Florida Community College at Jacksonville wave logo

Florida Community College programs of study

Associate in Science/Associate in Applied Science

Physical Therapy Assistant (Physical Therapist Assistant) (222A)

THE CAREER: The physical therapist assistant (PTA) is a skilled technical health care provider who works under the supervision and direction of a physical therapist (PT) in the assessment, treatment and prevention of physical disability resulting from injury, disease, pain, birth defects and other health-related conditions. The PTA, working as a member of the rehabilitation team, assists in implementing the treatment program according to the plan of care developed by the PT. Typical duties of the PTA include training patients in exercise, ambulation and activities of daily living; conducting treatment using specialized equipment; administering therapeutic physical agents such as heat, cold and electrical stimulation; assisting in the performance of tests; and observing and reporting patient responses and changes in condition to the PT.

THE PROGRAM: The PTA program is a combination of general education and technical courses including lecture, laboratory and clinical education components. Graduates of the program are prepared to function as entry-level practitioners. Upon completion of the program, you are awarded an associate in science degree. You are then eligible to apply to sit for a state administered national examination in order to qualify for licensure to practice as a PTA.

The Dictionary of Occupational Titles rates the strength demands of a PTA at the medium level. This translates into lifting or exerting a force of 20 to 50 pounds occasionally, 10 to 25 pounds frequently, and 10 pounds or less constantly. Interested students can learn more about the profession of physical therapy and the role of the PTA by contacting the American Physical Therapy Association, 111 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314 (1.800.999.2782).


Expected Job Growth: According to the Department of Labor, much faster than average.

Starting Salary: $30,000
Average Salary: Typically between $32,400 - $37,800

Certification and Licensing
Graduates are prepared to sit for a state-administered national examination, in order to qualify for licensure to practice as PTAs.

Florida Community College's PTA program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria VA 32214 (800.999.2782).

Application Procedure

A new class is admitted each May. Admission to the technical phase of the program is limited and based upon academic performance and other criteria. An information/application packet outlining requirements, procedures, deadlines, costs and other pertinent information is available from the PTA department, North Campus. Minimum requirements that must be met for consideration for admission to the technical phase of the PTA program are as follows:

  1. Applicants must be accepted for admission to Florida Community College or be currently enrolled at Florida Community College. Acceptance to Florida Community College does not guarantee admission to the technical phase of the PTA program.
  2. Applicants must submit a completed application for the technical phase of the program to the PTA department. Incomplete and late applications will not be considered. Contact the PTA department for information/application packets and deadlines.
  3. Applicants must have completed 16 credit hours, including ENC 1101, MAC 1105, DEP 2004, BSC 2085C, and a humanities course with a minimum grade of “C” and minimum combined grade point average of 2.5 prior to beginning the technical phase:
    • *MAC 1105 College Algebra
    • **PHY 1020C Physics for the Liberal Arts
    • +**BSC 2085C Human Anatomy and Physiology I
    • +**BSC 2086C Human Anatomy and Physiology II
    • ENC 1101 English Composition I
    • DEP 2004 Human Growth and Development
    • ***Humanities
  4. Applicants must complete the Revised PSB — Health Occupations Aptitude Examination. Contact the assessment and certification center of any campus for scheduling information.
  5. Applicants must submit documented evidence verifying completion of a minimum of 10 hours of observation, volunteer service and/or work experience in physical therapy. Verification forms can be obtained from the PTA department.
  6. Applicants must provide a copy of your official college transcript(s), including pre-technical coursework, to the PTA program. Students not currently enrolled in Florida Community College and/or who are transferring college credit courses are required to have a second copy of their official transcript(s) sent directly from the college or university to the registrar’s office at Florida Community College.

Students who have submitted completed applications to the PTA department by the deadline will be ranked according to a point scale based on grade point average in the required general education courses, scores on the Revised PSB — Health Occupations Aptitude Examination and accumulated hours of observation, volunteer service and/or work experience in physical therapy departments. The 24 highest ranked students will be accepted into the technical phase of the PTA program and notified of their acceptance by mail. A ranked alternate list will be established. In the event of forfeiture, the next highest ranked student will be notified of acceptance. Refer to the PTA program information/application packet for a complete description of the point system on which ranking is based.


With the exception of PHT 1000, PHT 1120C and PHT 1300, which may be taken in the pre-technical phase if prerequisites are met, students may not enroll in any of the professional courses unless accepted into the technical phase of the program based on the selection criteria and available seats. A minimum grade of "C" must be earned in each of the following courses in order to continue in the technical phase. A minimum overall GPA of 2.0 must be maintained throughout enrollment in the technical phase of the program.

General Education Courses
ENC 1101 English Composition I (3)
+BSC 2085C Human Anatomy and Physiology I (4)
*MAC 1105 College Algebra (3)
DEP 2004 Human Growth and Development (3)
**Humanities (3)

Credit hours: 16

Technical Courses
+BSC 2086C Human Anatomy and Physiology II (4)
PHY 1020C Physics for Liberal Arts with Laboratory (3)

Pysical Therapist Assistant (Professional) Courses
PHT 1000C Introduction to Physical Therapy (3)
PHT 1120C Kinesiology (3)
PHT 1200C Basic Patient Care (5)
PHT 1300 Pathological Conditions (3)
PHT 2220C Physical Agents and Mechanical Modalities (4)
PHT 2252C Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy (5)
PHT 2253C Neurological and Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy (5)
PHT 1212C Electrotherapeutic Modalities (2)
PHT 2301C Cardiopulmonary and Integumentary Physical Therapy (3)
PHT 2801L Physical Therapy Clinical Practice I (4)
PHT 2931 Trends in Physical Therapy (2)
PHT 2810L Physical Therapy Clinical Practice II (6)
PHT 2820L Physical Therapy Clinical Practice III (6)

Credit hours: 51

Total Credit Hours: 74

*Students who qualify may substitute a higher-level mathematics course. Students opting to earn an associate in applied science may take MAT 1033 instead of MAC 1105.
**Refer to A.S. degree General Education Requirements. Students may elect to take this course during the first spring or summer term of the professional phase. However, it is highly recommended that it be completed prior to beginning the professional phase.
+If these courses have been completed more than five years prior to enrollment in the technical phase, a competency examination with a specified minimum passing grade of seventy percent will be required.

You have two options in this program: the associate in science (A.S.) degree, which can prepare you for employment or transfer to a state university, and the associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree, which is intended primarily for students who want immediate employment after graduation. If you choose the A.S. degree you must take MAC 1105, MGF 1106 or a higher level mathematics. The A.A.S. degree requires MAT 1033 or higher. Please see an advisor to determine the option that is best for you.

Following admission to the technical phase, a physical examination, criminal background check and first aid/CPR certifications will be required.

Clinical agencies may require students to undergo drug screening and criminal background checks prior to placement in the agencies for clinical experiences. Students whose drug screening and criminal background checks are unsatisfactory may be denied access to clinical experiences by the clinical agencies. Withdrawal from the program may be necessary if students cannot be placed for clinical experiences.

Estimated tuition is $4,500 (for Florida residents as of 7/04). Estimated cost of books, materials and fees is $1,700.


© Florida Community College at Jacksonville