Physical Therapist Assistant Frequently Asked Questions | JCTC

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Physical Therapist Assistant Frequently Asked Questions


  • Students must complete a PTA Program Application to be eligible for enrollment.
  • Students must attend a Preadmission Conference to obtain an application. Conferences are held monthly from October - March. Application materials will only be distributed at the conferences.
  • The PTA Program utilizes a selective admission point system of evaluation for all applicants. Applications are due by April 1st of each year.  A maximum of 22 students will be offered enrollment each fall semester. Students who earn the highest total points will be offered enrollment.
  • Students may apply to the PTA Program with no college experience, however, BIO 137 must be completed with a minimum grade of C within the past 5 years prior to starting the first semester of the PTA Program and BIO 139 must be completed with a minimum grade of C within the same timeframe prior to starting the second semester of the PTA Program. 
  • Students must submit an ACT Composite Score to Jefferson Admissions to be eligible for application to the PTA Program. Find details on testing dates, cost, archived scores, and testing locations at
  • The PTA Program will take 2 years to complete once enrolled, regardless of prior degrees or experiences. There are no courses that substitute for PTA technical courses due to rigorous accreditation standards.
  • Students must submit official transcripts to Jefferson Admission from ALL previously earned college credit outside of KCTCS institutions (regardless of its relation to the PTA Program content); this includes dual credit courses. AP course scores must also be sent to Jefferson Admissions for evaluation, regardless if previously accepted at other institutions. KCTCS TRANSCRIPTS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE INCLUDED WITH THE PTA PROGRAM APPLICATION.
  • Students with experience working in healthcare may earn bonus points toward admission, however previous employment is not a requirement. Volunteer hours are encouraged, but not included as part of the PTA Program application point system.

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.


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.


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.

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.  

Go to the Course Description page for a list of courses and descriptions.


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.

Student Outcomes May 2018 Graduates May 2019 Graduates August 2020 Graduates May 2021 Graduates
Completers/Graduation Rate based on 22 students admitted 21/22 (95%) 19/22 (86%) 8/22 (82%) 22/22 (100%)
Pass rate of graduates on the national licensing exam for Physical Therapist Assistants 20/21 (95%)

(1 abstained from taking, one yet to complete)

16/18 (89%) 14/21 (67% with one abstaining from registering for the exam)
Graduates who sought and obtained employment within six months of graduation. 20/20 (100%) 100% 16/16 (100%) 14/14 (100%)
Student Outcomes May 2018/May 2019 May 2019/August 2020
August 2020/May 2021
Averaged 2-Year Graduation Rate 91% 84% 91%
Averaged 2-Year Employment Rate 100% 100% 100%
Averaged 2-Year Licensure Pass Rate 98% 95% 78%