Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work as part of a team to provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist. PTAs implement selected components of patient/client interventions (treatment), obtain data related to the interventions provided, and make modifications in selected interventions either to progress the patient/client as directed by the physical therapist or to ensure patient/client safety and comfort.

PTAs assist the physical therapist in the treatment of individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.

The physical therapist is responsible for the services provided by the PTA. Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

PTAs provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. PTAs must graduate from a CAPTE-accredited PTA program and licensure or certification is required in most states in which a PTA works.

More Information:

All applicants interested in our program must be accepted to the college. Essex County College has an open door policy wherein all high school graduates and/or applicants with a GED are considered for admission.

Individuals who are considering a career in any of the health professions including Physical Therapist Assistant, must undergo a Criminal Background Check (CBC). This process, required by clinical facilities, ensures protection of the public from those individuals with a criminal record. Having a criminal background may prevent placement in a clinical site and/or becoming licensed. Furthermore, some clinical sites may require a drug screenings as a condition for placement in their facilities.

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:

Year202120222-year average
Graduation Rate*
(and 2-year average)      
Employment Rate
(and 2-year average)
First-Time Licensure Pass Rate88.9%90.9%89.9%
Ultimate Licensure Pass Rate (2-year average 2021 / 2022) = 97.75%

Physical Therapist Assistant Resources:

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),

3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085

telephone: 703-706-3245;

email: [email protected]

website: .

If you have questions regarding the program, please call (973) 877-3375 or email [email protected] and a faculty member will respond to you directly.