Physical Therapist Assistant, AAS

PTA.AAS.C30


Program Overview

This program prepares students to be entry-level physical therapist assistants who function effectively in an ever-changing healthcare environment. This two-year Associate in Applied Science program consists of five consecutive semesters of classroom and clinical education with a strong emphasis on professional standards. As a cohort, students progress from classroom to clinical experiences in a variety of physical therapy settings. Graduates are eligible to take the national licensing examination. Students who anticipate seeking a state licensure outside of Illinois should contact the program director for assistance in locating specific requirements. This degree typically is not designed for transfer.

Additional Program Information

Each student in this program must have a physical exam, criminal background check without any disqualifying convictions, a negative drug screen, and current CPR certification from the American Heart Association (BLS for Healthcare Provider) or American Red Cross (Professional Rescuer: adult, child & infant or AED).

Students in health career programs are advised to consult the Code of Campus Affairs and Regulations, section 11.4. This regulation concerns completion of all courses in health career curricula being completed with a grade of C or better.

Accreditation

KCC is officially recognized by the Illinois Community College Board and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Higher Learning Commission is located at 30 N. LaSalle St., Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at KCC is accredited by

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100
Alexandria, Virginia  22305-3085

Telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org/. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 815-802-8817 or email jsblanchette@kcc.edu.

The program is designed to meet and exceed the criteria and standards of all governing agencies to ensure the program quality necessary for successful operation and continuous quality monitoring and improvement.

Click the CAPTE logo to verify accreditation status.

Admissions Requirements

 A competitive entry enrollment process is used for the PTA program because the program accepts a maximum of 20 new students into the program each fall. Therefore, being accepted to KCC does not mean acceptance into the PTA program. The curriculum of record for students applying to, but not yet accepted into, competitive entry health careers programs will be the Associate in General Studies.

Applicants who meet minimum records and academic eligibility requirements by the deadline move to the next step, the A2 Entrance Exam. Students who achieve a score of 70% or higher are ranked for program entry based on their test scores. Eligible students who are not offered a seat will be alternates.

PTA program applicants must also complete twenty (20) documented hours observation/volunteer time in physical therapy or 200 hours work experience in a physical therapy setting within two years of application. Observation/volunteer experience must occur in at least two different settings, including eight (8) hours in an inpatient setting. Complete and save and/or print the Physical Therapy Observation/Volunteer or Work Verification form.

Mission, Goal and Objectives

Program mission

Enhancing quality of life through learning by committing to academic excellence in physical therapy education; developing entry-level physical therapist assistants who function effectively in an ever-changing healthcare environment; and providing exceptional services to our academic, professional, and community partners.

Program goal

To meet the needs of the health care community and the physical therapy profession within the standards and guidelines of all regulatory agencies governing the Physical Therapist Assistant program, the PTA program has but one goal: To graduate competent entry-level physical therapist assistants who function effectively under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.

Program objectives

Upon successful completion of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at KCC, the graduate will demonstrate the knowledge, problem-solving ability, skills, philosophy and attitude necessary for the following:

  1. Communication, Education, and Documentation - Collaborate effectively as members of an interprofessional healthcare team by communicating in ways that are congruent with situational needs in all interactions within the role and responsibilities of the Physical Therapist Assistant.
  2. Patient/Client Care and Management - Incorporate sound clinical reasoning and problem solving to provide evidence-based and patient-centered care to diverse populations across the lifespan by effectively and efficiently carrying out the physical therapy plan of care as competent Physical Therapist Assistants under the direction and supervision of the Physical Therapist.
  3. Participation in Health Care Environment and Practice Management - Contribute to high-quality practice management in both patient care and non-patient care activities in an ever-changing healthcare environment.
  4. Behavior and Conduct - Exhibit expected clinical behaviors in a professional and culturally competent and sensitive manner and that are consistent with established core professional values and established ethical and legal guidelines.
  5. Career Development and Lifelong Learning - Pursue lifelong personal and professional development through self-assessment, career development and lifelong learning opportunities to improve knowledge, skills, and behaviors.
  6. Social Responsibility - Enhance quality of life and health and wellness of the community by promoting an awareness of social responsibility, citizenship, and advocacy.

Faculty

Jennifer Blanchette, PT, DPT, LMT, Professor/Program Director
jsblanchette@kcc.edu  ·  815-802-8817
KCC Room M132  ·  Fax: 815-839-5200

Megan Winterrowd, PTA, BS, Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE)
mwinterrowd@kcc.edu  ·  815-802-8816 
KCC Room M132

Carrie Arseneau, PTA, Adjunct Professor
carseneau@kcc.edu

Jill Grieff, PT, Adjunct Professor
jgrieff@kcc.edu

Aaron Fuerst PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, Adjunct Professor
afuerst@kcc.edu

About clinical educators

 Who can be a clinical instructor?

The decision to become a clinical instructor is an important step in a clinician's professional development and commitment to the physical therapy profession. Here’s some information to help you in your decision. 

To be a clinical instructor, you should
  • be a PT or PTA with a minimum of one year clinical experience (required)
  • have a desire to work with students
  • collaborate with the student to plan an effective learning experience
  • provide frequent, positive, constructive, and timely feedback in either verbal, nonverbal or written forms
  • be a role model of legal, ethical, competent, and compassionate care
  • provide competent, thoughtful, and effective clinical care
  • plan clinical learning experiences relevant to the student’s needs, and communicate those goals and expectations
  • be approachable and collegial
  • encourage student growth through positive interaction
  • communicate effectively and regularly with the student and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) at KCC

Who can be a center coordinator of clinical education?

The center coordinator of clinical education manages the student program at the healthcare facility. This person may also serve as a clinical instructor.

To be a center coordinator of clinical education, you should
  • be a PT or PTA, with all the characteristics of a clinical instructor
  • demonstrate effective communication and interpersonal skills
  • develop a relationship with, and be knowledgeable about, the affiliated academic program
  • perform administrative duties such as, but not limited to, completion of the Clinical Site Information Form, clinical education affiliation agreements, student placement forms, and policy and procedures manuals
  • develop, supervise, and evaluate the clinical activities of the facility
  • be open to interaction with clinical instructors, students, school officials, and other colleagues
  • plan and encourage the professional development of clinical instructors
  • identify clinical instructor and site needs and resources
  • assist the clinical instructor in planning, implementing, and evaluating an effective student learning experience

Developed from the Guidelines for Clinical Instructors and Guidelines for Center Coordinator of Clinical Education; Guidelines and Self-Assessments for Clinical Education, 2004 Revision; Alexandria, VA: APTA Publication No. E-48.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many students are admitted to the program?

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program admits a new class of 20 students each year to begin in the fall. 

What do I need to do to apply to the program?

The PTA program is designed to admit recent high-school graduates as well as adult learners. High school students should pursue advanced math (algebra) and science (biology and chemistry) courses to prepare for the PTA program. For the adult learner, prerequisite coursework may be required if previously completed coursework is more than five to seven years old. For chemistry and biology eligibility requirements, a student may petition to take the A2 Entrance Exam to meet an eligibility requirement if previous course work is too old to be considered. In this case, a passing score of 80% or better on the respective content area is required to meet the eligibility requirement.

For program entry requirements, consult a KCC health careers advisor or consult the PTA program of study in KCC's e-catalog PTA program applicants must also complete twenty (20) hours of documented observation/volunteer in physical therapy or 200 hours work experience as a rehab tech or physical therapy aide within two years of application. For verification and documentation of observation/volunteer or work experience, please save and/or print the verification and documentation form. PTA verification and documentation form.

Being accepted to KCC does not mean acceptance into the PTA program. A competitive entry enrollment process is employed due to limitations placed upon the number of students who may be accepted. The PTA program accepts 20 (twenty) new students into the program each fall.

Applicants who meet minimum records and academic eligibility requirements by the application deadline will be eligible to take the A2 Entrance Exam which is required for scoring for the competitive entrance process. After testing, all eligible students will be ranked based on test scores. In order to be ranked, the student must receive a minimum score of 70%. Eligible students who are not offered a seat will be alternates for the respective application year. Applications will continue to be accepted after the initial deadline, with eligible applicants being considered for program entry on a space available basis according A2 Entrance Exam scores. 

Are CPR certifications, physical examinations, background checks, drug testing or any other medical testing required in order to complete an application?

No. The required physical exam, drug testing, background screening, and CPR certifications are completed once accepted to the program so that each will be current and valid throughout the clinical practicums. The student is responsible for these requirements. 

How long does it take to complete the program?

The PTA program is an integrated two-year (five consecutive semester) program. Once admitted to the program, students must progress through the courses corresponding to the curriculum model. For example, students admitted to the program in August 20015 and progress successfully through the program will graduate in May 2017. It is the policy of the Health Careers Division that students complete the program degree requirements within 150% of the normally expected time. Students who are unsuccessful in doing so are withdrawn from the program and may pursue reentry in the same manner as a student who is applying to the program for the first time. 

Is the program accredited?

KCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) North Central Association. The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at KCC is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave, Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org/

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is the extensive review process conducted by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) to assure quality- both that the quality of your course work is high and that the program produces people qualified to serve the public. In order to take the licensure exam, individuals must have graduated from a CAPTE-accredited program. 

When are classes scheduled?

The current program is a full-time day-program with lecture and labs scheduled during the week. All of the academic classes are held on KCC's Riverfront campus. Clinical experiences are held in local, regional, or national facilities chosen based on the student’s educational needs and preferences as well as site availability. All clinical experiences are also full-time weekdays; however, extended hours and weekends may occasionally be necessary. All clinical travel expenses are the responsibility of the student. Open skills laboratories (voluntary) may also be available on weekends. 

May I withdraw from the PTA program and later be re-admitted?

KCC and the PTA program faculty work very closely with students to optimize their ability to successfully complete the program, graduate, and pursue successful careers. In cases where students must withdrawal from the program, all re-admission requirements for the college must be met in addition to those requirements for the PTA program, which is also on a time-sensitive basis. The program completion policy applies to such situations. 

Are PTA program courses transferrable?

The KCC PTA degree typically is not designed for transfer. KCC has partnered with several four-year colleges and universities to make it easier to transfer and complete a bachelor's degree. Specifically, the PTA program has partnered with Governors State University and has agreements with transfer guides for several programs of study. Students interested in transferring PTA coursework are encouraged to contact the school of interest to determine transferability of courses. Students can also meet with a transfer advisor in Student Affairs at KCC to discuss these bachelor's program partnerships. 

Is it recommended that I observe or volunteer in physical therapy?

Yes. You are encouraged to observe or volunteer in various physical therapy settings to gain a better understanding about physical therapy and the roles and responsibilities of the physical therapist assistant within the health care team. Applicants must complete twenty (20) hours of documented observation/volunteer in physical therapy or 200 hours work experience as a rehab tech or physical therapy aide within two years of application. Allow time to locate a site, establish a schedule and complete the hours. You can arrange for volunteer/observation experience at locations such as local hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient physical therapy clinics. Observation/volunteer hours must occur in at least two different physical therapy settings; a minimum of eight hours must be completed in an inpatient (hospital or extended care facility) physical therapy setting. See verification and documentation forms. 

Can I work and go to school?

Students are cautioned that the PTA program is a rigorous course of study. The program faculty recommends that work hours be kept to a minimum during active enrollment in the program in order to optimize acceptable academic progress. 

Is financial aid available?

Financial assistance is available to all eligible students at KCC in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment. For further information, contact the Office of Financial Aid at 815-802-8550 or visit the website

Where can I get more information about Health Careers and the PTA program at KCC?

  • Tour our campus and/or apply to KCC: visit.kcc.edu - apply.kcc.edu
  • Plan your course schedule: Academic advisement - Phone: 815-802-8500
  • For general questions: info.kcc.edu - Phone: 815-802-8100; en español: 815-802-8586
  • Division of Health Careers, PTA program: Phone: 815-802-8817; email: jsblanchette@kcc.edu

Program Outcomes

PTA Program Outcomes

The PTA Program is proud of its success in consistently meeting required student achievement measures and its mission, goal and objectives as demonstrated by actual student outcomes, including graduation rate, ultimate licensure pass rates, and employment rates.

Graduation rates*

Graduating Class

Number of students admitted to the original cohort Number of students who graduated at the normally expected time Number of students who graduated within 150% of the normally expected time Graduation rate (% completing within 150% of the normal expected time)
2016 20 16 1 85.0%
2017 20 17 0 80.9%
2018 19 13 1 93.8%
 2019  16  12 2  87.5%
 2020  18  13  0  72.2%
 2021  18  TBD  TBD  TBD

Data as of 5/18/2020

*CAPTE accreditation standard: At least 60%, averaged over two years.

Licensure examination pass rates+ and employment rates^

Graduation Year Number of graduates First-time pass rate: number of graduates passing the licensure exam on the first attempt Ultimate pass rate: number of graduates passing the licensure exam Percent of graduates who sought employment that were employed within one year following graduation
2016 16 16 (100%) 16 (100%) 100%
2017 17 16 (94.1%) 17 (100%) 100%
2018 13 12 (92%)  13 (100%) 100%
 2019 14 13 (93%) 14 (100%) 100%
 2020  13 11 (92%) 12 (100%)  TBD
 2021  TBD  TBD  TBD  TBD

Data as of 5/18/2020

+CAPTE accreditation standard for ultimate licensure pass rates: At least 85%, averaged over two years.

^CAPTE accreditation standard for employment rates: At least 90%, averaged over two years.

If you have any questions regarding Physical Therapist Assistant program outcomes, please contact the program director, Jennifer Blanchette, at 815-802-8817 or email jsblanchette@kcc.edu.

Resources

General resources

 APTA logo  
 IPTA logo  
   CAPTE logo triangle               
    FSBT logo  
 IDFPR logo  
 ICCB logo  

For clinical sites/clinical educators

For students/prospective students

Program Requirements

Major Courses

PHTA courses must be completed in the order shown in the course sequence

PHTA 1101Introduction to Health Care

1 Credit

PHTA 1115PTA Fundamentals I

5 Credits

PHTA 1133PTA Fundamentals II

3 Credits

PHTA 1172Pathology I for the PTA

2 Credits

PHTA 1243Manual Therapy for the PTA

3 Credits

PHTA 1246Kinesiology

6 Credits

PHTA 1272Pathology II for the PTA

2 Credits

PHTA 2001Professional Standards of the PTA

1 Credit

PHTA 2053PTA Clinical Practicum I

3 Credits

PHTA 2145Orthopedics for the PTA

5 Credits

PHTA 2156PTA Fundamentals III

6 Credits

PHTA 2185PTA Fundamentals IV

5 Credits

PHTA 2293PTA Fundamentals V

3 Credits

PHTA 2224PTA Clinical Practicum II

4 Credits

PHTA 2234PTA Clinical Practicum III

4 Credits

PHTA 2201Current Issues in PT Practice

1 Credit

Total Credit Hours:54

General education

Courses must be taken prior to or in the semester where they are shown in the course sequence.

BIOL 2644Anatomy & Physiology I

4 Credits

BIOL 2654Anatomy & Physiology II

4 Credits

COMM 1553Introductory Speech

3 Credits

ENGL 1613English I

3 Credits

PSYC 1813Introduction to Psychology

3 Credits

Total Credit Hours:8

Total Credit Hours: 71

Suggested Course Sequence

PHTA courses must be taken in sequence.

Fall semester (first year)

ENGL 1613English I

3 Credits

BIOL 2644Anatomy & Physiology I

4 Credits

PHTA 1101Introduction to Health Care

1 Credit

PHTA 1115PTA Fundamentals I

5 Credits

PHTA 1172Pathology I for the PTA

2 Credits

PSYC 1813Introduction to Psychology

3 Credits

Spring semester (first year)

BIOL 2654Anatomy & Physiology II

4 Credits

PHTA 1133PTA Fundamentals II

3 Credits

PHTA 1243Manual Therapy for the PTA

3 Credits

PHTA 1246Kinesiology

6 Credits

PHTA 1272Pathology II for the PTA

2 Credits

Interim and Summer term

COMM 1553Introductory Speech

3 Credits

PHTA 2001Professional Standards of the PTA

1 Credit

PHTA 2053PTA Clinical Practicum I

3 Credits

Fall semester (second year)

PHTA 2145Orthopedics for the PTA

5 Credits

PHTA 2156PTA Fundamentals III

6 Credits

PHTA 2185PTA Fundamentals IV

5 Credits

Spring semester (second year)

PHTA 2293PTA Fundamentals V

3 Credits

PHTA 2224PTA Clinical Practicum II

4 Credits

PHTA 2234PTA Clinical Practicum III

4 Credits

PHTA 2201Current Issues in PT Practice

1 Credit

Outcomes

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Call: 815-802-8500

Email: advising@kcc.edu