Quick Facts
Degree Associate Degree
Areas of Study Health Sciences

To learn more about the program including accreditation, application process, enrollment criteria, and more, please visit the Physical Therapist Assistant Associate Degree Program website.

Degree Overview

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program is designed to prepare graduates to meet the requirements to practice as a physical therapist assistant in a variety of health care settings. The program is competency-based and provides sequential learning experiences progressing from theoretical to applied using patient simulations in the laboratory and finally to actual patient treatments in clinical education centers. The Physical Therapist Assistant Program is a total of 71 units that may be completed in 5 semesters. There are 38 units of program core courses and 33 units of additional general education and prerequisite coursework. The program itself is a four semester program after completion of the prerequisite coursework and includes 3 clinical experiences. Students will complete theory classes online and attend lab classes on campus. Graduation from the program qualifies the student for examination for the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for Physical Therapist Assistants administered by The Federal State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). After successful completion of the examination and all requirements of the Physical Therapy Board of California, graduates may be licensed to work as physical therapist assistants in California.

This degree is approved through the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. Upon satisfactory completion of all degree requirements and filing an application for graduation with Admissions and Records, the student’s transcript will reflect completion of this degree.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this degree, the student should be able to:

  • Perform entry-level competencies as a physical therapist assistant as outlined by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), and the Physical Therapy Board of California.
  • Practice interventions of therapeutic exercise, therapeutic techniques, physical agents, mechanical modalities, electro-therapeutic modalities, and functional training in a competent manner consistent with the plan of care established by the physical therapist.
  • Demonstrate expected clinical behaviors in a professional and culturally competent and sensitive manner and that are consistent with established core professional values and established ethical and legal guidelines.

Program Requirements

Space in the program is limited. A new class is enrolled annually. In order to be eligible for enrollment, students must satisfy the prerequisites listed and file an enrollment packet with the Admissions and Records Office during designated enrollment periods each year. All qualified applicants are placed on a waiting list and enrolled on a space-available basis in the order of their accepted application date. For specific information, see the Application Process tab on the website or call the Division Office at (530) 339-3600.

Students must meet all of the following requirements for application

  • Students filing enrollment packets must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • All program prerequisites listed must be completed with a grade of C or higher prior to the start of semester one or in progress when filing the enrollment packet.
  • Students who have successfully completed Human Anatomy and/or Physiology at the time of application must have done so within the 5 years prior to the application filing date. Recency requirements may be challenged through an appeals process.

Health & Safety Clinical Clearance

All students participating in clinical experiences must submit proof of immunity through immunizations or serum titers, cleared criminal background check, negative drug screen, current physical examination and negative TB screening, and provide current valid Basic Life Support-Health Care Provider card (CPR) which includes adult, child and infant resuscitation with two person rescue and AED training. Students are financially responsible for meeting these requirements according to established program process. Specific information is available on the Health and Safety Requirements tab on the website or students may call the Division Office at (530) 339-3600.

Required Courses - Prerequisites

  • ANAT 1* Human Anatomy 5
  • HEOC 11 Medical Terminology 3
  • PHY 1* Physiology 5
  • PTA 1 Intro to Physical Therapy 2
Total Prerequisite Units: 15

Required Courses - Core

  • PTA 2 Pathology 3
  • PTA 3A Kinesiology I Theory 2
  • PTA 3B Kinesiology I Lab 1
  • PTA 4A Kinesiology II Theory 2
  • PTA 4B Kinesiology II Lab 1
  • PTA 5A Therapeutic Exercise I Theory 2
  • PTA 5B Therapeutic Exercise I Lab 1
  • PTA 6A Therapeutic Exercise II Theory 2
  • PTA 6B Therapeutic Exercise II Lab 1
  • PTA 7A Orthopedics Theory 2
  • PTA 7B Orthopedics Lab 1
  • PTA 8A Advanced Modalities Theory 1.5
  • PTA 8B Advanced Modalities Lab 0.5
  • PTA 9A Physical Therapy through the Lifespan Theory 1.5
  • PTA 9B Physical Therapy through the Lifespan Lab 0.5
  • PTA 10A Neurological Disorders I Theory 1.5
  • PTA 10B Neurological Disorders I Lab 0.5
  • PTA 11A Neurological Disorders II Theory 1.5
  • PTA 11B Neurological Disorders II Lab 0.5
  • PTA 12A Advanced Procedures Theory 1.5
  • PTA 12B Advanced Procedures Lab 0.5
  • PTA 20 Clinical Practicum I 2
  • PTA 21 Clinical Practicum II 4
  • PTA 22 Clinical Practicum III 4

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 co-requisite courses. Students will not be allowed to proceed with the next semester’s courses until they have successfully completed all prerequisite courses.

Total Units for Core: 38

*May be used to fulfill General Education requirements. See a counselor.

Associate in Science Degree Requirements

Major: 53

Additional General Education: 18

General Electives: 0

Degree Total: 71*

*Note: Calculation assumes a student will double-count the Multicultural graduation requirement with either a social science or humanities G.E. requirement and that the student will fulfill computer literacy through a test. If students plan well and see a counselor, they may be able to double count the Multicultural and Computer Literacy units. If these graduation requirements are added, the number of units is increased by 6 units.

For reference only as of 2019/2020

Degree Requirements and Courses

Learn more about certificate and degree requirements, course content, recommended sequence, and schedule.

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