Physical Therapist Assistant | JCTC

Physical Therapist Assistant

Provide healing help to people of all ages recovering from illness or injury. Learn how our bodies work and train to aid licensed therapists in this growing field.

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What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

  • The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) describes the role of a PTA as "provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. PTAs help 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.” Additionally, the APTA states the PTA will “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.”

More information can be found at the American Physical Therapy Association website.

What is the difference between a Physical Therapist and a Physical Therapist Assistant?

The Physical Therapist (PT) and the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) differ in educational preparation and levels of responsibilities as it relates to the provision of physical therapy services.
Education

  • PT = Doctorate degree
  • PTA = Associate degree

Jefferson awards an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree at completion of the PTA Program. An Associate Degree is an undergraduate academic degree awarded upon completion of a course of study usually lasting two years.

IMPORTANT NOTE!  The AAS degree does NOT provide a direct stepping stone toward completion of a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Further education, including earning a Bachelor’s Degree and often an Master’s Degree, is required prior to application to a DPT Program. Although some or all of the PTA Program course credits may transfer to other universities and colleges and earn credit toward completion of a higher degree, the student is encouraged to check with individual institutions regarding specific degree pre-requisites and program application requirements.

Responsibilities

  • PT = can work autonomously; performs patient evaluation; develops goals and designs the plan of care
  • PTA = can only work under the supervision and direction of a PT; follows the plan of care by utilizing critical thinking and problem solving skills to select appropriate interventions that addresses the patient’s goals; maintains collaboration with the supervising PT

The collaborative relationship between the PT/PTA is highly effective and valued, and the team greatly contributes to the success of the overall rehabilitation process.

What are my career choices?

PTAs work in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, rehabilitation hospitals, schools, pediatric facilities, and specialized clinics. PTAs may serve in leadership roles such as management of facilities or director of clinical education for facilities. Qualified PTA’s may also teach in CAPTE accredited colleges and universities.

How long is the program?

All students, regardless of prior degree or career experience, will require 2 years to complete the degree after admission to the Program.

PTA coursework spans over four semesters and allows for the integration of general education coursework during the first year of the program. The curriculum consists of approximately 26-29 credit hours of general education courses coupled with 40 credit hours of PTA core courses.
To see detailed information on courses check out our
Course Description page.

How can I get started?

It is highly recommended that each student who is interested in the PTA Program schedule an appointment with either a general education advisor or a PTA Program faculty member for assistance.  Enrollment in this program is limited to a maximum of 22 students per year and utilizes a selective admission process.

Details for the selective admission process can be found in the PTA Program Curriculum Guide.

All students who are considering applying to the PTA Program must first attend a Pre-Admission Conference.

Pre-requisite coursework:

  • BIO 137 – 4 credit hours of human anatomy and physiology with a dedicated lab component. Must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher prior to starting the 1st semester of the PTA Program. Students are highly encouraged to complete BIO 137 prior to applying to the PTA Program, however this is not required. The latest available semester in which to complete BIO 137 is the summer after application to the PTA Program.
  • BIO 139 – 4 credit hours of human anatomy and physiology with a dedicated lab component. Must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher prior to starting the 2nd semester of the PTA Program.
  • Digital Literacy- A graduation requirement for all KCTCS students is to complete an approved course of Digital Literacy or its equivalent test-out option (IC3 Fast Track, which is available for purchase in the bookstore and then must be taken at the Jefferson Assessment Center and earn a score of “Pass”). It is preferred that this requirement be completed prior to starting the 1st semester of the PTA Program.
  • General Education courses - With the exception of BIO 137, all general education courses may be taken alongside of the first year of PTA Program technical courses. General Education and digital literacy courses must be completed prior to beginning the 3rd semester of the PTA Program. Students are encouraged to complete at least 12 credit hours of general education prior to the April 1st application deadline, but this is not required. Completion of ENG 101 and the Oral Communications course prior to April 1st provides an advantage in the selective admission point system, therefore Program faculty advise students to begin with these courses, as able.

Why apply at Jefferson?

We love our students, and our students achieve great things!

The program has been graduating successful clinicians since its initial accreditation in 1977. Students have a long history of obtaining licensure and working as PTA’s throughout the region. Many graduates continue to serve as clinical instructors at their workplace in order to give back to the college.
PTA Program students have access to state-of-the-art physical therapy laboratory equipment, over 130 clinical affiliation sites throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana, a location embedded in the heart of downtown Louisville s medical centers, low cost tuition and access to all student support services offered by the college.

Program Outcomes

Student Outcomes May 2015 graduates May 2016 graduates May 2017 graduates May 2018 graduates
Completers/Graduation Rate based on 22 students admitted 18/22 (82%) 21/22 (95%) 21/22 (95%) 21/22 (95%)
Pass rate of graduates on the national licensing exam for Physical Therapist Assistants 100% 100% 21/21 (100%) 20/21 (95%)
Graduates who sought and obtained employment within six months of graduation. 100% 100% 20/20 (100%) 20/20 (100%)

Accreditation

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 502.213.2193 or email Jennifer Pitchford at jpitchford0004@kctcs.edu 

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Jefferson Community and Technical College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314

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Program Contact

Deloris Cummings, PT, DPT, MA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Associate Professor
502.213.2201
deloris.cummings@kctcs.edu

Jennifer Pitchford, PTA, M.Ed., CHES
Physical Therapist Assistant
Associate Professor, Academic Program Coordinator and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education
502.213.2193
jpitchford0004@kctcs.edu