The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) curriculum prepares graduates to work in direct patient care in various practice settings (home health, acute care, outpatient, skilled nursing, etc.) under the supervision of physical therapists. Assistants work to improve or restore function by alleviation or prevention of physical impairment, handicaps, and disability. The Physical Therapist Assistant will also perform other essential activities in a physical therapy department.
The PTA curriculum, or program of study, at CCC&TI is performed over six consecutive semesters, including two summer sessions. It consists of a general education phase and a technical phase. Courses are designed to begin with the most basic knowledge and skills and advance to application and analysis of patient care.
Therefore, students will progress through the technical phase of the program with a cohort, meaning courses will be completed in the prescribed order with the same classmates.
The PTA program’s technical phase is designed for full time students. Working while in the second year of the program places even a good student at risk of being unsuccessful.
Successful completion of the program leads to an Associate in Applied Science Degree (AAS). Upon completion of the program, graduates must take and pass the National Physical Therapist Assistant Exam to be eligible for licensure. It is also important to note that each state has different licensing standards which may include reference checks or passing criminal background checks and/or drug screens to name a few.
CCC&TI offers the following educational program in this area:
Select the link above to access the online catalog for the Plan of Study, Course Descriptions and other information about this program.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
is accredited by:
The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE),
1111 North Fairfax Street,
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program has limited enrollment based on competitive admissions. Twenty-four students are accepted into a cohort annually.
All admissions requirements must be met by the February 1st deadline to be considered a qualified applicant and eligible for admission into the PTA program. Please review the Physical Therapist Assistant Admission Information document for details.
The Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Application is available online here:
CCC&TI’s PTA program provides qualified students instruction in highly effective lecture, lab, and clinical courses. The PTA program is designed to support transfer students from other community colleges and universities to better serve the regional needs of the Physical Therapy community. Associate level PTA graduates, upon successful completion of the National Physical Therapist Assistant exam, are ready for entry-level employment in diverse physical therapy settings. It is the philosophy of the PTA program faculty that most students can achieve their goal of becoming a licensed physical therapist assistant through prioritizing social and family commitments, a strong commitment to learning, and hard work within the established curriculum.
To learn more about a Career in the Physical Therapy Assistant Field, visit CCC&TI's Career Coach site for the following program:AAS: Physical Therapy Assistant
Students will participate in two full time (40 hour per week) clinical affiliations during the program.
Clinical affiliations may require PTA students to drive at least one hour or more one way from the student’s home. Travel is at the student’s expense.
Please review the immunization requirements in the PTA Admissions Information Document
It is the student’s responsibility to maintain current in immunization and share with their clinical sites proof of vaccinations, CPR and pertinent medical examinations and update any vaccination or health requirement and provide the school with verifying documentation. If the student fails to maintain these records and is denied access to a clinical site, due to lapsed CPR or immunizations, the student will be required to make up any missed time and maybe at risk of being dismissed from the program.
The North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners requires proof of good moral character to take the NPTE licensure exam. Any criminal activity may limit applicant’s eligibility to become licensed.
Please review Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen information in the PTA Admissions Information Document .
Students with unsatisfactory findings will not be allowed to participate in clinical components of the program resulting in failure of program progression and termination from the program.
Any dispute concerning unsatisfactory background findings or drug screen will be between the student and the party providing the service.
Graduation from the PTA program DOES NOT guarantee a right to take the NPTE licensure exam. If you
have any questions regarding your background history, please contact the following agency:
North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners
Students enrolled in the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at CCC&TI must demonstrate competence in various intellectual, physical and social aspects, which represent the fundamentals of professional Physical Therapy practice upon graduation. The PTA curriculum provides the general, technical and clinical education required to enable the student to independently deliver entry-level clinical services in an array of health settings. All students must meet the minimum criteria established by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education and the PTA Program at CCC&TI.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures qualified applicants to public institutions the ability to pursue program admissions, however, the applicant must meet essential requirements. All students admitted to the PTA Program will be held to the same standards with or without reasonable accommodations.
The following functions are considered essential requirements for admission, retention and graduation in CCC&TI’s PTA Program:
Detailed descriptions of these functions can be found in the PTA Admission Information Document. The purpose of these functions is to ensure PTA students provide safe, competent and timely care to patients receiving physical therapy services.
*Matriculation tabulated from number of students entering PTA 110 compared to those graduating. Data may be modified if students
re-enter the following year and successfully complete the program in 150% of allotted time.
** Twelve month post-graduation statistic.
^ Twelve month fulltime employment rate of those licensed
TBD: To be determined
What does a Physical Therapist Assistant do?
From the American Physical Therapy Association webpage: “Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. PTAs help people of all ages who have medical problems, or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and more. PTAs may also measure changes in the patient's performance as a result of the physical therapy provided.
Care provided by a PTA may include teaching patients/clients exercise for mobility, strength and coordination, training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers, massage, and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation.”
For more information on the role of the Physical Therapist Assistant, please visit: http://www.apta.org/PTACareers/RoleofaPTA/
Will I need a license to practice physical therapy as a physical therapist assistant?
Licensure is required in North Carolina and most states in the US. You will be granted licensure if you graduate from an accredited program, such as the one at CCC&TI, are of good moral character, and receive a passing score on the national licensure examination. It is the job of this program to present you with the information required to pass the licensure exam.
What do I have to do to become a licensed PTA in the state of North Carolina?
To practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant in the state of North Carolina, you must be licensed by the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners. To become licensed, applicants must:
What is the application deadline?
The application deadline is February 1st of each year for the cohort entering the program in May of that year.
How long does the program take?
It takes six semesters to complete the program. The first two semesters consist of general education courses. PTA program courses begin in the spring after you are admitted to the program and take a total of four semesters to complete. The PTA program begins in the summer semester and continues year-round for two full years.
Can I take PTA courses part time or in the evening?
The PTA program is offered only full time during the day. You may take general education courses when you choose.
Can I take the PTA courses in any order I prefer?
All the students accepted into the PTA program in any one year progress through the program together. The courses are offered in a specific order so that each course can build on the information learned in the ones before it. If you need to leave the program before you complete it, you will have to apply for admission with a new group of students.
Can I complete the program while working full time?
Working full time is strongly discouraged. Clinical affiliations consist of a time commitment of 40 hours per week. We advise our students to not work during the technical phase of the program because of the riggers of study. Some students do work, but it is very challenging.
Will I get paid for clinical affiliations?
Individual clinicians take on the job of converting your classroom knowledge to the ability to care for their clients in health care facilities. They generously offer time and expertise to students but do not receive any financial reward for their efforts. The students’ education is not complete without this exposure to real patients. No, you don’t get paid either.
Are non-traditional students encouraged to apply?
Yes, we encourage all non-traditional students to apply to the program. The average age of our last graduating class was 27 years old with a range from 18 – 50+. Work and background experience is just as diverse.
What if I have a learning disability?
There is help for students who wish to pursue the PTA program and have a learning disability. Students should contact Disability Services at 828.726.2716 to discuss options for assistance with test taking and other classroom activities.
How many applicants are accepted to the PTA program each year?
We accept up to 24 students in the PTA program every year.
How much money do licensed PTAs make?
The job market for PTAs is very good at present. The average annual wage in North Carolina as of August 2018 is $59,030. ( http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes312021.htm) New graduates can expected to earn $43,000 - $46,000 according to salary.com
What is the job outlook for PTAs in the next 10 years?
Employment is projected to grow 31% from 2016 to 2026 which is much faster than average for all occupations. Demand is expected to increase in response to the healthcare needs of an older population and individuals with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity. ( http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm)
Will you place me in a job after I graduate?
No, we do not offer a job placement service. We will, however, make you aware of the many job opportunities presented to us by employers as well as other job search avenues that are open to licensed PTAs.
Is Caldwell’s PTA program accredited?
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 704-706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://capteonline.org
What if I want to go on to get a Bachelor’s Degree?
Many of the courses offered at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute will transfer to a UNC system campus. Many UNC system campuses have “pathways” to help make transferring easier.
Review the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA), a statewide agreement governing the transfer of credits between NC community colleges and NC public universities. https://www.northcarolina.edu/college-transferarticulation-agreements/comprehensive-articulation-agreement-caa
The transfer course list provides NC community college courses eligible for transfer to a UNC campus https://www.northcarolina.edu/sites/default/files/caa-transfer_course_list-feb_21_2014-board_approved.pdf
Students should contact a transfer counselor and / or attend a transfer admission event at their chosen campus.
If you have questions about meeting program admission requirements contact:
Amy Huffman 726-2710 or email@example.com
Coordinator for Health Sciences Admissions
F building Office #113
If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call Heather Bowman at 828-726-2605 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Caldwell Community College ant Technical Institute is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: email@example.com; website: http://www.capteonline.org.