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

Admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant program is limited and is not guaranteed by admission to the pre-major or by completion of the program admission requirements below. Complete information about the application process is on the Physical Therapist Assistant Application Procedure website.

To be considered for admission, students must:

  • Satisfy the Application and Admission Requirements for Associate Degree Programs.
  • Meet with the UAA Physical Therapist Assistant program advisor well in advance of the September 1 deadline regarding program admission requirements, as well as the application deadline and process.
  • Complete the Physical Therapist Assistant program application form.
  • Provide transcripts documenting successful completion of the following courses with a minimum grade of C, with the exception of BIOL A111 and A112 for which the student must have a minimum grade of B. (Courses may be in progress at the time of application.)
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 A111Introduction to Psychology3
or PSY A150 Lifespan Development
  • Complete thirty (30) hours of clinical observations and provide documentation using the Clinical Observation form.
  • Provide three (3) recommendation letters by non-family members.
  • Provide a copy of current Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers certification.
  • Once admitted, 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.

Licensure and/or Certification

Graduates of the Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Students planning to seek a professional license or certificate in a state other than Alaska are required to contact the UAA offering department before enrolling to determine if the program meets the licensing/certification requirements of the state in which they wish to practice.

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,