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Harper College

Associate in Applied Science

Become a Physical Therapist Assistant

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  • Physical Therapist Assistant

Get ready for a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) with this 68-credit-hour degree program.

Learn how to provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Get experience treating patients of all ages with various medical conditions. Take classes in human anatomy, medical terminology, therapeutic modalities, advanced interventions, manual techniques for the physical therapist assistant and more. Courses are taught by skilled instructors who are extremely knowledgeable in the physical therapy field.

Upon completion of the program, you’ll be eligible to take the National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE) for licensure as a PTA.

This is a limited-enrollment program. Please review this program's admission criteria and process.

A.A.S. degree program plan

This 68 credit-hour Physical Therapist Assistant degree program prepares the student to provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist, treating patients of all ages who present with various medical conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be eligible to take the National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE) for licensure as a physical therapist assistant (PTA). The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Harper 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: accreditation@apta.org, website: www.capteonline.org.

If needing to contact the program coordinator directly, please call 847.925.6861 or email rgura@harpercollege.edu.

Because of the nature of clinical experiences and individualized instruction required in this program and specialized technology and the equipment necessary to offer this program, a higher tuition rate is assessed for career-specific courses including courses with the PTA prefix. Students pay 1.5 the regular rate of tuition.

Admission Requirements:

For admission requirements, please contact the Admissions Outreach Office at 847.925.6700 or visit: harpercollege.edu Students who apply for this limited enrollment program are obligated to meet current admission requirements and follow program curriculum as defined at the time of acceptance to the program.

PREREQUISITES:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, ENG and HSC coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 260 1 4 Program Requirement

Description:  Introduces the anatomy of the human body; the following systems studied either regionally or systemically: integumentary, skeletal, articular, muscular, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, digestive, excretory, endocrine and reproductive. Includes some introductory histology. Specially designed for students in health careers, biology, and physical education. Strongly recommended preparation: One year of high school biology with a grade of C or better taken within the last five years, or BIO 110. (NOTE: Lab science credit.) Formerly BIO 160. IAI BIO 920C

Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 101. english-placement-grid.php

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

ENG 101 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 096 with a grade of P or other placement options: english-placement-grid.php ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

HSC 112 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Emphasizes the origin and the basic structure of medical words, including prefixes, suffixes, word roots, combining forms and plurals. Offers pronunciation, spelling, and definition of medical terms based on the body systems approach. Emphasis on rendering a professional vocabulary required for work in the health care field.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

Mathematics2 3 AAS General Education
SPE 101 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

SUMMER SESSION:

A grade of C or better in all PTA coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
PTA 111 3 Program Requirement

Description:  Applies biomechanical principles and analysis to human movement. Focuses on appendicular skeleton, upper extremity, and lower extremity osteokinematics and arthrokinematics. Instructs in assessment of gait and gait deviations.

Prerequisite: Admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant program.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PSY 101 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Investigates human and animal behavior with emphasis on the scientific nature of contemporary and classic psychological investigation. Emphasizes psychological theories, principles, and research applications. Introduces the divisions of the American Psychological Association. References biological processes, sensation, perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, mental disorders, intelligence, aptitude, personality, development, daily life and everyday problems. IAI S6 900

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

FIRST SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all BIO, HSC and PTA coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 261 1 4 Program Requirement

Description:  Emphasizes physiological principles at the molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and system level, as they pertain to the human organism. The following systems are studied in detail: skeletal, muscular, circulatory, nervous, digestive, respiratory, urinary, reproductive and endocrine. In this course, special applications will be made to meet the needs of students in health careers, biology and physical education.(NOTE: Lab science credit.) Formerly BIO 161. IAI BIO 920C

Prerequisite: BIO 260 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 101 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Introduces student to Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) as a career. Defines the role of a PTA in the health care system. Provides students with opportunities to observe physical therapy evaluations and treatments for patients with various diagnoses. Introduces techniques for documentation and review of medical records. Discusses billing procedures and third-party payers. Reviews Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Patient Bill of Rights, American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics.

Prerequisite: PTA 111 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 105 4 Program Requirement

Description:  Prepares students to address the needs of patients with orthopedic conditions and injuries in a clinical laboratory course. Introduces students to manual muscle testing, strengthening interventions, gait training, and wheelchair mobility. Addresses interventions for compression wrapping and therapeutic taping. Examines the use of prosthetics and orthotics for rehabilitation intervention. Applies clinical problem solving skills and develops ability to modify treatment techniques for optimal outcomes.

Prerequisite: PTA 111 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 120 1 Program Requirement

Description:  Examines the use of common therapeutic exercise and fitness techniques in the context of physical therapy practice and services. Instructs in therapeutic exercise to improve range of motion, flexibility, strength, and endurance. Focuses on exercise progression and regression for musculoskeletal conditions. Examines the effect of surgical intervention on exercise tolerance and progression.

Prerequisite: PTA 111 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 140 1 Program Requirement

Description:  Introduces the student to the foundations and principles of interventions as they apply to physical therapy. Also addresses entry-level healthcare skills. Focuses on patient positioning and draping, transfers, standard precautions, levels of assistance, safety and body mechanics.

Prerequisite: PTA 111 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

SECOND SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all PTA coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
PTA 115 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Instructs in application and documentation of manual techniques for palpation, joint mobilization and stretching. Demonstrates techniques for correctly documenting manual techniques.

Prerequisite: PTA 101, PTA 105, PTA 120 and PTA 140 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 160 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Utilizes Clinical manifestations to study common disease processes and identify their implications when performing physical therapy intervention.

Prerequisite: BIO 261, PTA 101, PTA 105, PTA 120 and PTA 140 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 201 4 Program Requirement

Description:  Describes common cardiopulmonary diagnoses in a clinical laboratory class. Introduces students to principles of skilled intervention and progression of intervention. Focuses on advanced treatment techniques for aerobic capacity training and airway clearance techniques. Provides instruction on safe functional training for activities of daily living and plyometric activities. Explains recognition of wounds of various etiologies. Presents strategies for repositioning, pressure relief, and edema management.

Prerequisite: BIO 261, PTA 101, PTA 105, PTA 120 and PTA 140 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 205 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Introduces therapeutic modalities as they are applied to patients in a clinical setting to alter physiologic processes and decrease pain. Focuses on indications, precautions, and contraindications for use of each modality. Instructs students on safe techniques for application.

Prerequisite: BIO 261, PTA 101, PTA 105, PTA 120, and PTA 140 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 210 4 Program Requirement

Description:  Introduces students to neurologic dysfunction and to provision of interventions including therapeutic exercises, neuromuscular re-education, developmental training, and postural awareness in a clinical laboratory course. Focuses on maintaining static and dynamic balance, correct body mechanics for therapist and patient during exercises and transitional movements. Applies clinical problem solving skills and develops ability to modify treatment techniques for optimal outcomes.

Prerequisite: BIO 261, PTA 101, PTA 105, PTA 120, and PTA 140 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

SUMMER SESSION:

A grade of C or better in all PTA coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
PTA 130 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides students with a clinical experience, supervised directly by a licensed PT or PTA with focus on gaining hands-on treatment experience in a clinical environment in a pass/fail course. Addresses communication skills such as documentation and patient interview. Provides students with opportunity to develop clinical problem solving skills. This course is graded using a pass/fail grade mode.

Prerequisite: PTA 115, PTA 160, PTA 201, PTA 205, and PTA 210 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 215 2 Program Requirement

Description:  Develops students' critical thinking skills to determine appropriate interventions for patients of all ages and complexities.

Prerequisite: PTA 115, PTA 160, PTA 201, PTA 205 and PTA 210 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 220 1 Program Requirement

Description:  Examines the use of common advanced therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular re-education interventions, and aerobic conditioning techniques in the context of physical therapy care and services. Instructs in therapeutic exercise for the cardiopulmonary and neurological patient as well as various special populations.

Prerequisite: PTA 115, PTA 160, PTA 201, PTA 205 and PTA 210 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

THIRD SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all PTA coursework is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits Category
PTA 208 1 Program Requirement

Description:  Presents considerations for treating pediatric, bariatric, and geriatric patients and those with multiple co-morbidities. Focuses on treatment strategies for each classification of patient. Introduces interventions for common congenital diseases, diabetes, amputations, and the aging process.

Prerequisite: PTA 130 with a grade of P and PTA 215 and PTA 220 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 225 1 Program Requirement

Description:  Continues to develop student’s understanding of Physical Therapist Assistant scope of practice and professional code of ethics. Prepares student to sit for professional licensing exam upon graduation. Instructs student in preparation for job search.

Prerequisite: PTA 130 with a grade of P and PTA 215 and PTA 220 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 230 4 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides students with a clinical experience, supervised directly by a licensed PT or PTA with focus on implementing treatments and modifying interventions in a clinical environment in a pass/fail course. Addresses communication skills such as documentation and interacting with other disciplines in the health care team. Presents students with opportunity to develop clinical problem solving skills. Provides students with experiences to begin to transition from PTA student to entry-level clinician. This course is graded using a pass/fail grade mode.

Prerequisite: PTA 130 with a grade of P and PTA 215 and PTA 220 with grades of C or better.

Corequisite: PTA 208 and PTA 225.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

PTA 235 7 Program Requirement

Description:  Provides students with experiences to transition from PTA student to entry-level clinician at the culmination of this course while being supervised directly by a licensed PT or PTA with focus on independently implementing treatments and modifying interventions in a clinical environment in a pass/fail course. Continues to address communication skills such as documentation and interacting with other disciplines in the health care team. Provides opportunity for students to demonstrate entry-level clinical problem solving skills. This course is graded using a pass/fail grade mode.

Prerequisite: PTA 208 and PTA 225 with grades of C or better and PTA 230 with a grade of P.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

SOC 101 + 3 AAS General Education

Description:  Analysis and description of the structure and dynamics of human society. Application of scientific methods to the observation and analysis of social norms, groups, inter-group relations, social change, social stratification and institutions. This course meets the World Culture and Diversity graduation requirement. IAI S7 900

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

1 - Must be completed no earlier than five years prior to beginning the PTA program. Time requirement may be waived for direct patient care providers with a minimum of a two-year allied health degree.

2 - MTH 103 is recommended for students planning to complete a PTA to DPT bridge program in the future. MTH 101 or higher with a grade of C or better may be substituted.

+ - This course meets the World Culture and Diversity graduation requirement.

Resources

Next steps

For more information about the physical therapist assistant program at Harper College, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form.

Last Updated: 4/8/24