Physical Therapist Assistant - Associate Degree
Physical therapist assistants assist the physical therapist in providing therapeutic interventions to patients and clients to prevent, minimize or eliminate physical impairments and activity limitations. Examples include instruction in therapeutic exercise, gait training, education in posture and body mechanics, application of electrical stimulation and other physical modalities, and hands on techniques such as massage and soft tissue mobilization. Additional job responsibilities include carrying out operational functions that ensure a healing environment in the work setting, making modifications within the scope of the established plan of care, and performing documentation and assessments. Most states including Wisconsin require a license to practice as a physical therapist assistant. As a graduate of this program, you are eligible to take the National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE) for physical therapist assistants through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
How do I get started in this program?
Requirements for Program Entry
- For instructions on how to get started, download the application checklist for this program.
A waitlist often forms for this program. Learn more about program waitlists.
What will I learn?
Students following the study plan below will complete the Physical Therapist Assistant associate degree in the number of semesters shown.
Summer Before Third Semester
- Curriculum Note: Students must earn a "C" or higher in all 10-524-XXX courses. A student who withdraws or receives a grade lower than a "C" in a program course may apply for re-entry into the program. Consideration for re-entry will be at the discretion of the re-entry team and will be dependent on clinical availability.
- Students must earn a "B" or higher in General Anatomy & Physiology. A student who withdraws or receives a grade lower than a "B" in this course may apply for re-entry into the program. Consideration for re-entry will be at the discretion of the re-entry team and will be dependent on clinical availability.
- The credit for 10-890-101, College 101 is an Institutional Requirement for graduation. Consequently, it is not part of the program credit requirements, but must be passed with a "C" or better.
- Demonstrate clear and collaborative communication with patients, families, and health care team.
- Exhibit behaviors and conduct that reflect respect and sensitivity according to physical therapy practice standards.
- Function under the supervision of a physical therapist in a safe, legal, ethical manner to ensure the safety of patients, self, and others throughout the clinical interaction.
- Produce documentation to support the delivery of physical therapy services.
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills to implement and modify treatment within a plan of care under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.
- Perform data collection essential for carrying out the plan of care under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist.
- Perform technically competent, evidence-based physical therapy interventions under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist.
- Educate patients, families, and other health providers.
- Integrate components of operational and fiscal practices of physical therapy service in a variety of settings.
- Implement a self-directed plan for career development, credentialing, and lifelong learning.
What careers are in my future?
A graduate of this program will have the potential for employment as a Physical Therapist Assistant. The State of Wisconsin does require a license to practice as a physical therapist assistant.
- Physical Therapist Assistant: assists the physical therapist in the provision of physical therapy, performs physical therapy interventions and related tasks, carries out operational functions, makes modifications within the scope of the established plan of care, performs documentation and assessments under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.
What's next after graduation?
Start here. Finish at a four-year.
NWTC transfer programs are offered through collaborative agreements with our four-year college and university partners. See where your associate degree credits will transfer.
What else do I need to know about the program?
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call Leah Smejkal at 920-498-6270 or email: Leah.Smejkal@NWTC.EDU.
Graduates are eligible to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (www.fsbpt.org).
- Students will be required to purchase a uniform, provide their own transportation to assigned sites, and cover any other expenses related to clinical experiences. Students may be expected to travel distances and participate in weekend rotations.
- Students are required to complete an American Heart Association BLS Provider CPR course prior to clinical experiences. Students are required to maintain certification to comply with affiliating agency requirements.
- Students will be required to submit immunization documentation. A fee is charged for this service. Additional information will be provided upon acceptance into the program.
- Students will be required to show proof of an annual flu vaccine.
- Students may be required to complete drug testing and/or finger printing by clinical agencies.
Wisconsin Caregiver Law
NWTC is required to comply with the Wisconsin Caregiver Law (1997 WISCONSIN ACT 27). The completion of a caregiver background check includes the review of criminal records for convictions of serious crimes or a history of improper behavior. Students accepted into this program must complete a background check through www.castlebranch.com AND complete a Background Information Disclosure (BID) form disclosing any acts, crimes, or convictions prior to program entry. The information provided in the BID form must be truthful and match any findings on the criminal record check. Information regarding this process is provided to students immediately upon acceptance into the program. Students with a criminal history may be denied access to placement at the discretion of the clinical or practicum site. Consequently, should a student have a history of convictions of serious crimes or a history of improper behaviors, NWTC cannot guarantee clinical/practicum placement or guarantee graduation within typical program timing.
Study Abroad Opportunities
The International Programs staff continually seeks opportunities for students to travel abroad for educational experiences that may be offered in association with program courses. To find out more about which of your program courses may offer an opportunity during this academic year, contact your academic advisor or visit nwtc.edu/studyabroad.
The Physical Therapist Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Educate (CAPTE):
3030 Potomac Ave, Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085
If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call Leah Smejkal at 920-498-6270 or e-mail email@example.com.
Classes wherever you have an internet connection.
- An in-person career experience, such as an internship, practicum, or credit for prior learning, may be required.
- Some online courses may be held at specific dates/times.
- Classes between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
- Classes between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
- A combination of online classes and Saturday and/or Sunday classes.
- 12 or more credits per term.
- Fewer than 12 credits per term.