Physical Therapist Assistant Frequently Asked Questions
The answer is no.
Although all general education courses may be completed online, the PTA-specific technical courses and labs are only offered in person on the downtown campus. Clinical courses are completed on-site at the assigned facility, which may be local or as far of a commute as 60 minutes from your home address.
The answer is usually yes for most general education courses. The courses must have been completed at a regionally accredited institution and match the content of the courses offered by Jefferson. The best way to tell is to check the Transfer Equivalency Database. This will take you to a screen where you can choose your college from the drop down list and then type in the course you took. If it is not in the database you will need to contact the PTA Program Coordinator for guidance or wait until your official transcript has been evaluated for verification.
IMPORTAT NOTE FOR ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY (A&P) COURSES: For courses to transfer equivalent they must meet the minimum requirements for credit hours and content. Students must complete two A&P courses; each must have a minimum of 4 credit hours that includes a lab section. The full A&P curriculum must cover the following topics: basic chemistry, cell structure, cell physiology, metabolism, tissues, systems including integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, cardiovascular, lymphatic, digestive, respiratory, urinary. If the transfer equivalency database lists your course as equivalent to BIO 137 or BIO 139, you should be fine. Jefferson’s Records Department will likely record the course as equivalent once your transcript has been evaluated. If the database says it is equivalent to any other criteria (such as TRN science general education, TRN elective, a different BIO course number such as BIO 135-ANA 209-PGY 206, etc.) it is NOT considered equivalent and you will need to enroll in BIO 137 and/or BIO 139 to be eligible to begin the PTA Program. Sometimes the Records Department will attach a note saying that the courses will only transfer as equivalent of the grade for the lecture and the lab are the same. If this is the case, please alert the PTA Program Coordinator to evaluate the likelihood of a course substitution. Course substitutions are RARELY approved by the administration and will be evaluated on an individual case by case basis for validity.
The answer is no.
Regardless of prior education and experience, all students must complete the PTA-specific courses in sequence. It will take two years to complete the sequence. Students with previous courses in kinesiology, pathology, neurology, exercise or modalities (such as students of exercise science and athletic training or massage) must still complete the PTA-specific courses to meet the requirements for program accreditation. Only courses approved by CAPTE may be utilized for credit toward a PTA degree from Jefferson.
All PTA courses are scheduled Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm. The exception to this rule comes with clinical courses, where the student will be expected to follow the schedule of the supervising therapist for 4 or 5 weeks at a time. These hours may start before 8:30am and/or extend beyond 4:30pm (not to exceed a total of 40 hours per week). The student will typically be given notice of the clinical schedule at least 1 month prior to starting the clinical course to allow for personal schedule adjustments as needed (ie: childcare, ride share, etc.)
- Semester 1: two courses totaling 6 credit hours (PTA 101 and PTA 125). Students will be in class a total of 9 hours, typically split between two days. This allows time to enroll in concurrent general education courses, if needed.
- Semester 2: three courses totaling 10 credit hours (PTA 150, PTA 160, and PTA 170). Students will be in class up to 20 hours per week, five days per week. Typically two full days, two half-days, and 8 Fridays of clinical work where students are at the assigned clinic for 8 hours each week.
- Semester 3: three courses totaling 12 credit hours (PTA 200, PTA 220, PTA 240). Students will be in class approximately 20 hours per week, split among four days for the first 12 weeks. At week 13 of the semester students will report to their assigned clinical location and work 40 hours per week for the last 4 weeks of the semester.
- Semester 4: three courses totaling 12 credit hours (PTA 250, PTA 260, PTA 280). Students will be in class approximately 22 hours per week for the first 6 weeks, split over five days per week. Typically three full days and two half-days. This concludes the coursework portion of the Program. Students will then report to their assigned clinical locations 40 hours per week for the remaining 10 weeks of the semester.
Refer to the typical schedule as noted above to see whether or not your current work schedule will be conducive to attending the PTA Program courses. Faculty typically advise students to save money ahead of time to allow for less hours of work while participating in the Program. Working too many hours has historically caused much difficulty for students by not allowing enough time to study, sleep, and take care of family obligations. Students may be able to continue to work weekends or evenings, but PLEASE BE ADVISED that this program requires multiple hours for study outside of the classroom to be successful.
There are a limited number of facilities available to host students. The Clinical Coordinator will work with you to ensure the best educational experience for you, which may require a commute of up to 60 minutes. The Clinical Coordinator tries to avoid more than one long-distance site, but can make no guarantees.
Students are given the opportunity to list their preferred sites and types of facilities for clinical education. All students will be given an opportunity for at least one outpatient site and at least one inpatient site. From there it will vary, depending on availability and student interests. Students may ask to initiate a clinical agreement with a site not previously identified by the Program. However, it can take up to 6 months to get the contract agreements set up and the Clinical Coordinator cannot guarantee placement.
The approximate cost for tuition and fees over two years of the Program is $10,000 for in-district students and $30,000 for out of district students. These numbers include tuition, books, institutional fees, drug screen, background check, lab kits, immunization requirements, CPR certification, parking pass, etc. Additional costs NOT previously included are uniforms for clinicals, transportation to/from campus and clinicals.