Jun 23, 2024  
2022-23 Academic Catalog 
2022-23 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapist Assistant - PTAS.AS

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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 US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in their Occupational Outlook Handbook projects the employment of physical therapist assistants to grow 29 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy is expected to increase in response to the healthcare needs of an aging population and individuals with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity. 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)
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 413 755-4844 or email rgorman@stcc.edu

The design of the curriculum and activities undertaken by the faculty of the PTA Program should achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Produce safe, competent, caring graduates who possess entry-level skills.
  2. The three year passing rate of the graduates who choose to take the Physical Therapist Assistant licensure examination will be at least 90%.
  3. 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 80-100; the acceptance rate is generally 18%. 

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Graduation rate

Licensure Examination pass rate

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Program Goals

1.The Physical Therapist Assistant program will cultivate and advance graduates whom:

2.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).

3.Cultivate skill competence and engage in evidence-based practice, responding to the dynamics of a changing health care system.

4.Integrate the principles of the physical, biological and behavioral sciences with the clinical practice of physical therapy.

5.Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, families and other members of the health care team in a culturally competent manner.

6.Commit to a lifelong process of self-improvement and learning.

7.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 2028.

Applying to this Program

  • The application review process will begin after March 31 of the acceptance year and will continue until the program is full.
  • 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.

Admission Prerequisites

  • Proof of High School transcript, GED or HISET
  • English
    • Completion of 4 years of high school English (grade of C or higher) ; OR
    • Placement examination score  at ENG-101 level: OR
    • Successful completion of ENG 101   (grade of C or higher)
  • Math
    • Successful completion of high school Algebra 2(grade of B or higher); OR
    • Successful completion of  Algebra 2 MAT 097   or Pre-College Algebra MAT 063   or college level (100 or higher) math course (grade of B or higher): OR
    • Placement examination score at (Accuplacer) MAT-101 or (ALEKS) MAT-100p or higher
  • Medical Terminology
    • Completion of Medical Terminology, MED 100   or comparable course  (grade of C or higher); 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
  • Biology
    • Completion of high school level Biology with a lab (grade of B or higher); OR
    • Completion of a 4 credit college level Biology with a lab  (grade of B or higher)  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
  • Computer Skills
    • 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)
  • Research Skills
    • 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 5 hours of observation at one physical therapy setting; OR conduct an interview with a PT or PTA clinician OR through related work experience, approved by the department chairperson. Click here  for detailed instructions and required PTA verification form (must be submitted with application to Admissions) 
  • SAT (verbal and math)
    • 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)
  • Admission Checklist
    • In order to strengthen your application, it is strongly recommended you submit this document along with all other requirements.
    • Select one of the following two options:
      • Paper Checklist (click here to download/print, can be submitted by mail or email to Admissions Office)  OR
      • Electronic (E-FORM) Checklist (to be completed and submitted online) 
        • STCC students (currently enrolled) click here for the electronic/online checklist
        • Potential students (not currently enrolled at STCC) click here for the electronic checklist
  • NOTES:
    • Mid-semester grades for required and pre-requisite courses taken during spring of the application will be considered. Students requesting consideration of mid-term grades being performed outside of STCC must submit a mid-term grade report to the admissions office. Correspondence can be emailed to admissions@stcc.edu
    • 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.
    • Courses with designated time frames must be current within 5 years by the start of the program. All Anatomy & Physiology courses can be repeated only once within that (5 year) time frame.
    • Only current or accepted students are eligible to take challenge exams in the STCC testing center. Only STCC challenge exams will be considered.
    • 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  
  1. Maintaining high QPA’s in high school or college
  2. Work experience within a health related field (please submit the Healthcare Experience Verification Form with your application)
  3. Students currently enrolled AND/OR who have completed 12 credits of liberal arts/general education and science courses at STCC.
  4. Successfully completing college courses in related academic areas
  • English Composition 1 & 2
  • Anatomy Physiology 2 (completed within 5 years by the start of the program)
  • General Psychology 
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Developmental Psychology 

  5. Additional information can be obtained by attending a Physical Therapist Information session. Please click here for more information.

  • A “PTA Required Criteria” rubric is utilized during the application review to determine prerequisite requirements, grades, and additional criteria.  Based on the the applicant’s qualifications, a score will be generated to determine which applicants will be admitted for the upcoming Fall semester based on the highest scores.  The score that qualifies accepted applicants will vary from year to year depending upon the strength of the applicant pool.  A “PTA Required Criteria” rubric may be requested by contacting the STCC Admissions office.    



Applying for Re-Admission to this Program

If a student leaves a health program for any reason, and intends to re-enter the following academic year into the semester in which they left, the student must follow the readmission process as outlined in the School of Health & Patient Simulation Readmission Policy. 

Click here  to see full policy and procedures.

The student seeking readmission to a health program must submit a Letter of Intent to Return, to the Dean of Health & Patient Simulation Office (Building 20/Room 320) and to the Program Director, by November 16 for consideration for return in the spring semester, and by February 1 for consideration for return in the fall semester. These dates may change from year to year.

If a student intends to return to a health program after one full academic year has passed, the student must apply as a new applicant through the college admissions website https://www.stcc.edu/apply/.  

All students must follow the readmission policy and guidelines of their specific department/program.

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 and Wellness Center by July 1 for students being admitted in the Fall semester and no later than two (2) weeks prior to the start of the program for students being admitted in the Spring semester of the admission year. The Health and Wellness Center is located in Building 19 Room 177 (413-755-4230). For additional information and required forms please visit the Health and Wellness Center website at http://www.stcc.edu/healthservices. 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: College programs involving potentially unsupervised contact with children, the disabled, or the elderly, including fieldwork (a clinical affiliation, internship, externship, or field placement) with a private or public healthcare provider or daycare 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. The purpose of the background check is to ensure a safe and protective environment for all clients, particularly members of vulnerable populations.

Students choosing not to consent to the required background checks will be ineligible to participate in fieldwork involving vulnerable populations. Ineligibility to participate in fieldwork may affect a student’s ability to successfully complete the program.

Based upon the results of the background checks, a student may be deemed ineligible to participate in academic or clinical activities, which may impact a student’s ability to successfully complete program requirements. Background checks are reviewed by the College’s CORI Board. The CORI Board determines eligibility to participate in academic and/or clinical activities.

Furthermore, please be advised that eligibility to participate in College academic and/or clinical activities following a background check does not guarantee eligibility to sit for a professional credentialing examination(s) or for employment upon program completion. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the certification or licensure board for a particular healthcare or other service profession to determine the standards that must be met for credentialing, licensing and/or employment in that field.


Programmatic Technical Standards: Technical Standards reflect performance abilities and essential skills that a student must demonstrate in order to successfully complete the requirements of a specified program.  These Standards must be satisfied by all students in all aspects of the program, with or without reasonable accommodations, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including in the classroom, laboratories, and externship. If you are an individual with a documented disability who seeks reasonable accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Services at (413) 755-4785 or stop by Building 19, Room 141 as soon as practicable for information concerning the College’s accommodation process. Additional information can also be found on the Office of Disability Service’s website: https://www.stcc.edu/resources/academic-support/ods/. Please note that Program Technical Standard forms found in your admission acceptance packet must be submitted to the Health and Wellness Center by July 1. The Health and Wellness Center is located in Building 19, Room 177 and can be reached at (413) 755-4230.  

Drug Screening:The School of Health & Patient Simulation is committed to providing high quality education and 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 including alcohol, marijuana, and cannabis-derived products. Students enrolling in Health Professions programs are required to undergo and pass a drug screening analysis in order to be eligible for placement in a clinical facility. STCC student program fees cover the cost of this screening. Additional scheduled and random drug and/or alcohol screenings may be required depending upon clinical facility and/or program guidelines. 

Students who are notified of a negative-dilute result will submit to an observed urine drug test within 24 hours of the previous test (or soonest appointment made available to STCC Health Compliance by the testing agency) in order to confirm the negative or positive finding status of the drug screening. If a student continues to receive a negative-dilute or inconclusive drug screening result, the subsequent drug test will be of the hair collection method until a conclusive negative or positive result is confirmed.

Students with a positive drug screening may challenge the results by filing a written appeal to the College’s Director of Health Compliance within five (5) business days of notification of the test results. An appeal by a student who claims that the positive test was due to a prescription drug and was unable to clarify this matter with the medical review officer (MRO) from the drug testing lab shall include evidence from a health care provider of the type of prescription, dates of permissible use and dosage amounts. Students may be responsible to pay for additional drug screening conducted as part of an appeal. Students excluded from a program due to a positive screening, failure to submit appeal, denied appeal, or refusal to submit to a screening may re-apply for re-entry into a program after one year. Requests for re-admission will be considered on a case by case basis and in accordance with the program criteria.

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.


(PTAS.AS) Curriculum

Total: 17 credits

Total: 15 credits

Total: 6 credits

Total: 15 credits

Total: 13 credits

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.

Program Personnel

Name Title Office Phone Email
Dr. Renae Gorman Department Chair 20/302M 413-755-4844 rgorman@stcc.edu
Dr. Thomas Guzowski Asst.Professor/ Academic Coordinator of Clinical Exp. 20/302I 413-755-4880 teguzowski@stcc.edu

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