Physical Therapist Assistant (A.A.S.)

Physical therapist assistants have a rewarding opportunity to make a positive difference in the quality of people’s lives. Their work involves extensive contact with both patients and other health care professionals. Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of a physical therapist in implementing treatment programs specific to the plan of care. Physical therapist assistants work in hospitals, private physical therapy offices, community health centers, corporate or industrial health centers, sport facilities, research institutions, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, schools, pediatric centers, colleges, and universities. The Physical Therapist Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE); rules and regulations regarding accreditation can be found on their website:  http://www.capteonline.org/AccreditationHandbook.

Learn more about the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Essex County College.

Contact Information

Christine Stutz-Doyle, PT, DPT, PhD
Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director
Division of Health Sciences
303 University Ave.
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: 973.877.3456


The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at Essex County College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapist Education (CAPTE),

1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314
telephone: 703-706-3245
email: accreditation@apta.org
website: http://www.capteonline.org 


If you have questions regarding the program, please call (973) 877-3375 or email ptapro@essex.edu and a faculty member will respond to you directly.

Fall 2019: Classes will begin soon!

Explore Courses

About this A.A.S. in Physical Therapist Assistant degree

Are there any requirements I must satisfy before I start taking courses in my major?

All students – even transfer students – should apply to the College as a General Science (curriculum code: 0603) student first before applying for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Admission into the professional component of the program is very competitive. Completion of prerequisites and the submission of an application do not automatically guarantee admission. Transcripts from other institutions must be evaluated and accepted by ECC Enrollment Services prior to review of the PTA program application. The strict application deadline is March 15 for enrollment in the following fall semester.

Admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program is a highly competitive and merit-based process and includes some minimal basic standards that must be met in order for an applicant to be considered for admission. These standards are as follows:

  • Completion of all remedial and/or ESL courses as indicated by the college placement test.
  • Completion of all pre-requisite courses with a grade of “C” or higher. Only two of the three pre-requisites may be repeated to achieve this grade. Each course may only be repeated once. The three pre-requisites courses are: BIO 121 Anatomy and Physiology I (4 credits), ENG 101 College Composition I (3 credits), and PSY 101 General Psychology I: Personality & Social Aspects (3 credits)
  • The student must have a college GPA of 2.5 or higher in those courses required by the PTA program. Note: Grades in co-requisite general education courses completed prior to admission will also be applied to establish the applicants’ GPA.
  • Submission of a program application to the Division of Allied Health (application are accepted from January 1st through March 15th of each calendar year).
  • Completion and documentation of 50 required volunteer or work hours in a physical therapy department or facility by the March 15th application deadline.
  • Completion of the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) with a minimum score of 50. Note: The TEAS may only be taken once per application and a passing score does not guarantee admission to the program.Students should not register to take the TEAS until all other application requirements listed above have been met.

The merit-based admissions process works as follows, when the above minimum qualifications have been met:

TEAS Score Points Awarded
91-100 4
86-90 3.5
81-85 3
76-80 2.5
71-75 2
66-70 1.5
61-65 1
50-60 0

Program applicants are ranked according to their Total Admission Score (TAS), with the top 30 applicants being offered admission.  The TAS is calculated by adding points for TEAS scores to the applicants’ GPA in courses required by the program.

E.g. Applicants GPA is 3.0, TEAS score is 73. TAS is 5 (3.0 GPA+ 2 points from TEAS).

Note: Students are responsible for the accuracy of information they provide on their program admissions application.

How long will it take for me to complete this degree?

If you do not need developmental coursework and have completed the pre-requisite courses for admission and you register for an average of 15 credits each semester, you can complete the professional phase of the program in two years.

If I graduate from the Physical Therapist Assistant program, can I transfer to an upper-division college or university?

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) degree program curriculum differs from that of the physical therapist curriculum. Under most circumstances, courses completed and credits acquired toward this associate’s degree are not transferable. Our program, however, has an articulation agreement with Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, NY). This agreement allows for our graduates, who apply and are accepted into Mercy’s Physical Therapy program, to transfer many of the credits they have completed at ECC. Other accredited programs designed to allow experienced physical therapist assistants to continue working while attending a physical therapist doctoral degree program on the weekends exist, but our articulation agreement only applies to Mercy College.

What are the Student Success Rates (Student Learning Outcomes)?

The students within the PTA program have a high rate of success. Recent student success rates are indicated in the table below:

 

  2017 2018 2 year average
Graduation Rate* (and 2 year average) 85.2% 86.2% 85.7%
Employment Rate (and 2 year average) 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Ultimate Licensure Pass Rate (2 year average) = 100.0%

Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the hands-on skills and cognitive knowledge (including implementing a comprehensive treatment plan, performing appropriate measurement and assessment techniques, modifying an intervention, etc.) required of a Physical Therapist Assistant;
  • Demonstrate effective written, oral, and nonverbal communication (including completing written treatment documentation, providing patient progress updates to the supervising physical therapist, conveying discharge/follow-up care instructions, teaching specific techniques, etc.) and appropriate interaction with diverse ethno-cultural patients and their families, colleagues, health care providers, and the public;
  • Demonstrate safe, ethical, legal, and professional behavior while working under the supervision of a physical therapist; and
  • Demonstrate readiness for professional development by reading and interpreting professional literature, identifying levels of authority and responsibility in the physical therapy profession, and being aware of policies and procedures among other things.

 

Note: The PTA program is designed to be completed in 80 weeks. This is the suggested curriculum format; however, it is strongly recommended students take as many general education courses prior to admission to ensure success in the professional phase of the program.

Where should I direct specific questions about this program?

If needing to contact the program directly, please call (973) 877-3375 or email ptapro@essex.edu.

Program Requirements

General Education Requirements

Written & Oral Communication (6 credits)
ENG 101 (3 credits)
ENG 102 or ENG 105 (one 3-credit course)

Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning (8 credits)
BIO 121 (4 credits)
BIO 122 (4 credits)

Note: BIO 121 Anatomy & Physiology I and BIO 122 Anatomy & Physiology II transcripts older than 5 years will not be accepted for transfer to the PTA major. Credit for anatomy & physiology successfully completed within the last 5 years will only be granted for those courses taken at ECC or accepted in transfer.

Society & Human Behavior (3 credits)
PSY 101 (3 credits)

Historical Perspective (3 credits)
Choose one of the following history courses: HST 101, HST 102, HST 111, HST 112, HST 121, HST 122, HST 131, HST 132, HST 134, HST 135, HST 136, HST 137, HST 161 or HST 162 (one 3-credit course)

MAJOR COURSE REQUIREMENTS

BIO 222 Kinesiology (4 credits)

HSC 109 Medical Terminology (3 credits)

PTA 101 Fundamentals of Physical Therapist Assisting I (5 credits)

PTA 102 Principles of Physical Therapist Assisting I (5 credits)

PTA 103 Physical Therapist Assisting Practicum (4 credits)

PTA 106 Therapeutic Intervention in Child Development and Gerontology (3 credits)

PTA 201 Principles of Physical Therapist Assisting II (4 credits)

PTA 202 Principles of Physical Therapist Assisting III (4 credits)

PTA 203 Physical Therapist Assisting Practicum II (4 credits)

PTA 205 Physical Therapist Assisting Practicum III (6 credits)

PTA 206 Professional Issues in Physical Therapist Assisting (1 credit)

PTA 209 Therapeutic Exercise (2 credits)

PSY 209 Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)

Note:

(1) The minimum passing grade for all courses designated BIO, PSY, HSC, and PTA is “C.” If you earn a grade below “C”, you need to repeat that course.

(2) Students enrolled in the Physical Therapist Assistant program will be required to submit to criminal background checks, health clearance, CPR certification, and possible drug screen prior to their clinical placement at certain health care organizations. All expenses for criminal background checks, health clearance, CPR certification, and drug screen are the responsibility of the student. Adverse results may disqualify students from clinical participation in which case the student will be unable to complete program requirements and, therefore, must withdraw from the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

RECOMMENDED SEQUENCE OF COURSES

Total Credits Required for Degree: 68

Pre-admission (Prerequisite) Courses

BIO 121 Anatomy and Physiology I (4 credits)

ENG 101 College Composition I (3 credits)

PSY 101 General Psychology I: Personality & Social Aspects (3 credits)

First Semester

PTA 101 Fundamentals of Physical Therapist Assisting I (5 credits)

BIO 122 Anatomy and Physiology II (4 credits)

ENG 102 College Composition II or ENG 105 Technical Writing (3 credits)

HSC 109 Medical Terminology (3 credits)

Second Semester

PTA 102 Principles of Physical Therapist Assisting I (5 credits)

PTA 106 Therapeutic Intervention in Child Development & Gerontology (3 credits)

PSY 209 Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)

Summer Session

PTA 103 Physical Therapist Assisting Practicum (4 credits)

Third Semester

PTA 201 Principles of Physical Therapist Assisting II (4 credits)

PTA 203 Physical Therapist Assisting Practicum II (4 credits)

PTA 209 Therapeutic Exercise (2 credits)

BIO 222 Kinesiology (4 credits)

Fourth Semester

PTA 202 Principles of Physical Therapist Assisting III (4 credits)

PTA 205 Physical Therapist Assisting Practicum III (6 credits)

PTA 206 Professional Issues in Physical Therapist Assisting (1 credit)

Historical Perspective requirement (one 3-credit course)