure exam.

    Is there a waiting list for the program?

    Currently, yes.  In order to facilitate the entry of students in the available spaces, a waiting list is used.  A student is placed on the waiting list once program application prerequisites have been met and a program application has been submitted.  Placement on the waiting list is based solely on the date of application.  Students will be sent a letter each fall while on the list asking for their intentions to pursue admission to the program.  Failure to respond to this letter by the deadline will result in removal from the list.  Letters will be sent in the spring to those being offered admission to the program in the fall semester.  All those receiving letters must attend a mandatory program orientation in May.

    What should I do if my address or phone number changes while I’m on the waiting list?

    Contact information must be current.  Notify Advising immediately and update your information in Banner.  Not being able to contact you will result in removal from the waiting list and jeopardize admission to the program.

    How do I arrange for the required observation hours and where should I go?

    All program applicants must provide documentation of a minimum of 20 hours of observation, 10 of which must be in a hospital and 10 at any facility of your choice.  The completed observation documentation form must be submitted at the start of the first PTA course.  Students arrange this on their own by contacting the human resources department of the hospital of their choice.

    Can I work while attending the program?

    The Physical Therapist Assistant program is demanding and requires a significant time commitment.  You will need to set aside two to three hours of study time for each hour you are in class.  Working more than 20 hours per week is discouraged, since this heavy workload may be detrimental to your academic and clinical success in the program.


    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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