Frequently Asked Questions
Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Housatonic Community College and Naugatuck Valley Community College
What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?
Is the PTA program a stepping stone to a PT program?
Is there an organization for Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants?
What classes should I take in high school if I am interested in applying to a Physical Therapist Assistant program?
What is a consortium and what does that mean to admission to the program?
What's in it for you- how does the consortium benefit you?
When does the program start?
How many credits is the program?
Is the PTA program accredited?
Do PTA students go into clinical facilities as part of their training?
What career advancements are available for PTAs?
What are “Essential Requirements”?
How are Admission Decisions completed?
What can I do to improve my chances of getting accepter?
Do I need to do anything after the application is accepted as complete, after 10/15?
ONCE ACCEPTED INTO THE PROGRAM:
What is the schedule of PTA classes each semester?
Who do I contact?
A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a health care provider who works under the direction of a Licensed Physical Therapist to provide rehabilitative or preventative measures to individuals with physical impairments. The PTA uses exercise, heat, cold, electricity and other sources to assist clients in reaching their full potential. Much of the Physical Therapist Assistant’s time is spent helping patients to relearn activities of daily living.
In what settings do PTAs work? Physical Therapist Assistants work not only in hospitals, but also in sports-injury clinics, schools, burn units, outpatient clinics, extended care facilities, pools, neonatal units, rehabilitation centers, therapeutic horseback riding facilities and intensive care units. They even may make home visits for those who cannot leave their home to receive services.
The physical therapist assistant (PTA) is a valued member of the physical therapy team. Watch the You Can Be Me video!
In general, no. There are two "bridge" programs, one in California and one in Ohio, which allows PTAs to work while going to school on weekends. These programs award a Master's degree in Physical Therapy. PTA courses are undergraduate-level classes, so they don't meet the graduate degree requirements of PT courses. Additionally, there's not enough time in a PTA program to complete the prerequisite courses required by PT program.If you really want to be a DPT, it is recommended that you take our Math/Science Liberal Arts concentration and then transferring to a 4 year institution. You must have a BS/BA in order to apply to any DPT program. More information is available at: apta.org
Accreditation is the extensive review process conducted by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) to assure quality-both that the quality of your course work is high and that the program produces people qualified to serve the public. In order to take the licensure exam, you must have graduated from a CAPTE-accredited program. firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is a national professional organization representing more than 74,000 members. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapy practice, research, and education. For more information go to: http://www.apta.org/PTACareers/Overview/
If considering physical therapy or any health technology career, you should take Basic Math, Algebra, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, if possible. All of these will relate to procedures and techniques performed in the field of physical therapy. Also, strong English speaking and writing skills are needed since PTAs must teach patients (both verbally and in written home exercise programs), communicate with other health professionals, and document treatments in written formats.
The degree is being offered, through a collaborative arrangement between the following Community Colleges in CT:
- Housatonic (HCC)
- Naugatuck Valley (NVCC)
- Northwestern Connecticut
The person to contact at each of this schools is located at: Representatives from each consortium College
Each school has students admitted to the program. The PTA courses are held at Naugatuck Valley CC. If you are a Housatonic Community College Student, you remain that. Your home school does not change. The only thing you do at NVCC is take the PTA courses there. All other classes and registration, and other student management such as graduation and transcripts are from HCC.
Each school has a certain number of guaranteed spots in the PTA program. However, the ultimate decision is based on GPA.
- You'll meet even more students in your field.
- You can take general education courses at your home campus to minimize travel to Waterbury.
- You'll have access to statewide clinic-based internships, so you're more likely to find something close to home.
- You'll have more access to job opportunities since our graduates are distributed around the state.
All classes labeled PTA are taken at Naugatuck Valley CC and start in January of every year. Students will be advised of acceptance status by December 5th of each year.
- 67 credits over two years (or possibly more)
- 29 credits from arts and science courses, such as anatomy and physiology, mathematics, psychology, and social sciences.
- 38 credits from the 11 physical therapy courses
- 12 of those credits are earned in clinical education settings, completed in physical therapy clinics, which affiliate with the PTA Program.
- All physical therapy classes are held during the day, 2 - 2.5 days per week; and the clinical component requires 40 hours of attendance weekly in the final semester.
The Connecticut Board of Governors has licensed the Program for Higher Education. On behalf of the consortium of colleges, Naugatuck Valley Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Yes. There are a number of clinical experiences for students as part of their education. Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants provide supervision right in the physical therapy facility, which allows PTA students to work with patients one-on-one. Early in the program students observe and participate in simple procedures. When nearing graduation, students take part in full time clinical assignments where they are given more responsibility and carry out more advanced activities as they prepare for post-graduation employment.
There are currently three levels of formal educational preparation in physical therapy. Physical Therapist education is either the Master’s level or the Doctorate level, and the PTA education is at the Associate Degree level. There are very few programs in the country, which have been developed as career ladder programs for PTAs; however, a significant number of PTA graduates are accepted into PT programs with significant additional time and study.
The American Physical Therapy Association's goal for physical therapist education (not PTA) is to have the doctorate degree be the entry level degree for PTs by the year 2020, so most PT educational programs are working toward this goal.
Other types of career advancement include increased responsibility for patient care, increased education and experience in one or more specialized areas within physical therapy (such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, burn care), additional responsibilities for supervision of students or other personnel, development and/or marketing of new physical therapy programs, quality assurance and other administrative tasks.
What are “Essential Requirements”?
Certain abilities are considered essential for student success in program completion as well as fulfilling the job requirements of a physical therapist assistant. Students and potential students should carefully review these essential functions.
- This is a competitive selective admissions program. Your rank in the applicant pool will be based on your grades in the required admission courses and on your GPA.
- YOU CAN ONLY APPLY THROUGH ONE CONSORTIUM SCHOOL. 2 APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.
- There will be a total of 30 applicants (across all colleges) admitted each year. A student whose ranking exceeds the number of available slots will be placed on the waiting list for that year.
- Initial admission decisions will be made prior to Thanksgiving each year. A second round of admission decisions will be made at the start of the new year.
- Any student that is left on the waiting list at the start of the spring semester will need to reapply in the upcoming application cycle
There are a few things that will help:
a. HIghest GPA possible
b. Complete all of the General Education Courses prior to admission
There will be a mandatory Information Session held at NVCC for all applicants to the program. The application had to be accepted as complete and ready to be evaluated. This meeting is to review how the program will work and requirements for success in the program.
ONCE ACCEPTED INTO THE PROGRAM
Spring, 1st Year: Classes occur on Wednesdays and Fridays, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. (Although one morning will be free, depending on your scheduled PTA lab day)
Summer, 1st Year: One assigned week at a local physical therapy clinic, 30 hours per week.
Fall, 1st Year: Classes occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 am – 4:20 pm
Spring, 2nd Year: Classes occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, and an additional ½ day per week scheduled at an assigned physical therapy clinic.
Fall, 2nd Year:Clinic-related courses will meet Mondays through Fridays, 40 hours per week, at 2 different assigned physical therapy clinics.
Suggestions for Success in the PTA Program
- Allow yourself sufficient time for studying and practicing on campus – plan to spend an extra ½ day or full day on campus outside of class time. The skills and requirements become more challenging each semester – as a result, so will the time investment to be successful.
- Keep work hours to a minimum by pursuing additional financial support – students who work more than 20 hours per week often struggle or withdraw from the program
Who do I contact?
HCC PTA Program Coordinator:
Kathleen Cercone, PT, PhD
Director, Physical Therapist Assistant Program:
Kathleen Plunkett, PT, MS
203-596-2168, fax 203-575-8146