The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) associate degree program prepares students to function in healthcare settings as an entry level practitioner within the boundaries and scope of practice of a physical therapist assistant and under the supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs practice in hospitals, school systems, private offices, home health agencies, industry, rehabilitation hospitals and nursing homes.
The program is offered through a collaborative arrangement between Capital Community College, Housatonic Community College, Manchester Community College, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Northwestern Connecticut Community College and Tunxis Community College. The A.S. degree is awarded by Manchester Community College. The two-year course of study begins in January and includes a minimum of 63 credits in science, mathematics, psychology, social sciences and humanities. Eight physical therapy courses, which have a strong foundation in the sciences and in professional practice standards, are also required. Twelve credits are earned during the final semester in clinical practicums. These are done in physical therapy clinics that are affiliated with this PTA program. Due to standards set by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), students are advised that the healthcare facilities to which they are assigned for clinical rotations may require that they submit to a criminal background check before beginning their clinical experiences. Manchester Community College cannot be responsible for finding an alternate clinical placement for a student who fails to pass the background check. A student who is unable to complete the required clinical experience will be unable to complete the requirements for the associate degree in Physical Therapist Assistant but may be able to apply some or all of the credits completed to an associate degree in General Studies. Students are advised to meet with an MCC counselor to discuss degree completion requirements. All physical therapy classes are held during the day at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury and the clinical practicums require 40 hours of attendance weekly throughout that semester. Non-professional courses will be taken at Manchester Community College.
Scholastic Preparation and Admissions Process
The PTA program relies on a selective admissions process that uses specific admissions criteria. These criteria are available through the admissions office in each college and include course work in algebra, chemistry or physics, and college level anatomy and physiology. Interested candidates will be expected to have a history of academic success, particularly with science courses. The student will need to demonstrate the skills necessary to become a PTA. The deadline for application is October 15 and classes begin in January each year. For more information about admission into this program, contact the Mathematics, Science and Health Careers division office at 860-512-2700.
One requirement for registration or licensure to work as a PTA is graduation from a program of education accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association. The Physical Therapist Assistant program is accredited by Connecticut’s Board of Governors for Higher Education and by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education/APTA, 1111 North Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA, 22314-1478, 703-684-2782.