Degree/Certificate: Associate in Applied Science
HEGIS Code: 5219
SUNY Code: 0489
Major Code: PTA
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work under the supervision of a physical therapist (PT). Following examination and evaluation, the physical therapist designs individualized treatment plans for patients and clients. The PTA helps in providing these treatment interventions, reporting the patient’s progress and response to treatment to the PT as well as documenting in the patient’s medical record. PTAs help patients achieve relief of pain and improved movement and function through physical therapy interventions which may include therapeutic exercise, functional training and physical therapy modalities such as heat, hydrotherapy and electrotherapy.
Employment opportunities are available in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, government agencies, private clinics, home-care and other settings.
The NCCC Approach
NCCC’s PTA program is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1488, (703) 684-2782 or (800) 999-2782. Upon successful completion of the PTA program, students are eligible to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination (NPTAE) and be certified in New York State. For a small fee, the score on the NPTAE is transferable to other states that require the examination.
The NCCC program includes both theory and practice as well as extensive clinical experience in a variety of Western New York health care facilities. The program consists of four (4) semesters of classroom and laboratory instruction plus three (3) full-time clinical education courses. Prior to attending each clinical education course, the student is required to demonstrate competency in the clinical skills learned in the classroom.
Participation in clinical education courses may involve driving distances as far as outer Niagara, Erie, Genesee, and Orleans counties. Students must provide their own transportation to and from clinical sites.
For more information, prospective students are invited to view the NCCC PTA program website at www.niagaracc.suny.edu.
Admission & Curriculum Change Requirements
Students will be considered for admission to the PTA program when all of the prerequisites have been completed. The PTA prefix courses are sequential in nature, so students may only begin the program in the fall semester.
All applicants must meet the following admission requirements:
- High school diploma or equivalency diploma.
- Mathematics and science courses as follows:
Successful completion with an 80% or higher in high school mathematics through Course II or Course A or Integrated Geometry or at least a grade of C in MAT 110 or a higher level mathematics course(s).
Successful completion with an 80% or higher in high school biology or at least a C grade in BIO 109 (with lab) or BIO 117 (with lab) or BIO 213 (with lab).
Successful completion with an 80% or higher in high school physics or at least a grade of C in PHS 101 or PHY 131 (with lab).
- Applicants will be tested for academic foundations in reading, writing and mathematics. To be accepted into the program, applicants must earn the minimum required score on these tests or pass the academic foundations course listed below.
|If below the required score in
||Will need to pass
||MAT 012 or MAT 023 or MAT 046
These academic foundations courses do not count toward the degree.
Applicants who have questions regarding their qualifications should contact the Admissions Office at 614-6200. Applications are accepted beginning September 1 for the subsequent year’s entering freshmen class.
- Persons who previously attended NCCC and would like to apply to the Physical Therapist Assistant program should contact the Admissions Office.
- Students who are currently attending NCCC and are not matriculated in a program, and would like to apply to the Physical Therapist Assistant program, should also contact the Admissions Office.
- Students who are currently attending NCCC and are matriculated in another program, and would like to apply to the Physical Therapist Assistant program, should contact Student Development.
Requirements to Remain in the Program
Once accepted into the Physical Therapist Assistant program, continued matriculation is contingent upon:
- An acceptable student physical examination. Health records including a physical exam, immunizations and blood work must remain current for the entire period of enrollment in the Physical Therapist Assistant program. The student is responsible for all costs related to the physical examination. Because of the nature of the profession, students need a moderate degree of strength because of physical exertion required in assisting patients with their treatment. In some cases, assistants need to lift patients. Frequent kneeling, stooping and standing for long periods are also part of the job.
- Certification in Basic Life Support and Advanced First Aid Responding to Emergencies must be completed prior to the first clinical education course. This requirement may be fulfilled through successful completion of HED 214 or an equivalent program offered by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or National Safety Council. Certification must remain current throughout the program. Online courses are not acceptable.
- Abiding by all academic and clinical education policies.
- Obtain a minimum of a C grade in all PTA and BIO courses.
PTA Course Grading Policy: A student must earn a minimum C grade in all PTA prefix courses. A “C” grade is a score of 75 percent in PTA courses.
Minimum Grade in Anatomy and Physiology for Physical Therapist Assistant Students: A minimum C grade in Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 213 and BIO 214), Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratories (BIO 213L and BIO 214L) and Neuroanatomy and Physiology (BIO 215) must be earned for successful completion of the Physical Therapist Assistant program and to continue onto the next sequential PTA and BIO courses.
Repeat Policy: In the sequence of the Physical Therapist Assistant courses a student who fails (less than C grade) may repeat only one course in the sequence. A student who is failing at the time of withdrawal from one of these courses (W grade) or withdrawal from the College (X grade) may repeat only one of these courses in the sequence. This policy does not affect a student who is passing one of these courses at the time of withdrawing from the course or the College.
If a student fails PTA 112 on the first attempt and then passes PTA 112 on the second attempt, he/she must pass all remaining PTA prefix courses on the first attempt; the student may not repeat any other PTA course.
If a student is failing PTA 112 at the time the student withdraws from PTA 112 or from the College and then passes PTA 112 on the second attempt, he/she must pass all of the remaining PTA prefix courses on the first attempt; the student may not repeat any other PTA course.
All prerequisite Physical Therapist Assistant courses must be successfully completed before progressing to the next sequential Physical Therapist Assistant course(s).
Matriculated Status: All students matriculated in the Physical Therapist Assistant program must begin PTA 110, 111, 112 and 116 their first semester of matriculated status. If students do not begin these PTA courses their first semester of matriculated status, they will lose matriculated status and must reapply to the program.
Students must maintain continuous registration in Physical Therapist Assistant, prerequisite and corequisite courses, to remain matriculated in the Physical Therapist Assistant program.
- Any student who fails or withdraws from any PTA prefix course or any prerequisite courses or corequisite courses that are necessary for continuing in the Physical Therapist Assistant program will lose matriculated status in the Physical Therapist Assistant program.
- Any student who does not register the following consecutive semester for the next Physical Therapist Assistant course(s) or any corequisite courses that are necessary for continuing in the Physical Therapist Assistant program will lose matriculated status in the Physical Therapist Assistant program.
Students will be advised of their options if they lose matriculated status.
Standard of Ethics Policy: When a student is unable to provide safe physical therapist assistant care of patients and/or does not meet the ethical standards of the physical therapist assistant profession in the clinical education setting, the Physical Therapist Assistant clinical coordinator, upon recommendation from the Physical Therapist Assistant clinical faculty, will remove said student from the clinical education component of the Physical Therapist Assistant course. Unsafe care is defined as “placing the patient/family in clear and present danger.” These students are not eligible for re-admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant program.
Five-Year-Course Policy: If a student has taken a course or courses with a PTA or BIO prefix five or more years before enrolling in a subsequent PTA or BIO course, the coordinator of the Physical Therapist Assistant program shall have the right to require that the PTA or BIO course/courses be repeated.
The mission of the NCCC Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program is to serve the Western New York region by providing high-quality preparation of physical therapist assistants, who, under the direction of a physical therapist, administer physical therapy interventions in a compassionate, legal, safe, and effective manner. The program curriculum content, learning experiences, and assessment processes serve to prepare students for entry level PTA positions as well as for lifelong learning within the ever-changing health care environment.
Goals of the Program
- The program will provide academic preparation of graduates capable of meeting the regional workforce need for PTAs. (Related program outcomes 1, 2, 3)
- The program will prepare graduates who possess entry-level or better clinical skills to work under the direction of a physical therapist. (Related program outcomes 6, 9, 10, 11)
- The program academic and clinical faculty will provide learning experiences reflective of current practice in a variety of health care settings, and build knowledge of the importance of evidence-based practice. (Related program outcomes 4, 5)
- The program academic and clinical faculty will foster professionalism in graduate interactions with patients, clients, families and other health care providers and staff. (Related program outcomes 7, 8)
- The program will offer a learning environment which will prepare graduates for participation in opportunities for continued professional growth and development. (Related program outcomes 12, 13)
- The pass rate for graduates on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) will be 85%, or better overall, averaged over two years.
- 85% of graduates will be rated overall above average or better on employer surveys.
- For those seeking employment, 90% of graduates will be employed within one year of their graduation, averaged over two years.
- Students will rate clinical education faculty as above average or higher for provision of a learning experience reflective of best physical therapy practices at least 60% of the time.
- Students will rate PTA academic faculty as above average or higher for provision of a learning experience reflective of best physical therapy practices at least 60% of the time.
- Clinical education faculty will rate academic preparation of students for best physical therapy practices as above average or higher at least 70% of the time.
- All clinical education faculty will have a record of participation in at least one activity of professional development, continuing education, or community service within the past two years.
- All academic faculty will have a record of participation in at least one activity of professional development, continuing education, or community service within the past year.
- Students will rate the PTA classroom and laboratory equipment as above average or higher at least 60% of the time.
- Program faculty will rate the PTA classroom and laboratory equipment as above average or higher at least 60 % of the time.
- Clinical education faculty will rate the knowledge and ability of students to use facility equipment as above average or higher at least 60% of the time.
- At least 90% of students in their final clinical education experience will plan on participation in professional development, continuing education, or community service activities within a year of graduation.
- At least 50% of graduates will have participated in professional development, continuing education, or community service activities within a year of graduation.
Program Learning Outcomes
The NCCC PTA program student will demonstrate the following characteristics, skills and capabilities:
- Demonstrate professional communication skills in interactions with patients, family members, the physical therapist and other health care delivery personnel
- Demonstrate sensitivity to individual and cultural differences in all aspects of physical therapy services
- Exhibit conduct that reflects a commitment to meet or exceed the expectations of health care recipients and members of the profession of physical therapy
- Participate in patient status judgments by recognizing the appropriate responses to interventions provided within the plan of care and reporting changes to supervising PT and requesting patient re-examination or revisions to interventions
- Instruct aides, volunteers, peers and coworkers using established techniques, programs and instructional materials
- Demonstrate competence in performing specific data-collection techniques as delegated by the supervising PT and uses information from data collection to progress patient interventions
- Implement delegated interventions to achieve the short- and long-term goals and outcomes identified in the plan of care
- Implement the delegated interventions within the plan of care established by the PT, monitors the patient response and responds accordingly. Adjust interventions within the plan of care established by the PT in response to patient clinical indications and in compliance with state practice acts, the practice setting and other regulatory agencies. Recognize when intervention should not be provided due to changing clinical conditions, and defer to the PT
- Use data collection and communication to participate in determining a patient’s progress toward specific outcomes as established in the plan of care by the PT
- Provide services under the direction of the PT in primary, secondary and tertiary settings
- Supervise the physical therapy aide in patient-related activities as delegated to the aide by the PT and non-patient care activities, as defined by the policies and procedures of the practice setting. Provide accurate and timely information for billing and reimbursement purposes
- Demonstrate a commitment to meeting the needs of the patients and consumers
- Participate in career development based on self-assessment, performance appraisals, work setting and special interests and recognize the role of the PTA in the clinical education of PT and PTA students, and prepare to assume that role
NCCC Program Statistics:
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Niagara County Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 716-614-6422 or email email@example.com. Accredited through 2026.
- Graduation rate: Average for years 2016-2018: 61.9%
- Licensure examination ultimate pass rate: Average for years 2011-2018: 100%
- Employment rate: 100% of graduates (who sought employment) were employed as PTAs within one year of graduation