Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Physical Therapist Assistant

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

College: College of Nursing and Health Professions

Department: Physical Therapy


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.

Important News Related to A-State PTA Program at ASUMH

Dear Arkansas State University Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Students and Interested Students,

Our A-State PTA Program taught on the ASU-Mountain Home (ASUMH) campus will be discontinued after the currently enrolled cohort completes the program in May 2023. Importantly, all of our current PTA students on the ASUMH campus will be able to complete their program on the ASUMH campus as scheduled, with no changes in their plan of study, quality of education, or location. To repeat: current students will not be affected. No new ASUMH PTA cohorts will be admitted beyond today’s date; however, our current PTA students on the ASUMH campus will continue their program and graduate on schedule in May 2023, assuming that they meet all requirements.

On another very important note: This news only pertains to portion of the A-State PTA Program taught on the ASU-Mountain Home campus. Rest assured that there are no plans to discontinue our strong PTA Program taught on the A-State campus in Jonesboro. We encourage all interested students to apply to our A-State PTA Program in Jonesboro for admission to next year’s cohort or future years.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Dr. Scott Gordon, Dean
Dr. Stacey Sloas, Interim Chair, Department of Physical Therapy
Ms. Becky Keith, Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director, Department of Physical Therapy
College of Nursing and Health Professions

Arkansas State University


    Prerequisite Courses

    • Making Connections in Rehab Services (3 credits)
    • Composition I (3 credits)
    • Composition II (3 credits)
    • College Algebra or higher math (3 credits)
    • Anatomy & Physiology I (4 credits – must include lab)
    • US History (3 credits)
    • Introduction to Psychology (3 credits)
    • Physics (3-4 credits) (Survey of Physics or Physics I)

    Specific A-State course numbers, names, and descriptions can be found in the most current Undergraduate Bulletin.

    Visit the bulletins page >>

  • 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 March 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 emailed to:

    Becky Keith, PTA Program Director

    (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 volunteer 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 applicants (up to 30) are offered positions in the next cohort of PTA students on the Jonesboro campus, and the top applicants (up to 12) on the Mountain Home campus.

    Scored Criteria

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


    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 on both the Jonesboro and Mountain Home campuses. 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


    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 $800.00
    Required Lab Equipment $120.00
    Physical Exam & Immunizations (A-STATE Student Health Center) $440.00
    CPR Certification (for Health Professionals) $40.00
    Professional Liability Insurance $38.00
    Health Insurance (policies vary in price per year, rate listed is through A-State) $670.00
    Licensure Examination Fees (following graduation) $615.00
    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

    Curriculum, degree requirements, and course descriptions can be found in the most current Undergraduate Bulletin.

    Visit the bulletins page >>

  • 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 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 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 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 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: 


    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. 


    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. 


    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. Students will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to function safely, efficiently and effectively as entry-level physical therapist assistants under the direction and supervision of physical therapists and will demonstrate evidence of professionalism by following all legal and ethical guidelines including seeking opportunities to serve those in need in their communities. 

    2. Graduates will demonstrate clinical competence as entry-level physical therapist assistants under the direction and supervision of physical therapists in the Mississippi Delta region and beyond, work in a manner consistent with their state practice act and APTAs Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant and will pursue lifelong learning and/or service to the profession of physical therapy.

    3. Faculty will demonstrate a commitment to the physical therapy profession through activities of professional membership, contributions to the body of physical therapy knowledge, and service and advocacy for the clients and patients that are served. 

    4. The program will contribute to the development of faculty, alumni and the professional community by providing opportunities for professional growth.

  • 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:


    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. 


    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. 


    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


    CLASS OF 2024
    Applications Received

    Number of
    Ethnicity Age
    Average GPA
    12/39 Caucasian: 47
    Afr/Am: 1
    Hispanic: 2
    Dual: 1
    19-36 22.6 Master: 1
    Bachelor: 14
    Associate: 11
    8 Cumulative: 3.21
    Prerequisite: 3.42

    Acceptance Rates

    Class Accepted/Applied Percentage

    Jonesboro: 28/51



    Jonesboro: 30/60

    Mt Home: 12/16



    Jonesboro: 23/53

    Mt Home: 12/26



    Jonesboro: 30/82

    Mt Home: 12/39



    Graduation Rates
    (National Accreditation Standard: 60% over 2 years)

    Class # Per Cohort Percentage 2 Yr Average


    Jonesboro: 26/30

    Mt Home: 8/12



    2022-2023: 74%

    2022-2023: 58%


    Jonesboro: 13/23

    Mt Home: 6/12



    2021-2022: 78%

    2021-2022: 71%


    Jonesboro: 30/30

    Mt Home: 11/12



    2020-2021: 93%

    2020-2021: 83%


    Jonesboro: 26/30

    Mt Home: 9/12



    2019-2020: 92%

    2019-2020: 88%

    Ultimate Licensure Pass Rates
    (National Accreditation Standard: 85% over 2 years)

    Class # Per Cohort Percentage 2 Yr Average


    Jonesboro: 11/13

    Mt Home:  5/6



    2021-2022: 91%

    2021-2022: 82%


    Jonesboro: 28/30

    Mt Home:  9/11



    2020-2021: 95%

    2020-2021: 90%


    Jonesboro: 25/26

    Mt Home: 9/9



    2019-2020: 98%

    2019-2020: 100%


    Jonesboro: 29/29

    Mt Home: 12/12



    2018-2019: 96%

    2018-2019: 91%

    1st time Licensure Pass Rates
    (There is No National Accreditation Standard Currently

    Class # Per Cohort Percentage


    Jonesboro: 20/26

    Mt Home: 8/8




    Jonesboro: 10/13

    Mt Home: 4/6




    Jonesboro: 26/30

    Mt Home: 8/11




    Jonesboro: 21/26

    Mt Home: 7/9




    Jonesboro: 21/29

    Mt Home: 7/12




    Employment Rates*
    (National Accreditation Standard: 90% over 2 years)

    Class # Per Cohort Percentage 2 Yr Average


    Jonesboro: 11/11

    Mt Home: 5/5



    2021-2022: 100%

    2021-2022: 100%


    Jonesboro: 28/28

    Mt Home: 9/9



    2020-2021: 100%

    2020-2021: 100%


    Jonesboro: 25/25

    Mt Home: 9/9



    2019-2020: 100%

    2019-2020: 100%


    Jonesboro: 29/29

    Mt Home: 12/12



    2018-2019: 100%

    2019-2019: 100%


    Jonesboro: 26/26


    2018: 100%

    * Rates are gathered by self-report by those graduates licensed & seeking employment within 1 year of graduation.


Accredited by CAPTE

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Arkansas State University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, Please call Becky Keith, PTA Program Director; telephone: 870-972-2896 or email: beckeith@astate.edu

Accredited by Capte logo

With respect to code 668.43 (a)(5)(v):
The program has determined that its curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands secondary to its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, based on the following:
CAPTE accreditation of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant program satisfies state educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, students graduating from CAPTE-accredited physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website at www.fsbpt.org.