Physical Therapist Assistant Program | Lackawanna College

Physical Therapist Assistant

At A Glance

Two-year program with a focus on hands-on lab experiences.
100% employment rate for all graduates who have passed the national licensure exam.

Plenty of employment opportunities after graduation as the field is expected to grow between 2021 and 2031.

The median annual wage for physical therapist assistants was $61,180 in May 2021 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Available at the Scranton campus.

Welcome to Physical Therapist Assistant-Associate Degree

Want to help people gain their mobility and movement after an injury? Then Lackawanna College’s Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) associate degree program can help you achieve your goal. Under the guidance of a physical therapist, graduates can work with patients to strengthen their muscles, restore mobility and help people improve their quality of life.

Your Career Starts Here

The physical therapist assistant field is expected to grow by 32% over the next 10 years, which means graduates should be able to find jobs easily. With an associate degree, graduates can work at a variety of settings including:

  • Hospitals
  • Physical therapy clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehab facilities
  • Schools
  • Sports facilities

More About the Program

Physical Therapist Assistant program’s mission is to prepare individuals, regardless of their socio-economic status, past achievements, gender, national origin, age, race, color or creed, as entry-level, associate in 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 objectives are consistent with curriculum content and expectations set forth by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) related to expectations for an entry-level PTA. Lackawanna’s program prepares graduates to:

  • 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.
  • Define basic concepts of healthcare and the mechanics of providing healthcare services.
  • Sit for the National Licensing Examination.
  • Achieve the status of Licensed PTA, and skill level of an entry-level PTA.

The Course Work

Lackawanna’s program provides students with a well-rounded education that gives them classroom instruction and clinical experience.

Some of the classes students take include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medical Terminology
  • Introduction to PTA
  • Therapeutic Modalities
  • Orthopedic Rehab/Basic Skills
  • Functional Kinesiology
  • Organ & Admin of PTA
  • Clinicals

PTA Pathway Program with Harrisburg University

In February 2024, Lackawanna College (LC) and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU) entered into an agreement to have LC students enrolled in the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) associate degree program seamlessly transfer into the Harrisburg University Exercise Science bachelor’s degree program (BS) upon graduation. Under the dual admissions transfer agreement, LC students can transfer up to 56 credits into HU’s Exercise Science program. This agreement guarantees admission to HU for qualifying LC students if they meet specific criteria, including holding a PTA license and graduating from LC within the past year.  After earning their bachelor’s degree, students can further their education by applying to HU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) hybrid program.

The Harrisburg University PTA Pathway is a majority-online, asynchronous curriculum designed to meet the needs of a diverse student population utilizing a cost-effective approach. Students can pursue the Harrisburg degree remotely as they work in their field as PTAs, following a work-earn-learn model.

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Additional Information

Application Deadline

The Physical Therapist Assistant program operates on a rolling selective admissions process. Call 570-961-6100 ext. 1026 for more information. Priority consideration will be given to applications received by June 1. After June 1, applications will be reviewed as space becomes available.

The admissions selection process is based on the following criteria and requirements:

1. An Application to Lackawanna College along with a separate application to the Physical Therapist Assistant program. See links 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 the 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, waitlisted, 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)
  • Applicant reference form (Sent from 3 separate references directly to the PTA Program)
  • Clinical observation form (20 hours total from 2 separate and different clinical settings)

Please note: Lackawanna College is a veteran-friendly institution and veterans (as documented on the Lackawanna College Application) will be awarded 5 additional points on their admission rubric for the PTA Program. Please refer to the admissions rubric for any questions.

2. Must meet the college’s minimum requirements

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

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

Deemed college-ready as per LC Admissions Guidelines.

  • Please note that the Lackawanna College PTA program has a minimum requirement of a 2.5 GPA for consideration into the program.

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. 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.

Essays and subsequent writing samples will be assessed by core faculty as per the Essay Scoring Rubric (PDF).

6. Interviews and writing sample

Interviews and writing sample will be scheduled for qualified PTA program applicants who meet application/admission rubric requirements. Interviews and writing sample will be held with core faculty members of the program.

Interviews will be assessed by core faculty as per the Interview Rubric (PDF).

*Submission of a PTA application does not guarantee an offer of an interview. Invitation to interview does not guarantee acceptance to the program.

7. Attendance at PTA Program Open House / Informational Meeting or an individual meeting with the PTA Program Director or Admissions 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.

Informational sessions can be set up and scheduled individually with the PTA Program Director or Admissions on an as-needed basis IF the applicant is unable to attend any of the provided group sessions.

Application Forms

College application – Apply for Lackawanna College Admission | Lackawanna College

Applicant reference form (PDF) – Lackawanna-PTA-Professional-Reference-Revised39.pdf

Clinical observation form (PDF) – Lackawanna-PTA-Observation-Form-Revised8.pdf

PTA program application (PDF) – Lackawanna-PTA-Program-Application-Aug-2021-updated-Revised36.pdf

Note: All application materials available on this website are for informational purposes only and are not to be utilized for application to this program. If interested in applying to this program, please discuss next steps with your academic advisor or enrollment counselor to use our Epicor system for supplemental application submission.

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. 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.

PTA Goals

Program Goals

  • The program will accept a diverse group of highly qualified students for each cohort utilizing a holistic admissions process.
  • The program will provide resources, support, and opportunities for educational, professional and personal growth to enhance the practice of physical therapy.

Student Goals

  • Students and graduates will demonstrate behaviors, knowledge application, and critical thinking skills at the expected levels during the didactic and clinical portions of the curriculum.
  • Graduates will be successful in obtaining employment as licensed/certified PTAs who are prepared to assist the physical therapist in the rehabilitation of all individuals in their care.
  • Students and graduates will provide evidence-based treatment to all patients utilizing ethical principles of care.

Faculty Goals

  • The core faculty will maintain contemporary expertise to best model lifelong learning.

PTA Program Outcomes

Graduation Rate

Class of 2022 Class of 2023 Two-Year Average (from raw data/per AAR formula)
75% 54.55% 63%

Licensure Pass Rates

 Class of 2021Class of 2022Class of 2023Stabilized Two-Year Average
First Time69.2%100%67%84.6%
Ultimate100%100%Not Yet Stabilized100%

Employment Rate Post-Licensure

Class of 2022 Class of 2023 Two-Year Average
100% 100% 100%
Acredited By CAPTE - Verify Status

CapteValidation | APTA

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Lackawanna College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 570.961.6100 ext.1026 or email