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Program Mission, Philosophy and Goals

Program Philosophy and Purpose:

The purpose of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program is to provide an educational experience that will prepare graduates to become licensed physical therapist assistants. The Program is also committed to uphold the American Physical Therapy Association’s Code of Ethics and is guided by those principles in the educational process of its students. In order to achieve this goal, the curriculum is designed for the students to develop entry-level skills through didactic, laboratory courses and clinical experiences. The curriculum also provides a broad academic background that prepares students for societal changes.

The curriculum is guided by the recognition of the role of the physical therapist assistant as one who implements the plan of physical therapy care. Therefore, the curriculum, within its time constraints of the Associate degree, offers a wide variety of sequentially arranged courses which provides the students with the opportunity to develop skills and gain a broad background in the theoretical aspects of the profession. This experience, combined with the twelve weeks of clinical affiliation at two facilities, has produced graduates with strong entry-level competencies.

Recognizing the importance of the patient’s emotional needs and the role of the assistant as a provider of this support, the curriculum provides courses that enhance the students’ preparation in this area. The Program faculty are cognizant of the holistic needs of patients and serve as role models in the classroom and in their patient-care activities while in clinic.

In physical therapy, as in other health professions, new treatment techniques continue to promulgate. These rapid changes require continued reappraisal of the curriculum leading to revisions. Because of the advancements, students are made to realize the importance of lifelong learning to improve upon and up-date their patient-care skills. In order to best accomplish this continued growth, the students are encouraged to take an active role in their professional organization.

The Physical Therapist Assistant program faculty serve all students as role models for professional behavior, lifelong learning and professional development, and civic responsibility. Faculty demonstrate these concepts through active clinical practice, professional development activities, membership in professional organizations, and volunteerism.

All students have a right to an education that stimulates their curiosity and challenges their intellect. The PTA Program faculty are committed to student success and pursuit of excellence within the educational environment. Students will be encouraged to embrace the concept that learning is a lifetime experience, as well as a critical component of their continued professional development in the field of health care delivery.

Program Mission

The primary mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant program is to prepare entry-level physical therapist assistants who will work under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist to meet the needs of the community in a variety of clinical settings. Based on this mission, the faculty have developed a Program philosophy to guide decision making, and identified goals and objectives that help direct the implementation of this philosophy.

Program Details:

Program Outcome Statistics

PTA Student Financial Fact Sheet

Program Goals

  1. The Program will accept students for admission that have the best chance of success in the Program and the profession.
  2. The Program will provide educational experiences, including a comprehensive curriculum with current professional standards, to produce graduates with the skills required by the profession.
  3. The Program will provide a diversity of clinical and classroom experiences that support the development of cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills relevant to the physical therapist assistant profession and to produce quality graduates and physical therapist assistant professionals.
  4. The Program will produce entry-level physical therapist assistant graduates that are sought-after by employers.
  5. Program faculty will continually strive to improve teaching quality through participation in professional continuing education related to current advancements in physical therapy practice to their teaching topics.
  6. Program faculty will benefit from University course offerings to develop/advance program curriculum delivery methods or advance academic credentials.
  7. Program faculty are encouraged to maintain involvement in professional organizations.
  8. Program faculty will model volunteerism and community service.

Program Student Learning Outcomes/Objectives

  1. Program graduates will demonstrate an overall pass rate on the National Licensure Examination for the Physical Therapist Assistant of 85% over 2 years.
  2. Current physical therapist assistant students and Program graduates will indicate overall satisfaction with the quality of education and learning experiences in the Program.
  3. Students will demonstrate a progression of clinical competency by achieving at a minimum the standard established for each part-time and full-time clinical affiliation using the Clinical Performance Instrument including a minimum rating of entry-level on all skills during the final clinical rotation (PTH 321B).
  4. Program graduates will demonstrate and employment rate of 90% within 1 year of graduation averaged over 2 years.
  5. Program graduates will demonstrate competency in all psychomotor skills required at entry-level for the physical therapist assistant.
  6. Program graduates will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively with patients, patient’s family/caregivers, peers, and other healthcare corkers using both verbal and written communication required at entry-level for the physical therapist assistant.
  7. Program graduates will demonstrate competency in affective skills required at entry-level for the physical therapist assistant.
  8. Program graduates will demonstrate the knowledge (cognitive domain) required at entry-level for the physical therapist assistant.
  9. Program students and graduates will conduct themselves in an ethical and legal manner consistent with the profession.

Complaints That Fall Outside Due Process

The PTA Program welcomes comments, suggestions, ideas, and constructive criticism as part of continuous and systematic program evaluation and improvement. Any complaint or concern about the PTA Program or one of its policies, faculty, staff, or students is requested to be in writing.

If the nature of the concern falls into the possibility of a formal complaint to the program’s accrediting body, contact the Commission for Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) to discuss the nature of the complaint and to determine what procedures should be taken. CAPTE can be reached by phone at (703) 706-3245, email at, or by fax (703) 684-7343.

Complaints/concerns about a particular individual (faculty, staff, or student) should be addressed with that individual first. If the person with the complaint feels the situation remains unresolved, that the person should meet with their advisor or Program Director and submit a written statement of their concern. Written complaints may also be made to the Program Director via email at or the Director of the School of Health Sciences at If further action is necessary, the complaint/concern will be taken to the Director of the School of Health Sciences for further review and follow up. Complaints may be filed with any of the mentioned entities without fear of retribution.