Physical Therapist Assistant AAS

Program Description

A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a healthcare provider working under the direction of a Physical Therapist. The PTA is involved in the treatment of individuals with muscular, skeletal, cardiopulmonary, and nervous system disorders. The PTA may also be involved in injury prevention or programs specifically targeted toward individual or group wellness. The PTA is able to provide physical therapy services as specified in a care plan developed by a Physical Therapist. Treatment program implementation may include therapeutic exercise, ambulation training, activities of daily living, and administration of physical agents such as heat and cold.

Craven Community College’s Physical Therapist Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Provide intervention established by the PT in a safe manner, minimizing risk to patients, self and others.
  • Provide appropriate instruction to patients, family, caregivers, and other professionals to achieve patient goals and outcomes as described in the plan of care by the PT.
  • Develop a plan for continuing education and/or career development that incorporates evidence-based practice.
  • Demonstrate the ability to meet the entry-level job responsibilities of a PTA which includes: academic and clinical preparedness; punctuality; following PT directives; and ensuring safety, privacy and confidentiality of patients.

Admission Criteria

Physical Therapist Assisting is a selective admission program. To be eligible for admission, students must:

  • Submit a Physical Therapist Assisting Application by the designated deadline;
  • Math high school GPA must be 2.8 or higher within 10 years of enrollment at Craven CC or complete all developmental requisites to be eligible for MAT 110 & BIO 168.
  • English high school GPA must be 2.8 or higher within 10 years of enrollment at Craven CC or complete all developmental requisites to be eligible for ENG 111.
  • Have completed a high school or college/university level chemistry class with a grade of “C” or better;
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. If you have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours with Craven CC, and have not attended another college/university since completing those hours, we will use the Craven GPA. If you have attended multiple colleges/universities, and have less than 12 semester hours at Craven CC, we will combine all GPAs to determine your current GPA. If you have less than 12 semester hours of college work, we will use your high school GPA which must be 2.5 or higher. If you completed a GED, and have less than 12 semester hours of college work, you must have scored 2400 or higher;
  • Take the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) admission exam;
  • Complete required unpaid observation hours in the discipline.

Selective admission into A45620 (Associate in Applied Science, Physical Therapist Assistant) requires adherence to the program of study by successfully completing all courses as outlined for progression throughout the curriculum. Please refer to the PTA Program Handbook and Policy and Procedure Manual for admission, progression and graduation requirements.

Career Opportunities

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Home Health Care Agencies
  • Nursing Homes
  • Private Practice
  • Schools

Contact Information

PTA Program Coordinator
252-638-7341

Health Programs Admissions Office
252-639-2025

Admissions Office
252-639-7430

Degree Requirements

Courses in this program

First Semester

Take ACA-111 or ACA-122. 

Course Course Code Credit Hours Link to course details

This course provides a comprehensive study of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Topics include body organization, homeostasis, cytology, histology, and the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems and special senses. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of principles of anatomy and physiology and their interrelationships.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 3  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 4 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One:, DRE-097, ENG-002, BSP-4002, ENG-111, Completed MAT-003 with P2 grade level
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces the college's physical, academic, and social environment and promotes the personal development essential for success. Topics include campus facilities and resources; policies, procedures, and programs; study skills; and life management issues such as health, self-esteem, motivation, goal-setting, diversity, and communication. Upon completion, students should be able to function effectively within the college environment to meet their educational objectives.

Lecture Hours: 1  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 1 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides information and strategies necessary to develop clear academic and professional goals beyond the community college experience. Topics include the CAA, college policies and culture, career exploration, gathering information on senior institutions, strategic planning, critical thinking, and communications skills for a successful academic transition. Upon completion, students should be able to develop an academic plan to transition successfully to senior institutions.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 2  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 1 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides an overview of various aspects of health care delivery systems and the interrelationships of health care team members. Topics include health agencies and their functions, health care team member roles, management, and other health care issues. Upon completion, students should be able to discuss the functions of health organizations and team members and aspects of health care affecting physical therapy delivery.

Lecture Hours: 2  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 2 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces the field of physical therapy including the history and standards of practice for the physical therapist assistant and basic treatment techniques. Emphasis is placed on ethical and legal considerations, universal precautions, vital signs, documentation, basic patient preparation and treatment skills, and architectural barrier screening. Upon completion, students should be able to explain the role of the physical therapist assistant and demonstrate competence in basic techniques of patient care.

Lecture Hours: 2  Lab Hours: 2  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides an activity-based approach that develops measurement skills and mathematical literacy using technology to solve problems for non-math intensive programs. Topics include unit conversions and estimation within a variety of measurement systems; ratio and proportion; basic geometric concepts; financial literacy; and statistics including measures of central tendency, dispersion, and charting of data. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate the use of mathematics and technology to solve practical problems, and to analyze and communicate results.

Lecture Hours: 2  Lab Hours: 2  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One Set:,Set 1: DMA-010, DMA-020, and DMA-030,Set 2: DMA-025,Set 3: MAT-003,Set 4: BSP-4003
  • Corequisites:
    Take MAT-010

This course includes concepts of injury and repair and documentation methods. Emphasis is placed on physiological effects, indications, contraindications, and skilled applications of selected therapeutic modalities. Upon completion, students should be able to safely, correctly, and effectively apply the emphasized techniques and procedures with understanding of correct documentation.

Lecture Hours: 1  Lab Hours: 1  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take PTA-110
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course is designed to develop the ability to produce clear writing in a variety of genres and formats using a recursive process. Emphasis includes inquiry, analysis, effective use of rhetorical strategies, thesis development, audience awareness, and revision. Upon completion, students should be able to produce unified, coherent, well-developed essays using standard written English.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One Set:,Set 1: DRE-097,Set 2: ENG-002,Set 3: BSP-4002
  • Corequisites:
    Take ENG-011

Second Semester

Take COM-120 or COM-231

Course Course Code Credit Hours Link to course details

This course provides a continuation of the comprehensive study of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Topics include the endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems as well as metabolism, nutrition, acid-base balance, and fluid and electrolyte balance. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of principles of anatomy and physiology and their interrelationships.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 3  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 4 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take BIO-168
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides an organized study of anatomy and kinesiology. Emphasis is placed on the integration of structure and function of the skeletal, articular, muscular, nervous, and circulatory systems to include gait analysis. Upon completion, students should be able to describe the components and demonstrate function of these systems as applied to physical therapy.

Lecture Hours: 1  Lab Hours: 1  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take PTA-140
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces the practices and principles of interpersonal communication in both dyadic and group settings. Emphasis is placed on the communication process, perception, listening, self-disclosure, speech apprehension, ethics, nonverbal communication, conflict, power, and dysfunctional communication relationships. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate interpersonal communication skills, apply basic principles of group discussion, and manage conflict in interpersonal communication situations.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One: DRE-097, ENG-002, BSP-4002, ENG-111
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course is designed to include the theory and practice of additional therapeutic interventions. Topics include but are not limited to electrotherapy, burn and wound care, biofeedback, and selected data collection methods. Upon completion, students should be able to apply these modalities and treatment techniques effectively and safely and demonstrate knowledge of physiological principles involved.

Lecture Hours: 1  Lab Hours: 1  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take PTA-130
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course provides instruction and experience in preparation and delivery of speeches within a public setting and group discussion. Emphasis is placed on research, preparation, delivery, and evaluation of informative, persuasive, and special occasion public speaking. Upon completion, students should be able to prepare and deliver well-organized speeches and participate in group discussion with appropriate audiovisual support.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One: DRE-097, ENG-002, BSP-4002, ENG-111
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course covers muscle physiology, exercise concepts, testing, and applications to the spine and extremities. Topics include strength, endurance, flexibility, and exercise protocols and progressions. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate skill in applying therapeutic exercise principles for non-neurological conditions in a safe and appropriate manner.

Lecture Hours: 2  Lab Hours: 2  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 4 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take PTA-120
  • Corequisites:
    None

Third Semester

Course Course Code Credit Hours Link to course details

This course provides an overview of the scientific study of human behavior. Topics include history, methodology, biopsychology, sensation, perception, learning, motivation, cognition, abnormal behavior, personality theory, social psychology, and other relevant topics. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the science of psychology.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One from:, DRE-097, ENG-002, BSP-4002
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course is a survey of basic pathology with emphasis on conditions most frequently observed and treated in physical therapy. Topics include etiology, pathology, manifestation, treatment, and prognosis. Upon completion, students should be able to explain repair processes, categorize diseases, define pathology, identify organ/body systems involved, and discuss treatment and prognosis.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course is designed to assist in the development of effective interpersonal skills in the physical therapist assistant setting. Topics include reactions to disability, the grieving process, methods of communication, motivation, health promotion, disease prevention, and aging. Upon completion, students should be able to discuss and demonstrate methods for achieving effective interaction with patients, families, the public, and other health care providers.

Lecture Hours: 2  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 2 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

Fourth Semester

Take HUM-115 or PHI-240. Clinical Education follows completion of seated course PTA-180

Course Course Code Credit Hours Link to course details

This course introduces the use of critical, thinking skills in the context of human conflict., Emphasis is placed on evaluating information, problem solving, approaching cross-cultural, perspectives, and resolving controversies and, dilemmas. Upon completion, students should be, able to demonstrate orally and in writing the use, of critical thinking skills in the analysis of, appropriate texts.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take one set:, Set 1: DRE-098, Set 2: ENG-002, Set 3: BSP-4002 , Set 4: ENG-111
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces theories about the nature and foundations of moral judgments and applications to contemporary moral issues. Emphasis is placed on moral theories such as consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Upon completion, students should be able to apply various ethical theories to moral issues such as abortion, capital punishment, poverty, war, terrorism, the treatment of animals, and issues arising from new technologies.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take ENG-111
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces treatment and measurement techniques and discusses treatment programs for selected neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction and injuries. Topics include soft tissue and joint dysfunction, selected assessment techniques, and various exercise programs. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate the application of selected data collection methods and functional interventions.

Lecture Hours: 2  Lab Hours: 2  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take PTA-150
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course covers normal development, adult and pediatric/CNS dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, amputee rehabilitation techniques, and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. Topics include neurology review, selected rehabilitation techniques, ADL and functional training, prosthetic and orthotic training, and environmental access. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate safe and correct application of selected rehabilitation techniques for neurological dysfunction, cardiopulmonary conditions, and amputations.

Lecture Hours: 3  Lab Hours: 3  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 5 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course introduces the physical therapy clinic in planned learning experiences and practice under supervision. Emphasis is placed on reinforcement of learned skills in direct patient care and communication. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate satisfactory performance in learned patient care skills, communication, activities, and professional behaviors.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 9  Credit Hours: 3 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None

Fifth Semester

Clinical Education follows completion of seated course PTA-260

Course Course Code Credit Hours Link to course details

This course provides full-time clinical affiliations for planned learning experiences and practice under supervision. Emphasis is placed on reinforcement of learned skills in direct patient care, communications, and professional behaviors. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate satisfactory performance as an entry-level physical therapist assistant and as a member of the physical therapy team.

Lecture Hours: 0  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 30  Credit Hours: 10 
  • Prerequisites:
    Take One Set:, Set 1: PTA-180, Set 2: PTA-182 and PTA-210
  • Corequisites:
    None

This course covers the physical therapist assistant profession in preparation for the state licensure exam. Topics include developing time management skills and practicing for the competence examinations. Upon completion, students should be able to identify individual academic strengths and weaknesses and utilize this information to continue self-study for the licensure exam.

Lecture Hours: 1  Lab Hours: 0  Clinical Hours: 0  Credit Hours: 1 
  • Prerequisites:
    None
  • Corequisites:
    None