• About
  • Academics
  • Admissions
  • Student Affairs
  • Continuing Education
  • Show Nav
    Lackawanna College


    Physical Therapist Assistant

    The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Lackawanna College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Va., 22314. Email: accreditation@apta.org; Website: www.capteonline.org.

    Degree information

    The physical therapist assistant (PTA) works under the supervision of a physical therapist in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health facilities.  Physical therapists evaluate patients, plan treatment programs, and may delegate parts of those programs to physical therapist assistants, while completing other parts of the program themselves.

    Guided by the physical therapist’s plan of care, the PTA may use specialized equipment to administer treatments to accomplish the therapist-generated rehabilitation goals, including the application of heat, cold, light, sound, and electricity.  The PTA may also administer therapeutic exercises, ambulation training, and train patients in the use of artificial limbs, braces, and various aids in an effort to maximize function and facilitate the rehabilitation process. A student considering entering the field of PTA should have a demonstrated aptitude for the sciences; interact well with others; have an interest in working with physically challenged, ill or injured people; and enjoy a physically active job.

    The Physical Therapist Assistant  Program is a 2-year (5 semesters) program that combines both traditional classroom-based education and 720 hours of clinical field experience in preparation for the student to enter this profession as an entry level skilled PTA.  The student will graduate with an Associate of Science Degree and be eligible to sit for the national licensure exam.

    Program mission

    The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Lackawanna College is to facilitate the preparation of individuals regardless of their socio-economic status, past achievements, gender, national origin, age, race, color or creed, as entry level, Associate of Science degree-earning physical therapist assistants. These individuals will be compassionate and caring lifelong learners who will provide evidence-based ethical treatment to assist the physical therapist in the rehabilitation of all individuals in their care. The program will strive to provide students with a diverse educational setting allowing for academic excellence and to become socially, culturally, and professionally well-rounded clinicians and individuals.


    The  PTA program’s objectives are consistent with curriculum content and expectations as set forth by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) related to expectations for an entry-level PTA.

    Lackawanna  College’s PTA Program is designed to prepare graduates who

    • Apply knowledge of basic and evidence based PT sciences to the application and appropriate modification of selected PT procedures.
    • Interact with patients, the patient’s family members or care givers, colleagues, and the public in a manner that reflects appreciation of the worth of an individual, appropriate response to cultural differences, and an understanding of the psychological and social effects of illness and injury.
    • Demonstrate appropriate and effective written, oral and non-verbal communication with patients, the patient’s family or caregivers, colleagues, and the public.
    • Recognize their own strengths and limitations, interpret for others their scope and function, and understand the need for continued lifelong education and growth.
    • Always demonstrate a commitment to safe, ethical, and legal practice.
    • Understand basic concepts of healthcare and the mechanics of providing healthcare services.
    • Will sit for the National Licensing Examination.
    • Achieve status of Licensed PTA, and skill level of an entry level PTA.


    • The program will look to accept 18 highly qualified and capable students each fall term who will represent Lackawanna College, the PTA program, and of Physical Therapist Assistant profession to the best of their capabilities.
    • Students and graduates will demonstrate professional, legal, and ethical behavior in all academic and clinical settings.
    • Students and graduates will correctly apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge related to practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant.
    • Students and graduates will competently perform intervention component and data collection skills in clinical settings, and appropriately modify components of intervention within the guidelines of a plan of care established by a Physical Therapist.
    • One hundred percent of the College’s PTA program graduates will be successful in obtaining full-time employment related to the physical therapy field within 6 months of graduation.
    • The program will provide adequate resources needed to support the student – including resources related to financial aid assistance, faculty advising, mentoring, counseling, tutoring, along with adequate equipment, classroom and laboratory space, clinical facility, faculty, and technology to enhance the student’s learning.
    • The program will enhance the practice of physical therapy in our community by providing opportunities for educational, professional and personal growth.
    • The program will look to have a retention rate of 75 percent or higher for each academic semester per individual cohort of accepted students.
    • The program will look to graduate 18 highly qualified and capable students who will represent Lackawanna College, and the PTA program.

    Admissions criteria and process

    Admittance into the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Lackawanna College is based on a selective admissions process with an enrollment of 18 new students per year based on the number of qualified applicants. The admissions selection process is based on the following criteria and requirements:

    1. An Application to Lackawanna College along with a separate application to Physical Therapist Assistant program.

    Links for application forms are available below.

    The application deadline for the Physical Therapist Assistant Programs is March 1 of each calendar year (deadline may be subject to extension). All documents must be submitted or post marked by the listed deadline date to be fully considered. All completed application packets will be reviewed following the March 1 deadline and qualified applicants will may be invited for final interviews. Following the interview process a final selection of students to be offered placement into the program will be made. Items needed to complete the application process /packet include the following and are further explained below on this page:

    2. Must meet the college’s minimum requirements

    The applicant must submit proof of high school or GED completion with official high school transcript or GED equivalent.

    Lackawanna College will determine the applicant’s current academic ability based on a combination of following:

    • SAT or ACT test scores, if applicable
      • Recommended SAT scores-450 Verbal and 450 Math.
      • Recommended ACT scores-20 or higher in each relevant section.
      • Most scores are valid up to three (3) years from test date.
      • College Transfer Credits
      • If transferring credits from another college/university, official college transcripts are required. Transfer credits must be at least 2.33 or greater to meet PTA program academic standards.
    • Placement Test (Accuplacer)
      • Applicants without valid SAT/ACT scores and who have not previously earned college credits will be required to take the ACCUPLACER exam for determination of current academic ability. Applicants must achieve ‘College Ready’ scores in Reading, Writing, and Math to be considered qualified for the PTA Program.
      • Should a student need one or move developmental or introductory courses based on placement scores, the needed classes would have to be completed prior to entry into the initial academic term for the PTA program. If not completed prior to the initial academic term, the student would not be eligible to proceed into the PTA program, but would be eligible to reapply for the following year.

    3. Completion of a Prerequisite Biological/Science course

    If this course is completed in high school, the course must be no more than 3 years old from the time the course was taken to the time of application for the PTA Program.

    If the course is a college level course, then the course must be eligible for transfer to Lackawanna College and passed with a C- or better. Anatomy and Physiology (4 credit), Medical Ethics (3 credit), and Medical Terminology (1 credit) must be passed with a B- or better to be eligible to be transferred directly into the PTA program.

    • May include Biology, Physics, Chemistry, or Anatomy and Physiology
    • If Anatomy and Physiology is used as the prerequisite course, it must be taken as a four (4) credit course including lab to be eligible for transfer into the PTA program.

    Completion of a science course at either the high school or college level must again be evidenced in the form of an official high school or college transcript. The science course prerequisite may be in progress while the student is in the process of applying to the PTA program. The applicant may receive a probationary acceptance to the program while completing this course. Evidence by way of an official transcript then must be received confirming completion of the class with an acceptable grade for official entry into the Fall semester of the PTA program. Should the applicant either not complete the class or not receive a C or higher within the class then their seat within the PTA program would be forfeit and another applicant may be offered this position.

    4. 20 hours of clinical observation

    It is required that applicants observe or “job shadow” in more than one type of PT setting. The applicant must have 2 completed and signed confirmation sheets received by program by the application deadline for an application packet to be considered complete. The Lackawanna College PTA program only expects that you are a “Passive Observer” while job shadowing within a PT setting. The program does not expect nor does it condone applicants participating in any direct patient care.

    5. Two program essays

    Program essays are described within the separate PTA program application. The essays must be completed as specifically instructed within the application and received with submission of the application packet. Please follow all formatting instructions in full.

    6. Interviews

    Interviews will be scheduled for qualified PTA program applicants who meet minimum application/admission requirements and who submit a fully completed application packet with all that is received by March 1st deadline.

    *Submission of a PTA application does not guarantee an offer of an interview.

    7. Attendance at PTA Program Open House / Informational Meeting or an individual meeting with the PTA Program director or Program ACCE will be required prior to the beginning of the fall term.

    Several dates and times will be made available to allow students, parents or legal guardians, and working individuals to attend, and will be posted periodically on the PTA Program web page.

    Informational sessions can be set up and scheduled individually with the PTA program director or Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education on an as needed basis, IF the applicant is unable to attend any of the provided group sessions.

    Transfer of Courses into the PTA Program

    Students may only transfer in college credits for the following PTA program core courses and only if accepted by the College for direct transfer. These include the following:

    • College Writing (3 credits)
    • Computer Applications (3 credits and taken within the last five (5) years)
    • Anatomy and Physiology 1 (4 credits)
    • Medical Terminology (1 credit)
    • Medical Ethics (3 credits) *
    • Effective Speaking (3 credits)
    • College Algebra or equivalent higher level math (3 credits)
    • Introduction to Psychology (3 credits)

    * It is recommended that these courses be taken within the PTA program due to course content taught towards or related to the PTA profession.

    All other courses within the PTA program curriculum and designated with the course code initials (PTA) must be taken within the Lackawanna College PTA program and are not eligible for transfer.

    Graduation Rates

    • Class of 2015: 18 students matriculate into program, 15 graduates (83.3%)
    • Class of 2014: 15 students matriculate into program, 13 graduates (86.6 %)
    • Class of 2013: 16 students matriculate into program, 15 graduates (93.3 %)

    Licensure/Certification Rates

    • Class of 2015: Overall licensure/certification exam pass rate 14/15 (currently 93% lifetime pass rate)
    • Class of 2014: Overall licensure/certification exam pass rate 9/14 (currently 64% lifetime pass rate)
    • Class of 2013: Overall licensure/certification exam pass rate 12/14 (currently 86% lifetime pass rate)

    Employment Rates Post-Licensure/-Certification

    • Class of 2015: Students passing licensure/certification exam obtaining employment within 6 months of graduation – 100%
    • Class of 2014: Students passing licensure/certification exam obtaining employment within 6 months of graduation – 100%
    • Class of 2013: Students passing licensure/certification exam obtaining employment within 6 months of graduation – 100%

    Acceptance and Matriculation Rates

    (Maximum class size for the College’s PTA program is 18 students)

    • Class of 2016: 20 students accepted 20 students matriculated into program
    • Class of 2015: 18 students accepted, 18 students matriculated into program
    • Class of 2014: 18 students accepted, 15 students matriculated into program
    • Class of 2013: 18 students accepted, 16 students matriculated into program

    The Lackawanna College Physical Therapist Assistant program received full accreditation status by CAPTE in spring of 2013.

    View the curriculum guide (for students beginning in Fall 2016) – PDF

    The Physical Therapist Assistant degree program is currently offered only at Lackawanna College’s Lake Region center in Hawley.