The purpose of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program is to graduate students with the knowledge, clinical competency, and integrity to positively impact their patients and the profession. With an integrated two-year curriculum, the program offers students the opportunity to earn an Associate in Science or Associate in Applied Science degree with immediate entry into a rewarding career upon successful completion of the licensure exam.
The PTA Program prepares students for careers serving as members of the healthcare team who provide direct patient care under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist. The PTA provides treatment to patients with various diagnoses to relieve pain and/or improve function via the application of heat, cold, light, water, electrical stimulation, sound, massage, exercise, gait, and functional activities within the patient’s therapeutic regimen.
PTAs are licensed professionals who work in settings where Physical Therapists are employed. They work in hospitals, private practices, rehabilitation centers, school systems, sports teams, home health agencies, and other qualified facilities.
The PTA Program offers a 74 credit-hour AS and AAS degree program, which trains and qualifies graduates to work in the physical therapy field. Students seeking admission must first be admitted to the College and complete the prerequisite courses.
The PTA Program is offered on the Winter Haven Campus. Classes are scheduled Monday through Friday and include both day and evening hours. Program requirements are rigorous. Students must make the program commitment their first priority to ensure success.
Polk State College (PSC) has achieved accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association. Graduates of the PTA Program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination for licensure as registered Physical Therapist Assistants.
The following are minimum requirements for consideration for admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.
- Prospective students must gain acceptance to PSC as credit-seeking students with all required admission documents received by the Registrar’s Office.
- Students must complete any required college preparatory courses.
- At the time of admission, students must have a GPA of 2.00 or higher, and a grade of C or higher in all prerequisite and required courses taken.
- The Physical Therapist Assistant Program admits students using a first-come, first-qualified procedure that is based on seat availability. Students seeking admission to the program must receive an application for admission from the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. The PTA Program Director, PTA Program faculty member, or Student Services staff member receiving the application stamps the time and date of the application upon submission. To be considered for screening by the PTA Program’s admissions committee, all necessary preparatory courses, 50 volunteer/observation hours, and the following courses must be completed with a C or better (or be in progress) on or before May 31 of the applicant’s intended year of entry to the program:
- ENC 1101 College Composition I
- BSC 2085C Anatomy and Physiology I
- PSY 2012 General Psychology
5. There must be verification of at least 50 volunteer/observation/employment hours in a physical therapy setting.
The application must contain all the above listed requirements in order for it to be considered for screening. To ensure compliance with the above requirements, a student wishing to be considered for the next available class in the PTA Program must contact or meet with the PTA Program Director.
Additional Program Requirements
The following requirements are to be completed prior to the first summer clinical internship. The PTA Director of Clinical Education provides an orientation to admitted students on how to comply with these requirements:
- Physical examination and essential functions examination.
- Immunizations and communicable disease screenings.
- Current CPR certification.
- AIDS certification
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) background checks.
- Drug screening.
The approximate cost of the program is $8,898. This cost estimate includes course fees, books, and uniforms. However, this cost calculation does not include any college preparatory courses that a student may need to take. With the College Preparatory courses, the approximate cost for the program is $10,926.
Physical Therapist Assistants' salaries range from $33,200- $55,000, depending on the region or type of employment setting.
Following completion of academic and clinical work, graduates of the program are able to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination for the Physical Therapist Assistant. The exam is administered by the Professional Examination Service, Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (PES/FSBPT), 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115; telephone: 212-367-4200.
Most states require licensure in order to practice. Therefore, graduates need to apply for Florida licensure upon successful completion of the PTA Program graduation requirements. They are responsible for requesting information from the state licensing agency and completing the requirements for licensure.
Florida regulations provide that the denial of a license/certificate may occur if an individual is habitually intemperate; is addicted to, found to be in illegal possession of, or involved in the sale or distribution of habit forming drugs; and/or is unfit or incompetent by reason of gross negligence, a physical or mental condition, or any other like causes which could result in behavior that interferes in his/her practice as a health professional. In addition, a felony conviction may prevent an individual from earning licensure to practice as a physical therapist assistant.
Prospective students should be aware that a Social Security Number (SSN) is required to be issued a certificate or license by the Florida Department of Health, which is the licensing authority for healthcare licenses in Florida.
To obtain further information regarding the Florida Board of Physical Therapy Practice, students may write or call the Board office or visit the Internet website:
Department of Health
Board of Physical Therapy Practice
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin #C05
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3255