Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs help people of all ages and help people who have movement difficulties due to injury or disease get back to doing the things in their lives that they want and need to do.  Unlike a physical therapist, the PTA cannot evaluate a patient, but can provide vital and ongoing assessment and treatment interventions toward specific short- and long-term goals.

Care provided by a PTA may include therapies designed to improve mobility, strength or function; to relieve pain; to prevent or limit disability; and to promote overall wellness and fitness.

Generally, PTAs are employed wherever physical therapists work. Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home and public health agencies, schools, private physical therapy practices, and the armed forces are major employers.

Admission Requirements

Satisfy the Application and Admission Requirements for Associate Degree Programs.

Students will be admitted to program as a pre-major. Prior to being admitted as a full major, students must complete the following additional requirements:

  • Students must meet with the UAA Physical Therapist Assistant program advisor regarding application and program admission requirements prior to application deadline.
  • Provide documentation, from official transcripts, of successful completion of the following courses with a minimum grade of C.
BIOL A111Human Anatomy and Physiology I4
BIOL A112Human Anatomy and Physiology II4
One of the following:3
Fundamentals of Oral Communication
Small Group Communication
Interpersonal Communication
Public Speaking
WRTG A111Writing Across Contexts3
MA A101Medical Terminology3
MA A104Essentials of Human Disease3
PSY A111General Psychology3
or PSY A150 Lifespan Development
  • Complete the Physical Therapist Assistant program application process.
  • Provide a copy of current Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers certification.
  • Provide evidence of current immunizations as requested by the department.
  • Once admitted, and prior to program start, submit to a national-level criminal background check.


Special admission and application procedure requirements apply. Interested students should contact the Physical Therapist Assistant Department for selection criteria. Completion of admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Due to the risks associated with working in a health care setting, students are required to have health insurance. Health insurance is available for purchase through the UAA Student Health and Counseling Center.

Graduation Requirements

Program Requirements

PTA A101Fundamentals of Physical Therapy2
PTA A105Tests and Measures3
PTA A110Kinesiology and Biomechanics3
PTA A120Rehabilitation I3
PTA A130Physical Therapy Interventions I4
PTA A150Psychosocial Aspects of Health Care2
PTA A195Clinical Practicum I1
PTA A210Therapeutic Exercise4
PTA A220Rehabilitation II3
PTA A230Physical Therapy Interventions II4
PTA A250Neurological Interventions Across the Lifespan3
PTA A292Physical Therapist Assistant Seminar2
PTA A295AClinical Practicum II5
PTA A295BClinical Practicum III5

A total of 61 credits is required for the degree.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the Physical Therapist Assistant program, students are able to:

  1. Exhibit professional behavior in their role as responsible physical therapist assistants, adhering to appropriate ethical, legal and regulatory standards.
  2. Engage in evidence-based practice, responding to the dynamics of a changing healthcare system.
  3. Integrate the principles of the physical, biological and behavioral sciences with the clinical practice of physical therapy.
  4. Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, families and other members of the health care team.


Terese Anderson, Term Assistant Professor,
LeeAnne Carrothers, Term Assistant Professor,