May 24, 2024  
BC3 Academic Catalog: 2020-2021 
BC3 Academic Catalog: 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapist Assistant, A.A.S.

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Physical Therapist Assistant (215)
Associate in Applied Science Degree

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at BC3 is an academically-based program that prepares the graduate for employment in the role of a Physical Therapist Assistant and as a member of the health care team acting ethically and effectively under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist. The Physical Therapist Assistant carries out the treatment for the patient which has been designed by the Physical Therapist, documents the relevant aspects of the treatment, and communicates any changes in the patient’s condition which requires the Physical Therapist to reassess the patient’s treatment program. The Physical Therapist Assistant program includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components.

Employment is available in a variety of structured health care settings including hospitals, private practices, nursing homes, school settings, rehabilitation, and home health settings.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Butler County Community College is fully 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 graduation rates for the Physical Therapist Assistant program for the most recent years were 73.1% for 2020, 50%, for 2019, and 92% for 2018.  The cumulative rate for the past two years is 62.6%.

Graduates are required to pass a licensing examination in order to practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant.  The licensing examination (National Physical Therapy Examination, or NPTE, for PTA’s) passing rates for the most recent years were 88.9% for 2019 (which was both the first-time pass rate and the ultimate pass rate), 91.3% for 2018 (which was both the first-time pass rate and the ultimate pass rate), and for 2017 the first-time pass rate was 93.4% and the ultimate pass rate was 100%.  The cumulative ultimate pass rate for the past two years is 90.1%.

Graduates who obtained any form of Physical Therapist Assistant employment within one year were considered to be employed.  Employment rates for the most recent years were 75% for 2019, 95.5% for 2018, and 100% for 2017.  The cumulative employment rate for the past two years is 85%.

Criteria for Admission

Admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program is selective requiring a special application packet available in the Admissions Office or online at in January for the following fall semester.  Applicants are urged to apply early, as there are a limited number of seats. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

All applicants are considered equally regardless of race, color, disability, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, handicap or disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, family status, or other classification protected by applicable law.

Licensure or certification may be required to practice in some states. In Pennsylvania, Physical Therapist Assistants must successfully pass the state examination to become registered to practice under the supervision of a Physical Therapist.

At the time of application for certification, the State Board of PT also requires reporting of misdemeanors and illegal acts associated with alcohol and substance abuse. The State Board determines the eligibility of individuals with a history of misdemeanors and illegal acts to practice as Physical Therapist Assistant in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Physical Therapist Assistant  Admissions Committee assumes the responsibility to review the data of all applicants and has the right to select the best-qualified individuals.

A. Basic Requirements

  • High school diploma from an accredited secondary school program, or successful completion of the GED/HiSET. Exam. High school seniors may apply.
  • 2.80 GPA or better from high school or college of most recent attendance if 12+ college level credits were completed there.
  • High school Biology or college level Biology comparable to BIOL 101: Biology 1.
  • High school Algebra or Algebra I comparable to MATH 090: Developmental Algebra or MATH 091: Prep Algebra.
  • Courses not taken in high school must be taken at BC3 or at another college.
  • Applicants must have a grade of “C” or better in all courses required in the Physical Therapist Assistant curriculum for acceptance and continuation. A passing grade is required in the Clinical Education courses.
  • Volunteer or work experience: All applicants are required to demonstrate a minimum of 20 total hours of volunteer or work experience in preferably two different PT settings (hospital, clinic, nursing home, etc.) as part of the application process.
  • Applicants will be required to submit two letters of recommendation, one of which must come from a licensed Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant and the other a Teacher or Employer
  • BIOL 131: A&P 1 and BIOL 132: A&P 2 are strongly encouraged at the college level prior to acceptance.

B. College

Applicants must have a Cumulative College GPA of 2.8 or better in order to be accepted into the Physical Therapist Assistant program. Grades of “C” or better in all Physical Therapist Assistant courses are required for acceptance and continuation in the program.

Special Requirements Upon Acceptance

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director will meet with all accepted students for an orientation session. Among other information, Physical Therapist Assistant Students will be advised that they will be required to:

  1. Be certified in the American Heart Association: Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers.
  2. Provide proof of personal health insurance coverage.
  3. Malpractice liability insurance (paid with tuition).
  4. Have a satisfactory annual physical examination, including ability to meet physical requirements and proof of required immunizations.
  5. Submit Act 34/151 clearances (Pennsylvania Criminal History Record and Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance). Students with criminal and/or child abuse backgrounds may not be permitted to engage in clinical affiliations, and therefore may not be eligible for program completion, licensure or employment. Some clinical sites require additional urine drug screening. Students with positive drug screen findings may not be permitted to engage in clinical affiliations, and therefore may not be eligible for program completion, licensure, or employment.
  6. Assume all responsibilities for all transportation to and from the College as well as clinical facilities to which they are assigned.

Physical Therapist Assistant course work must be taken in sequence indicated. All general education courses should be taken prior to the start of the fourth semester.


Minimum - 70 credits

First Semester - Fall Session (18/19)

Third Semester - Summer Session (7)

Fourth Semester - Fall Session, First 11 Weeks (10)

Fourth Semester - Fall Session, Last 5 Weeks (4)

Fifth Semester - Spring Session, First 8 Weeks (8)

Fifth Semester - Spring Session, Last 8 Weeks (6)


1 Must be taken before or with PTA Procedures I (PTAP 121) and PTA Seminar I (PTAP 101).

2 College Mathematics I or II, Statistics, or Calculus, may be substituted.

3 Course that can be taken in advance of acceptance into the PTA Program, as a General Studies Student.

4 19 Credits requires approval of PTA Program Director and Vice President of Academic Affairs.

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