Physical Therapist Assistant AS Degree
Associate in Science | SC Program: AS.1601
To learn more about the program including accreditation, application process, enrollment criteria, and more, please visit the Physical Therapist Assistant Associate Degree Program website.
Core Courses & Program Sequence
Students in the PTA program will be required to successfully complete the following courses in progressive order in order to graduate and apply to take the licensure exam.
Please Note: Students must show competence in theory, lab, and clinical components (a grade of C or better in theory and lab courses, or a grade of Pass in practicum courses) in order to progress through the curriculum. Withdrawal from any course will require withdrawal from corequisite courses. Students will not be allowed to proceed with the next semester’s courses until they have successfully completed all prerequisite courses.
Choose your path
Map your education by viewing the program map for the degree or certificate you’re interested in earning below. Meet with a counselor to create your official comprehensive education plan.
A program map shows all the required and recommended courses you need to graduate and a suggested order in which you should take them. The suggested sequence of courses is based on enrollment and includes all major and general education courses required for the degree.
Spring Semester, First Year15 Units Total
This course will introduce the students to the profession of Physical Therapist Assistant by covering the history, laws and ethics of the profession. Introduction to professional/medical documentation and quality assurance issues will be presented. An introduction to research and Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) will be included. Students will also study communication techniques, interpersonal relationships and psychosocial considerations in healthcare. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will introduce the pathophysiology of all major organ systems of the body. The etiology, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis and interventions related to common diseases and disorders seen in the physical therapy setting will be covered. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
The course will introduce students to the theory of basic patient care skills performed by the physical therapist assistant including positioning, monitoring vital signs, infection control techniques, transfer training and gait training. Students will also be introduced to the assessment and treatment processes of the physical therapist assistant. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will provide practical training in basic care skills performed by the physical therapist assistant including position, monitoring vital signs, infection control techniques, transfer training and gait training. Students will also begin assessment and intervention techniques for the physical therapist assistant in this laboratory course.
This course will cover kinesiology and anatomy of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. Emphasis will be on musculoskeletal anatomy and physiology including arthrokinematics, static and dynamic movement systems and associated clinical applications. Principles of goniometry and manual muscle testing will also be introduced. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will consist of the laboratory component of PTA 4 Clinical Kinesiology. Students will apply kinesiology and biomechanics principles of PTA 4 Clinical Kinesiology in a practical setting. Assessment of joint range of motion, muscle strength, posture and gait will be performed. Surface palpation skills will also be developed in this laboratory course.
Summer Semester, First Year6 Units Total
This course critically examines the concept of morality as well as a number of representative ethical theories, such as Kantianism, Utilitarianism, Contractarianism, Divine Command Theory, and Virtue Ethics. It also introduces students to a range of moral and social problems such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, cloning, warfare, gender and sexuality issues, political and economic issues, and the moral status of the natural world. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course is an introduction to the process of human communication with an emphasis on small groups. Subjects covered are preparation for discussion, group participation, leadership, decision-making, interpersonal relations, managing diversity, critical thinking/problem-solving, managing conflict, and evaluation of group interaction. Students will be involved in group interactions, and emphasis will be on practical experience. College-level writing skills will be expected on all papers, outlines, and short essays. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
Fall Semester, Second Year13 Units Total
This course will cover the use of exercise as a preventative and rehabilitative modality for the treatment of pathological conditions. Emphasis is placed on the physiologic effects of exercise as well as the design and application of exercise programs to improve strength, flexibility, posture and balance. This course will also address exercise specific to cardiac rehabilitation, aquatic physical therapy and work hardening. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will provide the practical training for the use of exercise as a preventative and rehabilitative modality for the treatment of pathological conditions. It is the laboratory component of PTA 5 Therapeutic Exercise Theory and will allow for application of concepts taught in that course. Therapeutic exercise principles will be illustrated through practice for strength, flexibility, posture and balance. More specific programs of therapeutic exercise for cardiac rehabilitation, aquatic therapy and work hardening will also be covered.
This course will cover the use of physical agents in the treatment of common conditions seen in the physical therapy setting. Various thermal, mechanical and electromagnetic agents will be presented with corresponding indications and contraindications. Evidence based rationale for use of physical agents will also be addressed. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will instruct students in the safe and effective use of physical agents in the treatment of common conditions seen in the physical therapy setting. Students will learn correct set up and application of thermal, mechanical and electromagnetic agents. This course is the laboratory course that corresponds with PTA 6 Physical Agents Theory.
An introductory course in statistics designed to show the role of modern statistical methods in the process of decision making. Concepts are introduced by example rather than by rigorous mathematical theory. The following topics will be covered: measures of central tendency and dispersion, regression and correlation, probability, sampling distributions including the normal, t, and chi-square, statistical inference using confidence intervals and hypotheses testing. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
Spring Semester, Second Year10 Units Total
This course will focus on dysfunction, disease and trauma of the musculoskeletal system. Concepts of tissue healing, signs and symptoms of orthopedic dysfunctions, surgical interventions and physical therapy interventions will be addressed. Students will be expected to integrate knowledge and skills from previous PTA coursework to the orthopedic patient. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will provide the practical training for assessment and treatment of the orthopedic conditions seen in the physical therapy setting. It is the laboratory component of PTA 7 Orthopedic Management and will focus on application of concepts taught in that course. Treatment strategies for disorders of the spine, upper extremity and lower extremity will be covered. Students will be expected to integrate knowledge and skills from previous PTA coursework and apply it to the orthopedic patient.
This course will cover basic neuroanatomy and neurophysiology with a focus on human growth and development from birth to the aged adult. It will cover the physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes with aging and their impact on functional movement. The process of motor development through motor control and motor learning will be addressed and applied to treatment of neurologic conditions through the lifespan. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will provide the practical training for the assessment and treatment of normal and abnormal neurodevelopment. It is the laboratory component of PTA 8 Neurology and Development and will focus on neurodevelopmental treatment techniques for pediatric patients and continuing through the lifespan. Fundamentals of treatment for neurological conditions in the adult and general treatment strategies related to geriatric patients will also be covered.
This course will provide students with the first of three full-time clinical experiences. Students are placed in a clinical setting in order to implement what they have learned in the classroom during semesters one and two. The student will be under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist and have delegated patient care responsibilities. Students will be assigned to various treatment settings (acute, sub-acute, outpatient, skilled nursing or other rehabilitation facilities) and practice procedures appropriate to that setting. In order to participate in PTA 20, students must have successfully completed all of semester one and two core courses. Students must complete 216 hours of verified, supervised field experience in a clinical setting where they are expected to follow a 40 hour work week until hours are completed. The course stresses professional work habits and meeting of required competencies through actual on-the-job performance with a supervisor. The student will practice skills learned throughout the course of the program thus far. Students may repeat through an appeals process.
Summer Semester, Second Year6 Units Total
This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of race and ethnicity in the United States. It examines social justice movements in relation to ethnic and racial groups in the United States to provide a basis for a better understanding of the socioeconomic, cultural, and political conditions among key social groups including, but not limited to, Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latina/o Americans. This course examines the systemic nature of racial/ethnic oppression through an examination of key concepts including racialization and ethnocentrism, with a specific focus on the persistence of white supremacy. Using an anti-racist framework, the course will examine historical and contemporary social movements dedicated to the decolonization of social institutions, resistance, and social justice. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
Fall Semester, Third Year12.5 Units Total
This course will cover physical therapy interventions for common neurologic conditions. Additionally, assessment, medical management, environmental barriers, adaptive equipment, psychosocial issues and effective interdisciplinary management will also be covered as it applies to the patient with a neurologic condition. Students will apply neuroanatomy and developmental concepts learned in PTA 108 Neurology and Development to the adult patient with a neurologic condition. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will cover the practical training for the assessment and treatment of common neurologic conditions by the physical therapist assistant. It is the laboratory component of PTA 9 Neurologic Management Theory and will apply principles of patient management taught in that course. It will incorporate treatment principles and progression from previous courses through the use of case studies.
This course will cover physical therapy care for unique patient populations including patients with respiratory dysfunction, women's health patients, oncology patients, amputees, patients with vestibular dysfunction, chronic pain patients and those with complex multi-system pathology. Topics include diagnoses, medical and physical therapy interventions, special considerations, and equipment needs for these patient populations. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will provide the practical training for physical therapy care for unique patient populations including patients with respiratory dysfunction, women's health patients, oncology patients, amputees, patients with vestibular dysfunction, patients with chronic pain and those with complex multi-system pathology. This is the laboratory portion of PTA 10 Advanced Procedures Theory. The focus of this course will be the application of concepts and interventions to patient treatment scenarios.
This course will cover issues related to practice management and encourage problem solving skills to integrate all knowledge and skills learned throughout the PTA Program. The course will be discussion based and focus on learning through case studies. This course will also prepare students for licensure as PTAs and include a comprehensive exam covering all information taught in the PTA Program. This course may be offered in a distance education format.
This course will provide students with the opportunity to observe and participate in patient care as directed by a clinical instructor. Students will be placed in a clinical setting for a full time (40 hrs/wk), six-week clinical experience where they will apply knowledge and skills learned in semesters one, two and three of the PTA Program. Students will provide care as directed by a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant for uncomplicated and complicated patients with the degree of supervision and guidance based on the patient and the environment.
Please see a counselor to discuss options for meeting general education requirements for transfer to California State Universities (CSU) and/or University of California (UC) campuses, as well as any specific additional courses that may be required by your chosen institution of transfer.
*Alternative Courses: Please see a Shasta College counselor for alternative course options. You can also view the following to find other courses to meet degree/certificate requirements:
- California State Universities – General Education
- IGETC – Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum
Need a print out? Feel free to download and/or print out a copy of the sample program map(s).
- University Studies: Behavioral Science AA Degree - Full-Time Pathway (PDF)
*These printouts are currently not yet available, but they will be linked as soon as they're ready!
Health and Wellness Interest Area Counselors
Academic/Instructional Division Office
We are dedicated to helping you reach your educational and career goals. To begin your journey, apply for admissions today!