Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical Therapist Assistant

Associate of Applied Science(A.A.S.)


College: College of Nursing and Health Professions

Department: Physical Therapy

Description

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at A-State is an associate-level program. The degree awarded is the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. The program is designed so that one year (25 hours) of general education courses and prerequisites are completed prior to being accepted into the PTA program. Once accepted into the program, students complete one year of professional courses (38 hours). The professional coursework is offered on both the Jonesboro and Mountain Home campuses. The earned degree is awarded by the Jonesboro campus.

The PTA assists the Physical Therapist in patient evaluation and assessment activities, implements treatment programs according to a plan of care, trains patients in exercises and activities of daily living, conducts treatments using special equipment, administers modalities and other treatment procedures, and reports to the PT on patients’ responses to treatment.

If, after careful examination of the material below, you have any questions or concerns, please contact the PTA Program Director at beckeith@astate.edu or Stacey Sloas at ssloas@astate.edu.

  • PREREQUISITES

    *General Education totals 15 credit hours and Required Support Courses totals 10 credit hours The last digit of the course number indicates the credit hours for that course. Example: ENG 1003 = 3 credit hours

    General Education Courses (9 hours)
    Credit Hours
    ENG 1003: Composition I 3
    ENG 1013: Composition II 3
    MATH 1023: College Algebra 3
    PSY 2013: Introduction to Psychology 3
    Select one of the following (3 hours):
    POSC 2103: American Government
    HIST 2763: US History I
    HIST 2773: US History II
    3
    Required Support Classes (10 hours)
    Credit Hours
    PTA 1013: Making Connections in Rehab Services 3
    BIO 2201/2203: Human Anatomy & Physiology I with Lab 4
    PHYS 2133: Survey of Physics for Health Professions
    (PHYS 2054, General Physics I will be accepted)
    3
    Total Prerequisite Hours 25
    Recommended Courses
    Credit Hours
    If other courses are needed for increased credit hours for scholarships, student financial aid, etc., the following courses are recommended (not required) for the degree:
    BIO 2221/2223: Human Anatomy & Physiology II with Lab 4
    HP 3003: General Gross Anatomy 3
  • Admission Process

    How to Apply

    All prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the spring semester in which application occurs. If prerequisite courses are not completed by the end of the spring semester, the applicant must wait until the following spring to apply.

    Download the application and follow the directions on the application. The application should be submitted by April 1st of each year at our main physical therapy office on the first floor of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, room 102, or mailed to:

    A-STATE Physical Therapist Assistant Program
    PO Box 910
    State University (Jonesboro), AR 72467

    (See link to the PTA Application on the left bar above, under Important Files)

    Scoring Applicants

    After applications are received, cumulative GPA and prerequisite GPAs are calculated and each reference and observation form is scored. This information is used to rank applicants.

    The top applicants will then be assessed relative to their ability to read and comprehend by completing a standardized test. Those students demonstrating the ability to read and comprehend at a college sophomore level will proceed to the interview process. Following the interview, scores from the interview are added to previous scores and applicants are again ranked. The top 30 applicants are offered positions in the next cohort of PTA students.

    Scored Criteria

    • Cumulative GPA (10%)
    • Prerequisite GPA (25%)
    • Reference & Observation Forms (20%)
    • Reading Comprehension (25%)
    • Interview (20%)

    Transfers

    Many of our students come from other colleges and universities. Applicants must gain admission to A-STATE by contacting A-STATE Admissions at 870-972-3024 or admissions@astate.edu. Applicants can download the prerequisite checklist form (above, under Check Sheets), obtain a copy of their transcripts, and contact an advisor by emailing beckeith@astate.edu or ssloas@astate.edu.

    Typically, most of the PTA prerequisite courses are offered at any community college or university with the exception of PTA 1013 Making Connections in Rehab Services, which is only offered at Arkansas State University. At least one online section of this course will be offered each Fall and Spring semester.

    Applicants can check to see if their courses are transferable to A-STATE by contacting the Registrar Office at 870-972-2031 or registrar@astate.edu or by visiting their website.

    Background Checks

    Based on recent legislation in Arkansas, students will be required to complete a background check AFTER they receive conditional admission into the program.

    Arkansas State University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions works with Verified Credentials, Inc. to establish an acceptable screening procedure. The cost of the background check is between $50 and $100.

  • Program Costs

    Costs

    Additional estimated costs for the PTA program, not including housing, transportation and living expenses for clinical rotations, are listed below. This information is only an estimate of the program cost and is subject to change.

    Tuition & Fees

    The total number of credit hours per semester is: Summer - 12 hours, Fall - 14 hours, and Spring - 12 hours. To estimate your tuition and fees expense, visit the Tuition & Fees section of the A-State website.

    Estimated Additional Expenses
    Books $890.00
    Required Lab Equipment $120.00
    Physical Exam & Immunizations (A-STATE Student Health Center) $390.00
    CPR Certification (for Health Professionals) $35.00
    Professional Liability Insurance $37.00
    Health Insurance (policies vary in price per year, rate listed is through A-State) $670.00
    Licensure Examination Fees (following graduation) $500.00
    Graduation Fee $45.00
  • Clinical Education

    Clinical Rotation

    Clinical education is a crucial part of any PTA educational program. It is conducted differently than is clinical education for most other practice professions. Students are sent, usually individually, to various clinical sites to practice physical therapy procedures and patient care under the supervision of a licensed PT or PTA. Student performance in clinical education is evaluated by both the clinical and academic faculty as well as self evaluation.

    The clinical education experience simulates actual clinical practice and each rotation is a full-time, work-type experience. Students practice those skills that they have acquired in the laboratory. Students are generally not required to practice skills that they have not been prepared for academically unless the on-site supervisor teaches new skills to the student. In this case, the clinician assumes the responsibility for the student's performance.

    PTA students have three clinical education experiences. The first occurs during the fall semester of the program. This experience is five weeks long and may be scheduled at either an acute care, outpatient orthopedic, or pediatric facility. The student is placed into a setting in which they have been best prepared for academically. The final two affiliations are five and six weeks, respectively, in length and occur during the last eleven weeks of the program. The student is required to experience a variety of clinical settings during their three clinical educational experiences including, but not limited to a rehabilitation facility, an acute care facility, a skilled nursing facility, a pediatric facility, or an outpatient facility.

    Clinical sites are assigned by the DCE. Students will provide the DCE their top three sites from the clinical availability list for each clinical rotation. Sites are assigned by the DCE according to their availability, the students' particular needs at any given time, and other variables that are often unpredictable. Given the large number of students that require clinical assignments, it is not possible to place many in or around the northeast Arkansas area. Sites may be located at some distance from the campus, both within the State of Arkansas and elsewhere in the U.S. or abroad. Attendance at clinical education is mandatory and students may not progress in the program if clinical performance is unsatisfactory.

  • Coursework Overview
    Year 1: Summer 
    Credit Hours
    PTA 2116: Patient Care Fundamentals 6
    PTA 2126: Movement Science 6
    Year 1: Fall
    Credit Hours
    PTA 2213 Musculoskeletal PT 3
    PTA 2223 Physical Agents and Massage 3
    PTA 2233 Neuromuscular PT 3
    PTA 2263 Pathophysiological Conditions 3
    PTA 2252 Clinical Education I 2
    Year 1: Spring
    Credit Hours
    PTA 2303 Neuromuscular PT II 3
    PTA 2323 Seminar 3
    PTA 2333 Clinical Education II 3
    PTA 2343 Clinical Education III 3
    DLS 0000 Basic Disaster Life Support 0
  • Coursework Details

    PTA 2116: Patient Care Fundamentals - Introduction to fundamentals of physical therapy patient care.  PTA courses are only open to students admitted to the professional program.  Summer. 

    PTA 2126: Movement Science - Introduction to basic principles of musculoskeletal examination and evaluation of the human body.  Students learn components of a patient history, systems review, observation and physical examination.  Goniometry, muscle testing, sensory and reflex testing, functional assessment, special tests, palpation, posture analysis and gait analysis are covered.  Summer. 

    PTA 2213: Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy - Students review passive, active and active assistive range of motion skills.  Resistance exercise and the use of exercise equipment are practiced.  Stretching and joint mobilization for specific diagnoses that are appropriate for the PTA to perform and practice.  Fall. 

    PTA 2223: Physical Agents and Massage - Basic principles and techniques of massage and application of modalities are presented.  An investigation into the risk factors and pathophysiological considerations associated with integumentary diseases and conditions as well as aseptic technique and universal precautions is provided.  Fall.  

    PTA 2233: Neuromuscular Physical Therapy I - Covers foundational science and theory behind the physical therapy management of patients with neuromuscular conditions.  Fall. 

    PTA 2263: Pathophysiological Conditions - Review of cardiopulmonary anatomy and physiology and other physiological conditions such as gastrointestinal, metabolic/endocrine, and multi-system pathologies. Includes physical therapy assessment and rehabilitation of patients with pathophysiological disorders frequently seen by physical therapy in the clinical setting. Fall.

    PTA 2252: Clinical Education I - Five weeks of full time affiliation at one facility working under the supervision of an on-site clinical instructor.  Students integrate knowledge of basic sciences and interventions to practice treatment techniques in the clinical setting.  Forty hours per week.  Fall. 

    PTA 2303: Neuromuscular Physical Therapy II - Covers common interventions used in the physical therapy management of patients with neuromuscular conditions.  Spring. 

    PTA 2323: Seminar - Introduction to principles of administration, teaching and learning, and evidence based practice as they apply to physical therapy practice.  Social responsibility, career development and lifelong learning are also discussed.  Spring. 

    PTA 2333: Clinical Education II - Five weeks of full time affiliation at one facility working under the supervision of an on-site clinical instructor.  Students integrate knowledge of basic sciences and interventions to practice treatment techniques in the clinical setting.  Forty hours per week.  Spring. 

    PTA 2343: Clinical Education III - Six weeks of full time affiliation at one facility working under the supervision of an on-site clinical instructor.  Students integrate knowledge of basic sciences and interventions to practice treatment techniques in the clinical setting.  Forty hours per week.  Spring. 

    PTA 2413: Directed Study - Guided investigation of a topic related to physical therapy selected in consultation with a member of the Physical Therapist Assistant faculty.  Prerequisite:  Approval of the Program Coordinator.  Demand. 

  • Expected Student Outcomes

    Core Values of the A-State PTA Program

    The faculty members of the PTA Program embrace the professional core values set forth by the American Physical Therapy Association and strive continually to model these values.  Graduates of the Program are expected to demonstrate a commitment to these core values. 

    Accountability

    Accountability is active acceptance of the responsibility for the diverse roles, obligations, and actions of the physical therapist assistant including self-regulation and other behaviors that positively influence patient/client outcomes, the profession and the health needs of society. 

    Altruism

    Altruism is the primary regard for or devotion to the interest of patients/clients, thus assuming the fiduciary responsibility of placing the needs of the patient/client ahead of the physical therapist assistant’s self interest. 

    Compassion / Caring

    Compassion is the desire to identify with or sense something of another’s experience; a precursor of caring.  Caring is the concern, empathy, and consideration for the needs and values of others. 

    Excellence

    Excellence is physical therapy practice that consistently uses current knowledge and theory while understanding personal limits, integrates judgment and the patient/client perspective, embraces advancement, challenges mediocrity, and works toward development of new knowledge.

    Integrity

    Integrity is steadfast adherence to high ethical principles or professional standards; truthfulness, fairness, doing what you say you will do, and “speaking forth” about why you do what you do. 

    Professional Duty

    Professional duty is the commitment to meeting one’s obligations to provide effective physical therapy services to patients/clients, to serve the profession, and to positively influence the health of society. 

    Social Responsibility

    Social responsibility is the promotion of a mutual trust between the profession and the larger public that necessitates responding to societal needs for health and wellness. 

    Expected Student Outcomes

    Graduates of the A-STATE PTA Program should possess the following qualities: 

    Communication

    Communicate verbally and nonverbally (including in writing) with those diverse groups of people with whom a physical therapist assistant has routine contact and assess the outcome of such communication in order to determine and improve its overall effectiveness. 

    Individual and Cultural Differences

    Demonstrate an awareness of the existence of individual and cultural differences, an understanding of the impact of individual and cultural differences on health care delivery, and the ability to alter one’s actions appropriately in response to identified individual and cultural differences. 

    Behavior and Conduct 

    Demonstrate behaviors that indicate an awareness, understanding and acceptance of the physical therapist assistant’s roles and responsibilities in the profession of physical therapy. 

    Plan of Care

    Competently administer physical therapy plans of care under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. 

    Education

    Effectively design, implement and assess programs of instruction intended to accomplish pre-established goals for patients, family members, caregivers, other healthcare providers, or members of the public. 

    Administration

    Demonstrate awareness and understanding of the physical therapist assistant’s role in a health care organization and a commitment to fulfill that role.

    Social Responsibility 

    Demonstrate awareness and understanding of a physical therapist assistant’s obligation to promote and protect the profession of physical therapy and the health care needs of the public and a commitment to fulfill that obligation. 

    Career Development 

    Assess one’s current level of career development, identify needs and opportunities to meet those needs, establish goals and monitor progress toward those goals, and direct learning efforts leading to the accomplishment of those goals.

    Goals of the A-State PTA Program

    Based on the definition of the “Ideal” Physical Therapist Assistant Graduate and the missions of the university, college and program, the PTA Program seeks to achieve the following goals: 

    1. Produce graduates who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to function safely, efficiently and effectively as entry-level physical therapist assistants. 
    2. Produce graduates who are aware of the legal, ethical, educational, and professional regulations that determine the scope of practice of physical therapy and perform physical therapy duties within that scope of practice. 
    3. Produce graduates who demonstrate observable behaviors that indicate a commitment to physical therapy core values. 
    4. Produce graduates who possess the capabilities to be self-directed clinicians and lifelong learners. 
  • Skills & Abilities of the PTA

    The A-State Physical Therapist Assistant Program affirms that all students enrolled in a physical therapist assistant program must possess those intellectual, ethical, physical, and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty for safe professional practice.

    A student desiring to become a physical therapist assistant (candidate) must have the abilities and skills necessary for use of the physical therapy process.

    Required Skills & Abilities

    These skills and abilities include observation, communication, motor ability, conceptualization, integration and quantification, and behavioral/social acceptability. Technological compensation can be made for some handicaps in certain areas, but a candidate should be able to perform in a reasonable independent manner.

    The use of a trained intermediary is not acceptable because a candidate’s judgment must not be mediated by someone else’s power of observation and selection. The following abilities and skills are necessary to meet the requirements of the curriculum:

    Observation

    The candidate must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and tactile sensation. It is enhanced by the functional sense of smell. 

    Communication

    The candidate must be able to speak, hear, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. 

    Motor

    Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other assessment maneuvers. A candidate must have sufficient motor skill to gain access to clients in a variety of care settings and to manipulate the equipment central to the treatment of patients receiving physical therapy. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

    Examples of required fine motor skills would include assessment of vital signs, application of dressings, debridement of wounds, tissue palpation and manual testing. Examples of required gross motor skills would include, but not be limited to, positioning clients in bed, gait training, transfer training, balance training, therapeutic exercise, and maneuvering in confined spaces. In addition, the candidate should be able to lift and carry a minimum of 35% of his or her own body weight. Also the candidate should be able to sit, bend, reach and/or walk and stand for most of the day. 

    Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

    These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physical therapist assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

    Behavioral and Social Attributes

    A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the care of patient, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and coworkers. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interests, and motivation are all personal qualities necessary for physical therapy. 

  • Program Statistics

    Application Statistics

    Class of 2018

    Applications Received

    Number
    of
    Applicants
    Males/
     Females 
    Ethnicity
    Age
    Range
    Median Age
    Degree
    Status
    Repeat
    Applicants
    Average
    GPA
    98 40/58
    Caucasian: 85
    African/American: 10
    Asian: 0
    Hispanic: 3
    18-55     25
    Master's: 1
    Bachelor's: 25
    Associate's: 22
    10

    Cumulative: 3.35

    Prerequisite: 3.52

    Applications Accepted

     Accepted 
     Males/
     Females 
    Ethnicity
    Age
    Range
     Median
    Age
    Degree
    Status
    Average
    GPA

    42

    Jonesboro: 30

    Mountain Home: 12

    19/23
    Caucasian: 38
    African/American: 3
    Hispanic: 1 
      18-51     25.4
    Master's: 1
    Bachelor's: 12
    Associate's: 14

    Cumulative: 3.39

    Prerequisite: 3.51

    Acceptance Rates

    Class
    Accepted / Applied
    Percentage
    2017-2018 42/98 43%
    2016-2017 30/79 38%
    2015-2016 30/112 27%


    Attrition Rates

    Class
    # of per class
    Percentage
    2017-2018 3/42 7%
    2016-2017 1/30 3%
    2015-2016 2/30 6%


    Graduation Rates (National accreditation standard: 60% over 2 years)

    Class
    # of per class
    Percentage
    2016-2017 29/30 97%
    2015-2016 28/30 93%
    2014-2015 29/30 97%


    Employment Rates (National accreditation standard: 90% over 2 years)

    Class
    Percentage
    2016-2017 Pending
    2015-2016 96%
    2014-2015 100%


    Ultimate Licensure Pass Rates (National accreditation standard: 85% over 2 years)

    Class
    # per class
    Percentage
    2017 27/28 96%
    2016 26/27 96%
    2015 29/29 100%

Accredited by CAPTE

CAPTE LogoThe Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Arkansas State University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org