Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical Therapist Assistant

You are compassionate, observant, and a great communicator. Physical therapist assistants communicate with patients and physical therapists to ensure treatments are improving patient movement and pain management. They accept the physical, active requirements of the job to demonstrate exercises to patients, assist them with tasks, and perform massages and stretches on them. Enroll in the Physical Therapy Assistant program at Central Piedmont and earn a physical therapist assistant Associate of Applied Science.

What You Will Learn

Physical therapy assistants find careers in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient centers, orthopedic clinics, school systems, geriatric healthcare facilities, and home health agencies with such duties as helping improve or restore function or alleviating or preventing physical impairment under the supervision of physical therapists.

In our physical therapy assistant program, you will learn a range of knowledge from human anatomy and physiology to the consequences of disease and injury. Coursework identifies the most effective methods to maintaining patient care and treatment plans. You will practice patient screenings, such as muscle testing, musculoskeletal measurements, symptom identification, and gait analysis. Your therapeutic techniques include hot and cold compression, massage and stretching, posture training, ultrasound, and electrical simulation. You will also practice how to measure and record these items. You will gain hands-on, proper training to prepare to working alongside a therapy team to provide treatments for a variety of patient conditions. Upon completion of the program, you will be able to:

  • accurately, thoroughly, concisely, and legibly record treatment sessions in SOAP format
  • instruct a patient and/or caregiver in activities to be performed, including in a written home program, in a clear and concise manner
  • employ safety measures during all patient interventions
  • implement all appropriate therapeutic interventions safely and effectively, within the parameters of an established plan of care developed by a physical therapist

Graduates are eligible to take the physical therapist assistant National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for licensure in whichever state they plan to work in.

Attend the Health Professions and Human Services Open House

Why Choose Central Piedmont

In our program, you immediately dive into training. Beginning in the second fall semester, you complete four clinical education courses. You will sped 40 hours per week in clinical facilities during those courses to apply learned skills under the supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.

The physical therapist assistant program at Central Piedmont is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

CAPTE

1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
telephone: 703.706.3245
email: accreditation@apta.org
website: capteonline.org.

If you need to contact the program/institution directly, please call 704.330.6958 or email health.sciences@cpcc.edu.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

The Details

  • Program Options

    Earn a physical therapist assistant Associate in Applied Science. The college catalog details the physical therapist assistant program options currently available at Central Piedmont as well as program eligibility and course requirements. If you would like information on opportunities to transfer associate degree credit to a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Resource Center.

    Visiting Students

    If you wish to transfer physical therapist assistant course credit back to your home institution, explore how to enroll at Central Piedmont as a visiting student.

    Corporate and Continuing Education

    Central Piedmont's Corporate and Continuing Education provides non-credit, non-degree courses and programs, including job skills, industry-focused career training, certificates, certifications, professional licensure, and personal enrichment. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available.

    College and Career Readiness

    If you are looking for programs to gain the knowledge or skills necessary to finish a high school degree or to get a job, visit Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness.

    College Credit for High School Students

    Visit Career and College Promise to learn about opportunities for high school students to earn college credit at Central Piedmont.

  • Physical Therapist Assistant Program Requirements and Application

    The physical therapist assistant program requires the completion of 75 credit hours completed full-time in five consecutive semesters (two years). The curriculum includes general studies courses as well as program-specific courses. Students in the program must achieve a grade of 74% or greater in program courses. For detailed information on physical therapist assistant course and program requirements, visit the Central Piedmont Community College catalog. While awaiting your admissions decision, you are encouraged — but not required — to complete general education courses. All general education courses, medical terminology (MED 120), anatomy and physiology II (BIO 169) and proof of computer competency must be completed by the end of the first fall semester after being admitted in order to progress in the program. There a time limit for expiration of BIO 168 and BIO 169: each class is looked at separately, and each of them must be fewer than five years old at the time of application. Program courses begin in the fall after you are admitted into the program and take a total of four semesters to complete. Program courses are not available during the summer session.

    Clinicals

    It is typically not possible to complete the program while working full time at the same time. Included in the curriculum are four clinical education courses beginning in the second fall semester. All four clinical affiliations consist of a time commitment of 40 hours a week in clinical facilities. Individual clinicians take on the job of converting your classroom knowledge to the ability to care for their clients in health care facilities; your education is not complete without this exposure to real patients. Clinicians generously offer time and expertise to students but do not receive any financial reward for their efforts. You will not receive payment during clinicals. The second fall and spring short session courses require a substantial amount of time in classroom and lab.

    All applicants are required to undergo a criminal background check and drug screen per clinical agency and healthcare system requirements. More information on how to complete these requirements will be provided upon acceptance. If you are refused access to clinical experiences because of a positive criminal background check or drug screen, you will be unable to complete the clinical component of the course. Inability to complete the clinical requirements will result in a failure to progress in the program. Under North Carolina law some people with criminal backgrounds may be eligible for an expunction to remove charges or convictions from their record. If you would like to know whether or not you are eligible, contact Central Piedmont's Single Stop at 704.330.2722, ext. 6435 or email singlestop@cpcc.edu to schedule a legal consultation. To learn more about expunctions, explore the NC Justice Center’s guide.

    Physical Therapist Assistant Program Application

    The physical therapist assistant program's admissions is competitive, accepting one class of 32 students once a year. All the students accepted into the program in any one year progress through the program together. Admissions decisions are based on the TEAS test, past academic experience in select courses, and work experience in a physical therapy department (if applicable). The courses are offered in a specific order so that each course can build on the information learned in the ones before it. If you need to leave the program before you complete it, you will have to apply for admission with a new group of students.

  • Locations

    Central Campus

    Program courses are only available during the day on weekdays and are not available over the summer. Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm where courses are available using Schedule Builder.

  • Course Delivery Methods

    • Classroom/Lab/Clinical
    • Combined (Classroom/Lab/Clinical and Online)

    Program courses are only available during the day on weekdays and are not available over the summer. Please note that course offerings and availability are subject to change from semester to semester. Always confirm which courses are required to complete this program in the college catalog and confirm course delivery methods using Schedule Builder.

  • Physical Therapist Assistant Careers

    Licensure is required in North Carolina and most states in the US. Upon graduation from the program, you be eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for licensure. Today, physical therapist assistants provide health care services to patients of all ages and health conditions in a variety of settings, including outpatient clinics or offices, hospitals, Inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing, extended care, or subacute facilities, homes, schools, hospices, industrial, workplace, or other occupational environments, and fitness centers and sports training facilities. Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for detailed physical therapist assistant career requirements and opportunities, salary information, and job openings.

  • Costs and Aid

    Central Piedmont provides real-world, affordable, hands-on education and career training. Learn how much it costs to attend Central Piedmont. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

    Physical Therapist Assistant Program Costs

    In addition to regular tuition and fees, there are laboratory fees assigned to courses with a lab/clinical component. Additional costs include textbooks, workbooks, medical fees for a physical exam, and drug screening and immunizations.

    Total estimated costs (PDF)

    Physical Therapist Assistant Scholarships

    In particular, students interested in the physical therapist assistant program should consider the following scholarships. Please note that many scholarships are managed by organizations outside of Central Piedmont.

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