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: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.capteonline.org.
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 prosthetic devices, 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 individuals who are physically challenged, ill or injured; and enjoy a physically active job.
The Lackawanna College PTA program received full accreditation status by CAPTE in spring of 2013. The program is a two-year 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.
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 who give back to the community.
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 caregivers, colleagues, and the public in a manner that reflects an appreciation of the worth of an individual, the 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 the status of Licensed PTA, and skill level of an entry level PTA.
- The program will accept highly qualified and capable students for each cohort.
- 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 have a high retention rate.
- The program will graduate highly qualified and capable students who will represent Lackawanna College and the PTA program.
- 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.
- Program graduates will be successful in obtaining part-time or full-time employment related to the physical therapy field within 6 months of graduation.
- The core faculty will participate in non-profit fundraising opportunities and/or community service opportunities to educate and enhance wellness in the public.
- The core faculty will maintain contemporary expertise with clinical practice or by attending continuing education courses.
Admittance into the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Lackawanna College is based on a selective admissions process with an enrollment of a maximum of 18 students per cohort. 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.
Admissions for the PTA Program are rolling. Therefore, applications will be considered as they are received. Please refer to the admissions rubric (PDF) for rolling selective admissions timeline. Qualified applicants will be invited for final interviews. Following the interview process and a holistic evaluation/assessment of each candidate, applicants will receive a letter with a final determination of acceptance, wait listed or denied status. Items needed to complete the application process /packet include the following and are further explained below on this page:
- Lackawanna College’s online application (Hardcopy applications available upon request)
- Physical Therapist Assistant application (including 2 designated essays described within the application) (PDF)
- Applicant reference form (Sent from 3 separate references directly to the PTA Program) (PDF)
- Clinical observation form (20 hours total from 2 separate and different clinical settings) (PDF)
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
When applying to the Lackawanna College PTA Program, a student must prove that he or she is capable of completing this rigorous program with proof of previous success in studying the Sciences. This can be done in one of three ways:
- The student has completed Biology, Chemistry, or Anatomy and Physiology in high school within the past three years with a passing grade of C or better. An official high school transcript must be sent to Lackawanna College as evidence of this.
- The student has completed a three (3) or four (4) credit college level course eligible for transfer within Lackawanna College in Biology, Physics, Chemistry, or Anatomy and Physiology with a passing grade of C or better (B- or better in 4 credit Anatomy and Physiology required to be considered for transfer directly into the PTA program). An official college transcript must be sent to Lackawanna College as evidence of this.
- If neither of the above scenarios applies, a student must enroll in a college level Biology, Physics, Chemistry, or Anatomy and Physiology course before applying to the PTA program. If a student is currently enrolled in this course while in the process of applying to the PTA program, the student may receive probationary acceptance while completing this course. Evidence by way of an official college transcript must be received confirming completion of the course with a grade of C or better for official entry into the Fall semester of the PTA program. Should the applicant either not complete the course or not receive the requisite grade, he or she will then forfeit the seat within the PTA program.
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 the 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 the submission of the application packet. Please follow all formatting instructions in full.
Interviews will be scheduled for qualified PTA program applicants who meet application/admission requirements and who submit a fully completed application packet.
*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.
Students may only transfer in college credits for the following PTA program core courses and only if accepted by the College for direct transfer. Please refer to the PTA Application (located in the “Admissions Process and Criteria” section) for full requirements for transfer of the following courses:
- 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.
The Physical Therapist Assistant degree program is currently offered only at Lackawanna College’s Lake Region center in Hawley.