Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical Therapist Assistant

This major helps prepare individuals to provide physical therapy services under the direction of a physical therapist in an ethical, safe and effective manner. Students develop knowledge and skills in data collection and the appropriate use of equipment and exercise associated with various physical therapy treatment modalities.

In order to accomplish these tasks, the major utilizes a combination of basic science and non-science course work coupled with courses specifically designed for the physical therapist assistant student. 

The size of each entering class is limited so that optimal clinical experiences and practical application situations can be maintained. Students are admitted into the program only during the fall semester and must progress through the program in the prescribed manner.

What is a Physical Therapist Assistant? 

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) work as part of a team providing physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

PTAs implement interventions outlined in the physical therapist’s plan of care, collect data related to interventions, and modify selected interventions to progress patients to meet their individual goals. Individual treatment goals are designed to reduce pain, restore function, improve mobility and prevent disability.

An Associate in Science Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant requires 5-semesters of study, including three full-time clinical practicums. The PTA Program prepares graduates to take a national examination for certification/licensure as a PTA.

You might like this major if...

You might like this major if you are interested in working with people of all ages who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTAs work under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist to provide meaningful interventions, such as exercise, training for walking and other activities, and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy.

Program accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant degree at Penn State Shenango campus 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: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 724-983-2856 or email jxm1100@psu.edu.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education 
The Pennsylvania State University is authorized to grant associate degrees, and the accreditation status granted by Middle States Commission on Higher Education includes such degrees. As detailed in the Statement of Accreditation Status, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education recognizes the U.S. Secretary of Education’s approval of the Commission Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education to accredit physical therapist assistant programs.