May 16, 2021  
2020-21 Virginia Western Academic Catalog 
2020-21 Virginia Western Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapist Assistant, A.A.S.

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Associate of Applied Science

Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone; 703-706-3245; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Virginia Western Community College is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist assistant education program from CAPTE. The program is planning to submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on December 1, 2020. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the technical phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in technical courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.

Purpose:  The curriculum is designed to prepare selected students to become part of a skilled allied health care team that will provide physical therapy services under the direction of a licensed Physical Therapist.  Students are prepared as generalists, allowing them to enter a variety of clinical settings following graduation and licensure. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to the take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination.  A passing score on the examination is required to obtain a license to practice as a physical therapist assistant (PTA) and licensure is required in all 50 states to practice as a PTA.

Program Objectives: The program aims to empower students to become life-long learners and to graduate with the skills necessary to pursue a career as a Physical Theraptist Assistant. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to act as part of a healthcare team to provide skilled, high-quality, and compassionate care to the diverse population and community which they will serve. The program also aims to prepare students to successfully pass the National Physical Therapy Examination for PTAs. 

Student-specific objectives are as follows:

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Accurately, safely, and concisely perform the duties of an entry-level Physical Therapist Assistant through application of knowledge, skills, and techniques learned in didactic, lab, and clinical courses.
  2. Safely and effectively implement appropriate therapeutic interventions within the parameters of an established plan of care developed by a physical therapist and while remaining within the scope of practice and state law of a physical therapist assistant.
  3. Communicate effectively and professionally using verbal, written, and non-verbal communications with other healthcare providers, patients, family members, and caregivers while considering differing communication needs.
  4. Recognize the needs of the patient, family, and caregivers and document and address those needs appropriately.
  5. Explain the importance of involvement in and advocacy for the profession and of life-long learning and continuing education.
  6. Demonstrate ethical, legal, and professional conduct appropriate in a healthcare setting.

Admission Requirements: Admission to the AAS Physical Therapist Assistant program will be restricted, requiring an application to the college as well as a separate application to the program. Students interested in the program will first complete an application to the College. Individuals are eligible for admission to Virginia Western if they are high school graduates or the equivalent, or if they are eighteen years of age or older and able to benefit academically from study at the community college, as demonstrated by assessment in reading, writing, and mathematics.

Once accepted to Virginia Western, students interested in the PTA program must complete and submit the program specific application; submit official high school transcript showing completion of high school diploma or copy of GED scores; submit official transcripts from all colleges attended; and meet the program admission requirements outlined below:

  • The applicant’s high school or college (if applicable) cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be at least 2.75. College GPA is based on at least 12 credit hours in a 12- month timeframe. The GPA is determined at the end of the fall semester prior to spring deadline.
  • Complete the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) for Allied Healthcare at their own expense.

Admission Procedures: The Physical Therapist Assistant applicant is responsible for making certain that the following have been submitted, in addition to a current college application, by the February 15 deadline:

  • Completed program application form
  • Official high school transcript
  • Copy of GED scores if applicable
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended (VWCC and other Virginia community college transcripts are not necessary)
  • Completed the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) for Allied Healthcare (at student’s expense). Completed TEAS required of qualified applicants in March.

Qualified applicants (based on GPA and TEAS scores) will be invited for an on-campus interview and essay during the spring semester.

  • Final admission decisions will be based on GPA as well as scores on the TEAS, interview, and essay.
  • Applicants completing the interview and essay process will be notified by mail in May regarding fall admission.

The Physical Therapist Assistant application form and additional program information can be accessed from our website at Early application is encouraged for advising purposes.  Essential Physical Therapist Assistant Functions, Curriculum, and other information regarding the program can also be found on this page.

Applicants should be aware that meeting the curriculum admission standards does not guarantee program admission. Application materials must be submitted by the published deadline.

Developmental Requirements: Applicants must meet the requirements for admission to credit-level coursework established by the college.

English - Applicants must receive a placement recommendation for ENG 111  or have successfully completed all developmental English requirements.

Math - Students who do not demonstrate proficiency in MTE 1 , MTE 2 , MTE 3 , MTE 4 , and MTE 5  must have successfully completed all developmental Mathematics requirements

Program Notes:

This program is not currently approved by the appropriate accrediting body, please see disclaimer regarding accreditation status.

Individuals who have any convictions on their background check may not be permitted to take the national licensure exam. For questions regarding this issue, call the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy at (804) 367-4674 (or State Board of Physical Therapy for the state in which you plan to practice following graduation).

Clinical agencies may require that students have clear background checks and drug screenings completed at the student’s expense before beginning clinical rotations. A positive background check, drug screen, and/or felony conviction may dismiss the student from the program as the student may be unable to complete the required coursework.

Retention Policy: Satisfactory progress is demonstrated by achieving a grade of “C” or better in all curricular courses. Students will have the opportunity to petition for re-entry if withdrawn from the program due to academic failure.


Although this program is not designed for transfer, agreements with specific institutions may exist. Contact the Physical Therapist Assistant program head as listed on program webpage.

Prior to First Semester^

^Courses below should be completed by the end of Summer Semester.  Please review all Admission Requirements for this Program.

Total Minimum Credits for Degree: 69

1 Must be completed within 5 years of beginning the program.

2 The two credit SDV 108 will satisfy the SDV 101 requirement. SDV 108 is for developmental English students.

* This course has a requisite.


Note: Support courses (non-PTH courses) may be taken prior to entry.  BIO 142  must be taken and passed with a “C” or better prior to entering the second semester. Because curricular components build upon each other, all PTH courses must be taken in the term and sequence listed.

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