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Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

Division of Nursing & Allied Health — Curriculum Code 2106

Will Earn Upon Program Completion: Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree
(Also see General Science A.S. Degree Program)

 

Why major in the Physical Therapist Assistant program?

Physical therapist assistants have the 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 at their website:  http://www.capteonline.org/AccreditationHandbook.

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

The physical therapist assistant curriculum differs from that of the physical therapist curriculum. Under most circumstances, courses completed and credits acquired toward this 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 Essex. There are also other accredited programs designed to allow experienced physical therapist assistants to continue working while attending a physical therapist doctoral degree program on the weekends, but our Articulation agreement only applies to Mercy College.

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

All students – even transfer students – must 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 application deadline is March 15 for enrollment in the following fall semester. The following are the minimum standards for admission:

  • Be at college level in reading, English, and mathematics, which may require the completion of developmental courses (e.g., RDG 096, ENG 096, and/or MTH 092) based on placement test scores.
  • Complete the following program prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or better in each: BIO 121 Anatomy and Physiology I, ENG 101 English Composition I, and PSY 101 General Psychology I. Also, only 2 of the prerequisite courses may be repeated to achieve this grade and each course may only be repeated once.
  • Have a college GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Perform satisfactorily – score at least 50 – on the ‘TEAS V for AH’ (Test of Essential Academic Skills V for Allied Health), which is scheduled annually in the spring. (All applicants will be notified by mail about the scheduled exam date and process for registration.)
  • Complete 50 volunteer hours in a physical therapy department or facility and submit proof of hours via letterhead documentation to the PTA program no later than March 15th of the application year.

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

How long will it take me to complete this degree?

If you do not need developmental course work and have completed the prerequisite courses for admission, you can complete the professional phase of the program in two years if you register for an average of 15 credits each semester.

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

The students within the PTA programs have a high rate of success. Their success is outlined in the table below:

2009 2010 2011 3 year average
Graduation Rate* (and 3 year average) 77.30% 68.20% 66.70% 70.30%
Employment Rate (and 3 year average) 100% 100% 100% 100%

Ultimate Licensure Pass Rate (3 year average) = 93.8%

*Note: [CAPTE changed the graduation rate requirement for accredited programs at the spring meeting. Programs must document a 3 year rate of 60% or higher].

Where should I direct specific questions about this program?

Call the Division at (973) 877-3456.

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.

 

The 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.

 

GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS:

(20 credits)

Written & Oral Communication (6 credits)

ENG 101 (one 3-credit course)
ENG 102 or ENG 105 (one 3-credit course)

Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning (8 credits)

BIO 121 and BIO 122 (two 4-credit courses)

Note: BIO 121 (A&PI) and BIO 122 (A&PII) transcripts older than 5 years will not be accepted. Credit for Anatomy & Physiology successfully completed within the last 5 years will be granted for those courses taken at ECC or accepted in transfer.

Society & Human Behavior (3 credits)

PSY 101 (one 3-credit course)

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:

(49 credits)

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 (5 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: 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.

Total Credits Required for Degree: 69

RECOMMENDED SEQUENCE OF COURSES:

Pre-admission (Prerequisite) Courses
BIO 121 Anatomy and Physiology I (4 credits)
ENG 101 College Composition I (3 credits)
PSY 101 General Psychology I (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 and Gerontology (3 credits)
PSY 209 Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)

Summer Session
PTA 103 Physical Therapist Assisting Practicum (5 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)
History requirement (3 credits)

Note: 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.

 

NOTES:
(1) The two General Education Integrated Course Goals, Ethical Reasoning & Action and Information Literacy, are both addressed by the required curriculum described above, regardless of specific choices made by the individual student.
(2) This plan assumes the completion of all required developmental courses in reading, writing, and mathematics as well as other pre- and co-requisites for some of the courses, as listed in the Course Descriptions section.