The STCC Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program is one of the oldest accredited programs in the country. It is housed in the spacious ground floor clinic area of Building 20. The program prepares men and women for employment as physical therapist assistants (PTAs). The job market across the country is strong. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in their Occupational Outlook Handbook, predicts that the demand for physical therapist assistants will grow by 46% between now and 2020. The graduate PTA is a technical health care provider who works under the supervision of a physical therapist. The PTA performs movement-related activities and therapeutic techniques for patients with burns, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and cardiac, neurologic and orthopedic injuries. Such techniques include therapeutic exercise; gait training; heat and cold applications; massage; and the use of assistive, prosthetic, orthotic, and electrical devices that improve the independence of people with congenital, traumatic or disease-related processes. The two-year curriculum leading to an associate degree follows the guidelines established by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The curriculum is designed to develop technical and clinical knowledge and skills combining anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, disease processes, psychological and interpersonal relations. Emphasis is placed on ethical and legal considerations. Approximately one semester of the program is supervised practice in selected clinical settings. In addition, students have an opportunity to enhance learned skills under faculty supervision in the Campus Rehabilitation Clinic at STCC.
The STCC PTA Program will transform a group of diverse men and women into outstanding Physical Therapist Assistants who pass the national licensure exam on first attempt. This program will be recognized by peer programs as the regional model in PTA education.
The PTA Program trains, educates, and cultivates entry-level physical therapist assistant students through a dedicated community-engaging academic curriculum committed to the development and achievement of the following:
- clinical and personal critical thinking
- ethical and professional decision making
- effective personal and professional communication skills
- a life-long commitment to learning
The Physical Therapist Assistant program establishes small, personalized learning environments designed to facilitate the development of clinical skill sets, professional engagement between faculty and students, and accomplishment of personal and professional growth. A foundation of biological sciences and the integration of social sciences enable the student to develop the requisite physical therapy skill proficiencies and intellectual abilities to engage the demands of the contemporary healthcare system successfully as a physical therapist assistant.
Upon the successful completion of the requirements for this program, the degree of Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant will be awarded.
Accreditation and Program Outcomes
The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Springfield Technical Community College is accredited
by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
telephone: 703-706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org
The design of the curriculum and activities undertaken by the faculty of the PTA Program should achieve the following outcomes:
- Produce safe, competent, caring graduates who possess entry-level skills.
- The three year passing rate of the graduates who choose to take the Physical Therapist Assistant licensure examination will be at least 90%.
- 90% of the graduates who seek employment as a physical therapist assistant will attain a position within six months of passing the national licensure examination.
The STCC PTA program admits 18 students each fall semester out of an average applicant pool of 120; the acceptance rate is generally 16%. The average graduation rate over the past two years is 82%. Of the graduates who took the National PTA Licensure Examination in the past two years, 100% have passed.
The program administers student clinical performance assessments, graduate opinion surveys, employer surveys and aggregate data from the National PTA Licensure Examination to assess the effectiveness of the program. For the calendar years 2013 - 2015, 100% of the graduates who sought employment have reported they were able to secure a position within six months of graduation. Some graduates choose to continue their education and do not seek employment.
Licensure Examination pass rate
The Physical Therapist Assistant program will cultivate and advance graduates whom:
- Understand their role and the scope of practice as responsible physical therapist assistants, adhering to appropriate ethical, legal, and regulatory standards as identified by the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association).
- Cultivate skill competence and engage in evidence-based practice, responding to the dynamics of a changing health care system.
- Integrate the principles of the physical, biological and behavioral sciences with the clinical practice of physical therapy.
- Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, families and other members of the health care team in a culturally competent manner.
- Commit to a lifelong process of self-improvement and learning.
- Achieve an effective transition from this educational program to a physical therapist assistant career to serve the community.
The objective of this program is to prepare men and women for employment in the physical therapy field. The graduate physical therapist assistant (PTA) is a technical health care provider who works under the supervision of a physical therapist. The PTA performs related activities and therapeutic techniques for patients with burns, amputations, spinal cord injuries, and cardiac, neurologic and orthopedic injuries. Such techniques include therapeutic exercise; gait training; heat and cold applications; massage; and the use of assistive, prosthetic, orthotic, and electrical devices. The two-year curriculum leading to an Associate Degree follows the guidelines adopted by the American Physical Therapy Association. The curriculum is designed to develop technical knowledge and skills for understanding in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, disease processes, psychological and interpersonal relations. In addition, emphasis is placed on ethical and legal aspects. Approximately one semester of the program is supervised practice in selected clinical settings. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association through June, 2018.
Applying to this Program
Applications for consideration for acceptance into the program should be sent and must be received in the Admissions office no later than March 1 of the application year. All required materials must be completed and sent to the Admissions Office by that date.
Fall start only, day program only
This is a competitive program with rigorous standards; a maximum of 18 students will be accepted each fall. Student applications will be evaluated and scored based on the admission pre-requisites as noted below:
- Proof of High School transcript, GED or HISET
Completion of 4 years of high school English (grade of C or higher) ; OR
Placement examination score at ENG-100 level: OR
Successful completion of ENG-101 (grade of C or higher)
Successful completion of high school Algebra 2(grade of B or higher); OR
Successful completion of Algebra 2 MAT-097 or higher level math course (grade of B or higher): OR
Placement examination score at MAT-101 or higher
Completion of Medical Terminology, MED-100 or comparable course (grade of C or higher, within 7 years); OR
Passing score on the STCC MED-100 challenge exam
Waiving of this requirement by the department chair with evidence of a background as a licensed health care with an Associate degree or higher
Completion of high school level Biology with a lab (grade of B or higher); OR
Completion of college level Biology with a lab (such as BIO-101, BIO-201 (grade of B or higher, within 5 years) (Fall 2017 applicants) AND
Completion of college level Anatomy & Physiology 1 , BIO-231 (with lab, 4 credits, grade of C or higher, within 5 years)*
Anatomy & Physiology 1 can only be repeated once within 5 year period
Successful completion of Computer Basics, CMP-106; OR
Passing score on the computer skills challenge exam in the Testing Center; OR
Waiving of this requirement by the department chair with evidence of a college background (Bachelor’s degree or higher)
Successful completion of RCH-100; OR
Passing score on the library skills challenge exam in the Testing Center; OR
Waiving of this requirement by the department chair with evidence of a college background (Bachelor’s degree or higher)
- Demonstrate understanding of commitment to PTA
Document a total of 12 hours of observation in at least two different physical therapy settings, or through related work experience, approved by the department chairperson; signed verification forms to be submitted to Admissions. Click link for Verification Form for PTA Observation Hours 2017 .
Score around 450 each section; OR
Candidates can waive the SAT criteria if they can document a 3.0 or higher QPA in at least 15 college credits, including English Composition 1, ENG-101 (grade of C or higher)
If an applicant has earned a “B” in college Anatomy & Physiology 1, “C” grade in Biology (high school or higher) will be accepted and the applicant will not be required to repeat these courses.
Beginning fall 2017, all Anatomy & Physiology courses over 5 years old by start of the program must be repeated. All Anatomy & Physiology courses can be repeated only once within that time frame.
Only current or accepted students are eligible to take challenge exams in the STCC testing center
Applicants to the PTA program should be aware that this is a physically demanding occupation, with moving and prolonged standing. Good communication skills, both oral and written, are essential to satisfactory functioning as a physical therapist assistant.
The following are examples of how to strengthen your application for admission
- Achieving high SAT scores (math and verbal)
- Maintaining high QPA’s in high school or college
- Work experience or observation in a health related (please submit a letter from an employer or evidence of employment with your application)
- Successfully completing college courses in related academic areas
- Additional information can be obtained by attending a Physical Therapist Information session Please Click here for further information.
Applying for Re-Admission to this Program
Students who leave this health program before completing it may apply for re-admission. Students reapplying to the program must resubmit an application, all supporting documents and essay with updated official transcripts. Click here for information about the re-admission policy and process.
Additional Requirements for Accepted Students
Deposit: If offered admission, a non-refundable $50.00 deposit will be required to secure your acceptance to this Program.
Mandatory Health Records: All required health records, immunizations, and physicals MUST be filed in the STCC Health Services office by July 1 of the admission year. The Health Office is located in the Building 20 Suite, room 320 (third floor center) (413-755-4230). The college/program reserves the right to rescind the admission status of any student not meeting, as well as not submitting, all post-admission requirements in a timely manner.
Background Check: Students enrolled in Health Professions Programs that involves potentially unsupervised contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly, or which includes a clinical affiliation, internship, or field placement with a private or public health care provider, will be required to undergo state-wide and/or national criminal background checks, including but not limited to Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) and Sex Offender Record Information (SORI), Seven (7) year residential Search, and FBI Fingerprinting checks. Depending on the results of the background checks, a student may be deemed ineligible to participate in such academic or clinical activities, which may impact a student’s ability to complete program requirements. Furthermore, please be advised that eligibility to participate in College academic and/or clinical activities following a background check does not guarantee your eligibility to sit for a professional credentialing examination(s) or employment upon graduation. It is your responsibility to contact the certification or licensure board for your particular health care profession to determine the standards that must be met for credentialing, licensing and/or employment in that field.
Drug Screening Policy for Clinical Placement: The School of Health & Patient Simulation is committed to high quality education and providing excellent clinical experiences to students in the health professions. Students are expected to perform at their highest functional level during all educational and clinical experiences in order to maximize the learning environment and ensure patient safety. Thus a student’s performance at all times must be free of any impairment caused by prescription or non-prescribed drugs or alcohol use. Students enrolling in Health Professions programs are required to undergo and pass a drug and/or alcohol screening analysis in order to be eligible for placement in a clinical facility. Students assigned to clinical education experiences at our contracted facilities may also be required to undergo and pass random drug screening analysis in order to remain at that clinical facility and in the program. Students who fail a screening, or refuse to submit to a screening within the designated time frame will be ineligible for clinical placement, which will affect their status in the program. Students with a positive drug test may challenge the results of the test within five (5) days of notification of the drug test results. This challenge must be in writing and delivered to the college’s Director of Health Services. Students may re-apply for re-entry into a health program after one year. Requests for re-admission will be considered on a case by case basis.
Students who are notified of a “negative-dilute” result will submit to a random drug test within 24 hours of the previous test in order to confirm the negative status of the screening. Additional random testing may also be required under the guidelines listed in your program’s handbook. A student who claims that he/she tested positive due to a prescription drug and was unable to clarify this matter with the medical review officer (MRO) from the drug testing lab shall be required to provide evidence from a health care provider of the type of prescription, dates of permissible use and dosage amounts within five (5) days of notification of the drug test results to the college’s Director of Health Services. Failure to complete this notification will result in the student being ineligible for clinical placement, which will affect their status in the program.
Students who test positive for marijuana are unable to continue in a clinical placement, which will affect their status in the health program. A student who has a prescription for Medical Marijuana and tests positive for marijuana will also be ineligible to participate in clinical placement due to the federal restriction on the use of marijuana. While the use of Medical Marijuana is permitted in Massachusetts, marijuana remains classified as a controlled substance under federal law and its use, possession, and/or cultivation at educational institutions remains prohibited.
Programmatic Technical Standards: Technical Standards reflect performance abilities that are necessary for a student to successfully complete the requirements of a specified program. Students with disabilities must be able to meet the technical standards of the program with reasonable accommodations as defined by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA.) See the link below. Program Technical Standard forms found in your admission acceptance packet must be submitted to the Office of Health Services by July 1. Health Services office is located in building 20, room 320 (413 755-4230)
Health Program Latex Policy
Program Requirements and Advancement
- Minimum Grade Requirements: The Physical Therapist Assistant student must obtain a minimum grade of “C” (73%) in all required courses. In didactic-laboratory courses, students must first have achieved a weighted passing average in the academic component of the course (examination grades), and then have passed the laboratory and additional components. In order to be eligible for graduation, the student must have earned a minimum of 66 credits with a cumulative quality point average of 2.0. Without exception, failed courses in the PTA curriculum require that the student is withdrawn from the program. The student must then petition to be re-admitted, following the Re-Admission Policy of the School of Health & Patient Simulation (https://stcc.acalogadmin.com/mime/media/12/711/SPHS+Readmission+Process.pdf ). This privilege may be used only once, and is based on available space. Proof of satisfactory completion of the PTA program, with diploma, is required for clinical practice.
- Transfer to Physical Therapist Programs: Occasionally, graduates of the STCC PTA program may be interested in expanding their education to the Physical Therapist level. While most PTA skills courses will not transfer as comparable PT courses, some programs offer exceptional credit to the experienced PTA. Two programs, leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, are located in the Springfield area.
- The graduate PTA may apply to sit for the national licensure examination. Successfully passing this exam is a requirement for licensure in Massachusetts, Connecticut and in most other states.
- Students must adhere to the strict attendance policy in lecture, lab and practicum in order to graduate.
Total (PTAS.AS) Curriculum Program Credits: 66
Notice to the Public: Complaints Policy:
Complaints that fall outside of the college’s internal due process are directed to the Administrator under whom the complaint falls. Any complaint lodged against the PTA Program is directed to and investigated by the Dean of the School of Health & Patient Simulation. The Dean will consult with the Program Director, if appropriate, and then determine what action is to be taken according to college policy. Final documentation of the complaint, the plan for improvement and its outcomes is filed in the Dean’s office.
|Dr. Renae Gorman
||Faculty and ACCE
|Dr. Meg Woble-Valenski
||Faculty and Program Director