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Career and Technical Studies
Degree: 
Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant with a major in Physical Therapist Assistant
Length: 
Five-Semester (Two-Year) Program
Purpose: 

The two- year program is designed to prepare the student with the philosophical, theoretical, and clinical knowledge to become a trained technical health care worker who can assist the physical therapist in meeting the physical therapy needs of the public.  These needs include, but are not limited to, improving patient mobility, relieving pain, lessening the functional limitations that occur as a result of physical disability.  The profession of physical therapy also includes health and wellness promotion, public education, and injury and disability prevention.

Occupational Objectives: 

Graduates work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist to provide such interventions as exercises, massage, electrical stimulation, paraffin baths, hot and cold packs, traction, or ultrasound.  They also record the patient’s response to treatment and report this to the supervising physical therapist.

Employment settings include:  outpatient clinics, acute care hospitals, long-term care and skilled care facilities, rehabilitation centers, home health care agencies, contracting agencies and corporations, and school systems.  Patients range in age from newborn to the elderly, with age- and developmental stage-specific concerns.

 For more in-depth information including job outlooks and prospects as well as average salaries, please consult the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition.

Instructional Model:

The Wytheville Community College Physical Therapist Assistant Program was founded in 1986 to provide the students of western and southwestern Virginia a new career opportunity in the field of physical therapy.  It accepts students from a region extending from Roanoke westward requiring that students travel to the main campus in Wytheville for lectures and labs.

Clinical education sites are situated in physical therapy practices throughout southwestern and western Virginia, northeastern Tennessee, northwestern North Carolina, an d southern West Virginia.

All general education co-requisites for the PTA program and any developmental coursework may be taken at the student’s local community college.  All physical therapist assistant classes are taken through enrollment at WCC and the AAS degree  in Physical Therapist Assistant is offered through WCC.

Transfer Information:

This five-semester program is designed as a terminal degree program.  Program-specific courses taken as requirements for the AAS degree in Physical Therapist Assistant will not transfer toward a degree in physical therapy.  Students interested in becoming a physical therapist should contact a counselor or advisor to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree in a related field in preparation for entering a physical therapist education program as a graduate student.  Program specific courses taken toward the AAS in Physical Therapist Assistant are likely to not transfer toward a bachelor’s degree in any other field and would need to be considered by the transferring institution.

Graduate Performance Expectations:

Click this link for a comprehensive listing of skills that graduates of the WCC PTA Program will have upon graduation.

Program Quick Facts:

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Wytheville 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:  accreditation@apta.org; website:  http://www.capteonline.org.

In the interest of public disclosure, the Wytheville Community College Physical Therapist Assistant Program provides data regarding the combined performance of its graduates from the most recent three years.  This data for the classes graduating in 2010,  2011, and 2012 are as follows:

  • Graduation rate: (Number of students completing the program within 3 years of beginning PTA program courses):         
    • Class of 2010:  88%
    • Class of 2011:  74%
    • Class of 2012:  95%
  • Licensure Examination Ultimate Pass Rate for Classes of 2010-2012:  81.91%
  • Employment rate of licensed graduates for Classes of 2010-2012:  100%

Admissions Procedures:

THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT PROGRAM PARTICIPATES IN THE WYTHEVILLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE HEALTH PROGRAMS’ SELECTIVE ADMISSIONS PROCESS. In the event that there are more applicants for the PTA program than there are slots, a selective admissions process outlined below will take effect.  DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING ALL REQUIRED INFORMATION TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ADMISSION IS FEBRUARY 15 OF THE SPRING BEFORE THE DESIRED FALL SEMESTER ADMISSION.

The following MINIMAL ADMISSION REQUIRMENTS must be met by February 15 in the spring prior to the desired fall admission:

  • Student must complete a Wytheville Community College General Student Application. This application is available online at www.wcc.vccs.edu or in paper format from the WCC Admissions Office at (276) 223-4701.  Application must be received by Feb. 15.
  • Student must forward to WCC an official transcript of any and all college work previously attempted and/or completed by February 15.  The student must ALSO forward to WCC an official high school transcript or copy of the student’s GED by February 15. Students currently enrolled in high school at the time of application for admission should forward to WCC a copy of their high school transcript through the fall semester of the senior year.  Transcripts should be sent as early as possible so that previous course work can be evaluated to determine the need for developmental courses prior to applying for admission to the PTA program.
  • Competency in English and Math Essentials MTE 1-4 as demonstrated through the placement and diagnostic tests, or by satisfactorily completing the required MTE units or equivalent.
  • Satisfactory scores in English and Algebra I by taking placement tests at WCC or equivalent college course work.
  • Student must have completed one high school Biology with a lab with a minimum grade of “C”, or the student must have successfully completed BIO 20.
  • Student must have completed one high school Chemistry with a lab with a minimum grade of a “C”, or the student must have successfully completed CHM 01.
  • All Developmental coursework must be completed prior to the February 15 admission deadline.
  • The student must have an overall minimum GPA of 2.0 for all college or high school work attempted.  If the student has completed > 12 semester credit hours of college-level work, the college GPA will be used in calculating the student’s admissions score.  If the student has completed <12 semester credit hours of college-level work, the high school GPA will be used in calculating the student’s admissions score. Because grades for courses taken during the spring semester of the application process will not be available during the student’s application assessment, all GPA calculations will be based on work completed through the fall semester preceding the February 15 deadline.
  • Student must complete twelve (12) shadowing hours with a physical therapist or a licensed physical therapist assistant in a physical therapy practice of the student’s choice PRIOR to Feb. 15.  The student may choose to complete the shadowing hours in one facility or in several, and the student may choose to perform more than the minimum number of hours required in order to have a more thorough knowledge of the field of physical therapy.  Students should make the arrangements for the shadowing experience at a facility of their choosing at the convenience of the facility.  The student should log the hours spent in the shadowing experience and should have their supervising clinician sign the log to verify the experience.  Shadowing log forms are available from the WCC Admissions Office at (276) 223-4702  or you may use a form of your own choosing.  Documentation of the shadowing experience is due in the WCC Admissions Office by Feb. 15.
  • Student must take a pre-admissions screening test through WCC.  The student must contact Donna DeHaven in the WCC Testing Center at (276) 223-4707 or by e-mail at ddehaven@wcc.vccs.edu to set up an appointment to take the Health Occupations Basic Entrance Test, Version Five (HOBET V).  This is a web-based test that will cost the student a nominal fee payable via credit or debit card directly to the testing company on-line.  The HOBET V test will assess the student’s competency in high school level reading, high school level grammar, high school level Math up through Algebra I, and high school level general sciences.  Tests may be taken at alternate sites, however, the student MUST make arrangements and schedule the test through the WCC testing center.  Further information on the testing is available from the WCC Admissions Office at (276) 223-4702. For the purposes of admission to the WCC PTA program, there is no “passing” or lowest possible score on the HOBET V  test.  The score is merely added to the selective admissions score.  Therefore, the higher the HOBET score, the more points toward the admissions score.  The HOBET V test must be completed in time for the scores to be reported to the WCC Admissions Office by February 15.
  • Student must complete a Health Programs Admissions Form by February 15.  This form identifies the student as an applicant for one of WCC’s Health Programs and includes a checklist of required criteria for each program.  These applications are available in paper format from the WCC Admissions Office at (276) 223-4702.  Currently the Health Programs Admissions Form is not available online.
  • All students meeting the above requirements by the February 15 deadline will be scheduled for an admissions interview with the PTA program faculty.

 

Following the completion of the interview, each application will be scored on items ranging from overall and science GPAs, HOBET  test performance, completion of college-level science classes, and knowledge of the field of physical therapy communicated in the interview.  The top scores will be offered admissions slots for the upcoming fall semester.

Students will be notified by approximately May 1st prior to the fall of admission of their admissions status.  Students who are accepted for admission must notify the WCC Admissions Office of their intention to accept or decline the offered slot by the deadline listed on their admission letter.  Failure to do so will result in the loss of that slot to an alternate.

Students who are not accepted into the program must notify the WCC Admission Office of their intent to remain in the Admission Pool for the following year’s admission.  If they wish, these students may also schedule and appointment with PTA faculty to discuss ways to improve their application.

Students who fail to submit any of the required material to the WCC Admissions Office by the February 15 deadline will NOT be considered for admission for the following fall semester.  THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS.  The WCC PTA program will establish only ONE admission deadline, as there are frequently many more applicants than available slots.  Students submitting materials late may be considered for admission for the following year if they wish.  It is HIGHLY recommended that students applying to the PTA program begin the admissions process early and check frequently with the WCC Admissions Office to ensure that their application is complete well before the February 15 deadline.  It is not the duty of the WCC Admissions Office to notify applicants of incomplete application packets or missing information. Making sure that the admissions packet is complete is the SOLE responsibility of the applicant.

Program Requirements:

  • Upon admission, the student must schedule a complete medical physical examination and return the completed physical form to the WCC Admissions Office by August 15.  Included in this information must be a current record of the student’s immunizations including all recommended childhood vaccines, immunization against Hepatitis B or waiver, current tetanus immunity, chicken pox and mumps immunity, and proof of HIV status.
  • Students will be required to complete a criminal background check prior to enrollment in the program and a drug screen to be completed in the spring semester of the first year.  These screens and checks will be provided to the student through WCC at a nominal fee to the student.  It should be noted that applicants who have been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors of a personal injury nature will have considerable difficulty in obtaining professional licensure in a health care field.  Students with a history of illegal substance abuse indicated by criminal conviction or by positive drug screens will also have difficulty obtaining professional licensure. 
  • Students will achieve and maintain certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (Health Care Provider) throughout the course of the program, beginning in the spring of the first year.
  • Students will take all program courses in the order that they are offered and are expected to complete all courses successfully prior to moving forward.  Students MUST complete BIO 141 with a grade of “C” or better prior to enrolling in the second semester of the program.  Students MUST complete BIO 142 with a grade of “C” or better prior to enrolling in the summer term between the second and third semesters of the program.
  • In order to progress through the program, all students must receive a final grade of “C” or better in all courses with a PTH prefix and in BIO 141 and BIO 142.  Students who do not receive a final grade of “C” or better in these courses will be ineligible to continue in the program and will be withdrawn.  In addition, for all PTH classes that have a lab component, each student must earn an overall average of 75 points in both the didactic and the laboratory portion of the course to successfully complete the course.  Students who do not earn a 75 in both portions of the course will be considered to have failed the course and will be ineligible to continue in the program, regardless of their average in the other portion of the course.
  • If a student must leave the program due to poor academic performance, or because of personal reasons, he or she may apply for reinstatement according to the following procedure:
  • The student must apply in writing to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Head at least ONE semester before the requested readmission date, requesting permission to repeat the course in which they received a grade lower than a “C”.  For students who left the program for reasons other than academics, they should request permission to re-enter the program at the point where they last successfully completed work.
  • The student requesting re-entry must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the time of the request.
  • Confer with the PTA Program Head, discussing the following subjects:
    • Any personal or professional factors which may have an influence on the student’s future academic success in the program
    • Any academic or professional activities that the student may have participated in since leaving the program that may have an influence on the student’s future academic success in the program
  • There must be an available open slot in the program.

Normally the student will be notified of his or her re-admission to the program approximately 4 weeks prior to the beginning of the re-enrollment date.  However, special circumstances may arise requiring shorter notice.

During the time that the student is not enrolled in the PTA program, he or she may elect to complete co-requisite work or other college courses; however, performance in these courses will be part of the student’s overall GPA and may influence readmission.  Having taken the co-requisites for the program will not influence the decision to readmit the student to the program, other than the influence these courses may make on the student’s overall GPA.  If a student has been withdrawn from the program due to a grade lower than a “C” in BIO 141 or BIO 142, the student must successfully complete these courses prior to re-admission. 

Clinical Education Requirements:

Prior to beginning the clinical education portion of the program, the following criteria must be met:

  • The student must purchase professional liability insurance to cover their practice in the clinic.  This insurance is available at a nominal cost from WCC and is attached as a fee to the tuition for the clinical education courses.
  • The student must sign a waiver freeing the clinical site, Wytheville Community College, the Virginia Community College System, and the Commonwealth of Virginia from any liability for any injury the student may receive or from any liability claim that the student may incur, while engaged in the clinical portions of the physical therapist assistant program.
  • The student must have a current physical examination.
  • The student must read and agree to, as is evidenced by their signature, the rules and regulations of the WCC Physical Therapist Assistant Program as outlined in the Student Handbook.
  • The student must read and acknowledge capability in all areas of the Physical Therapist Assistant Essential Functions, as indicated by the student’s signature.
  • The Student must hold a current CPR (Healthcare Provider) Certification.
  • The student must provide the college with a current immunization record including evidence of completion of the Hepatitis B immunization series or a waiver, current tetanus immunity, chicken pox and mumps immunity, and proof of HIV status.
  • The student will be required to complete a criminal background check prior to enrollment in the program and a drug screen to be completed in the spring semester of the first year.  These screens and checks will be provided to the student through WCC at a nominal fee to the student.
  • If a student has a positive finding on the Criminal Background Check and/or the Urine Drug Screen, the student may not be accepted for clinical education by any of the clinical education sites.  If positive results occur, the program is not responsible for finding a clinical education placement for the student, and the student may not be able to continue his or her education in the program due to a lack of clinical education sites which are willing to accommodate the student.  It then becomes the student’s sole responsibility to locate a clinical education site that is willing to accommodate the student, after having been fully informed of the findings of the screen(s).   The student is referred to the Student Handbook for specific policies and procedures that apply to positive results on the Criminal Background Check and/or the Urine Drug Screen.            

Accreditation:

The Physical Therapist Assistant program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association

The following list is a suggested sequence in which students may plan their class schedules to ensure graduation in two years.

Course Sequence: 
Course Number Course Title Lect. Hrs. Lab Hrs. Course Cr.
First Semester
BIO 141 Human Anatomy & Physiology 3 3 4
ENG 111 College Composition I 3 0 3
PSY 2301 Developmental Psychology 3 0 3
PTH 105 Intro. to Physical Therapy 1 4 3
PTH 110 Medical Reporting 2 0 2
SDV 100 College Success Skills 1 0 1
Suggested Credits & Hours for Semester 13 7 67
Second Semester
BIO 142 Human Anatomy & Physiology 3 3 4
PTH 115 Kinesiology for the Phys. Ther. Asst. 2 4 4
PTH 121 Therapeutic Procedures I 3 4 5
PTH 151 Musculoskeletal Structure and Function 3 4 5
Suggested Credits & Hours for Semester 11 15 18
Summer Term
PTH 131 Clinical Education I 0 10 2
PTH 210 Psychological Aspects of Therapy 2 0 2
PTH 227 Pathological Conditions 3 0 3
Suggested Credits & Hours for Term  5 10 7
Third Semester
PTH 122 Therapeutic Procedures II 3 4 5
PTH 225 Rehabilitation Procedures 3 4 5
PTH 226
Therapeutic Exercise 3 2 4
Suggested Credits & Hours for Semester 9 10 14
Fourth Semester
PTH 245 Professional Issues 3 0 3
PTH 251 Clinical Practicum I 0 15 3
PTH 252 Clinical Practicum II 0 20 4
Elective2 Humanities/Fine Arts 3 0 3
Suggested Credits & Hours for Semester 6 35 13
Total Minimum Credits Required for this Curriculum 68
Notes: 

1PSY 231-232, Lifespan Human Growth and Development 1 & 11 (both necessary) may be substituted for PSY 230.
2Courses may be chosen from the Transfer Humanities Electives.

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