Sep 30, 2022  
BC3 Academic Catalog: 2016-2017 
BC3 Academic Catalog: 2016-2017 [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. The goal of the program is to graduate students who will be ready for employment as Physical Therapist Assistant, 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.

Program Competencies

The student/graduate will be able to:

  • Relate faulty postures with clinical findings.
  • Demonstrate effective communication with peers, PTA faculty, as well as mock patients, families/caregivers.
  • Adjust interventions according to the response and status of the patient.
  • Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE; licensing examination) after completion of the PTA curriculum.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Butler 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 Physical Therapist Assistant Program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

The graduation rates for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program for the previous three years of 2014, 2015, and 2016 were 65.4%, 73.9%, and 68% for an average graduation rate of 69.1%.

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 classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015 were 95.7%, 94.1%, 88.2% for an average passing rate of 92.7%.

Graduates who obtained any form of Physical Therapist Assistant employment within six months of licensure were considered to be employed. Employment rates for the classes of 2013, 2014, and 2015 were 95.2%, 92.3%, and 93.3% for an average employment rate of 93.6%.

Criteria for Admission

Admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program is selective. A special application packet, available from the Admissions Office, is required. The application packet may also be downloaded from the BC3 website  Applicants are urged to apply early, as there are a limited number of seats. Applications will be reviewed beginning in February until the class is filled. Priority is given to those received before May 15.  Completed applications are reviewed in the order they are received.

All applicants are considered equally regardless of race, color, disability, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or gender.

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.

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 G.E.D. Exam. High school seniors may apply.
  • High school course requirements for all applicants include the completion of the following with a “C” or better:
  • High School Biology or college level biology comparable to BIOL 101 High school Algebra or Algebra I comparable to MATH 091
  • 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. A passing grade is required in the Clinical Education courses.
  • Volunteer or work experience: All applicants are strongly encouraged to demonstrate a minimum of twenty (20) total hours of volunteer or work experience in two different PT settings (hospital, clinic, nursing home, etc.) and preferably more hours, prior to application.
  • As part of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program admissions packet, applicants will be required to submit two letters of recommendation, one of which must come from a licensed Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant.

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.

Special Requirements*

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director will meet with all accepted students for an orientation session.  Specific information will be given at that session.  Among other orientation 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.

*These are not admissions requirements.  Specific information about these requirements, including when they must be completed will be provided following acceptance to the program.

Physical Therapist Assistant course work must be taken in sequence indicated. All general education courses should be taken prior to the start of the third 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 7 Weeks (7)

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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