Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

Degree Awarded: 
Associate of Applied Science Degree

Associate in Applied Science (AAS) programs are designed to provide preparation for entry level employment and are not intended for transfer. Certain courses in AAS degree programs may be accepted by a four year college or university for transfer credit in an associated field of study.

  • To learn more about the faculty and staff of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program, click here.
  • To see Jefferson College of Health Sciences Catalog, with the Physical Therapist Assistant section beginning on page 137, click here.

To view the Physical Therapist Assistant Program “Online Information Session” click here.

Following viewing of the Online Information Session, a short quiz must be taken and submitted (click here). These two components are part of the PTA Program application process. For further information regarding the admission requirements, please scroll down.

Clinical Education for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Current Jefferson College Physical Therapist  Assistant students and Clinical Instructors can click here to access forms and other information.

General Information

The Physical Therapist Assistant program blends classroom, lab, and clinical components into a two-year, five-semester Associate of Applied Science degree. This program includes three clinical rotations, each with a distinct focus. Graduates are eligible to take the state board licensing examination for the Physical Therapist Assistant in any state that offers this examination. A total of 76 hours are required for graduation. All who enter the course must be able to execute physical functions that are routinely required of the PTA.

The physical therapist assistant is a trained, paraprofessional health provider who, under the direction of a physical therapist, carries out the patient's treatment program. The physical therapist assistant, who follows the plan developed by the supervising physical therapist, is a vital member of the patient's healthcare team.

Responsibilities of the physical therapist assistant include: instructing patients in exercises and activities of normal daily living; performing treatments; utilizing special equipment; assisting in performing patient examinations, evaluations, and complex treatment procedures; monitoring and reporting the patient's reactions.

Program Mission: 

The mission of the program is to provide a curriculum which meets the needs of its students and graduate employers in its service area through quality didactic coursework and clinical education experiences that are reflective of contemporary physical therapy practice.  The program is committed to preparing competent, ethical and knowledgeable graduates who are life-long learners.

Accreditations: 

The Physical Therapist Assistant program of Jefferson College of Health Sciences is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, Phone: 703/684-3245, e-mail: mailto:accreditation@apta.org, website: http://www.capteonline.org.

History: 

In the late 1940s, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) House of Delegates anticipated growth in the physical therapy profession and examined the need for additional personnel to assist physical therapists. With the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, the need for this personnel was greatly increased. In 1967, the first two Physical Therapist Assistant programs were created. Today, the number of PTA programs outnumbers PT.

Career Outlook: 

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Overall employment of physical therapist assistants and aides is projected to grow 30 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy is expected to increase in response to the healthcare needs of an older population and individuals with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity. Overall employment of physical therapist assistants and aides is projected to grow 30 percent from 2016 to 2026.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the median annual earnings of physical therapist assistants in Virginia were  $54,990 in 2016. Mean hourly wage was $27.48. Also in 2016 the average annual salary for a PTA in Roanoke was $59,260. Mean hourly rate was $28.24.

Admission Requirements: 
  • Applicants are encouraged to use the College’s Early Action plan and submit their application by November 15. Applicants will hear an admissions decision no later than March 1.
  • GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • A portfolio supporting the applicant’s admission to the program should be submitted in paper format or an electronic version, but not in a hard binder. The portfolio should document the applicant’s experience, achievements, and growth. Any items that applicants consider to be representative of their efforts and achievements will be accepted, including personal statements. Common portfolio items may include but are not limited to: resume, healthcare exposure (identify profession; setting; paid, unpaid or as a patient; number of hours), community service including estimated number of hours, leadership experience, examples of performance excellence, sample works, honors, awards, special projects, and letters of recommendation.
  • Following review of the application for admission, grade point average and portfolio, selected applicants will be invited for an on-campus interview and essay to determine the final selection of of the class. Once invited to participate in the interview process, applicants must submit the following no later than January 1:
    - Documentation of attendance at an on-campus or online information session. The online PTA information session can be found here.

For more information about the PTA Program at Jefferson, or to submit portfolios, contact:
Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Admissions Office
101 Elm Avenue, SE Roanoke, VA 24013-2222
Attn: Stacy Pronko
E-mail: slpronko@jchs.edu
Phone: (540) 985-9766

Other Information: 
Program Outcomes

Graduates of the Physical Therapist Assistant program will be able to:

  1. Begin work as an entry-level Physical Therapist Assistant.
  2. Display ethical and professional behavior and awareness in patient care.
  3. Collect data on patient through interviews, observations, screenings, and the administration of prescribed tests and assessments within the scope of work of the Physical Therapist Assistant.
  4. Provide physical therapy services as specified in the plan of care prescribed by the Physical Therapist, including modifying treatment techniques as indicated with the plan of care and within the parameters of state law and the scope of work of the Physical Therapist Assistant.
  5. Perform in a safe and effective manner within the scope of work of the Physical Therapist Assistant.
  6. Appropriately interact with patients and families.
  7. Understand basic principles and levels of authority and responsibility as it relates to functioning as an entry-level Physical Therapist Assistant.
  8. Appreciate the responsibility for continued personal and professional growth and a
  9. Demonstrate appropriate and effective, written, oral and non-verbal communications.
Our Graduates

Surveys from employers of our graduates report very favorably that our graduates are rated for job performance relative to graduates of similar programs. They include comments on what our graduates demonstrate: 
 

  • Ability to research problems
  • Teamwork
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work well with staff and residents.
  • Good oral and written communication
  • Good interpersonal skills Similar results are shown regarding a graduate’s ability to meet entry-level job expectations and the employer’s overall satisfaction with the work-related performance of graduates.
Graduate Outcomes

As part of the accreditation standards of all PTA programs, each program is required to make outcome data from the previous two (2) years available to the public. Data required includes graduation rate, ultimate National Physical Therapy exam pass rate, and PTA employment within one (1) year of graduation. Jefferson College of Health Sciences results are as follows: 

  Graduation Rate Percentage of first-time National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) takers who passed the exam Ultimate NPTE pass rate Percentage of graduates employed within 1 year
2016 91.6% 84.9% 100% 100%
2015 90.9% 87.00% 100% 100%
CAPTE Accreditation