The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) works under the supervision of a Physical Therapist in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health facilities. Physical Therapists evaluate patients, plan treatment programs, and may delegate parts of those programs to Physical Therapist Assistants while completing other parts of the program themselves. Guided by the Physical Therapist’s plan of care, the PTA may use specialized equipment to administer treatments to accomplish the therapist-generated rehabilitation goals, including the application of heat, cold, light, sound, and electricity. The PTA may also administer therapeutic exercises, ambulation training, and train patients in the use of artificial limbs, braces, and various aids in an effort to maximize function and facilitate the rehabilitation process. A student considering entering the field of PTA should have a demonstrated aptitude for the sciences; interact well with others; have an interest in working with physically challenged, ill or injured people; and enjoy a physically active job. The program is a 16 month (4 Module) program that combines both traditional classroom-based education and 680 hours of clinical field experience in preparation for the student to enter this profession as an entry level skilled PTA.
PTA Program Mission
The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Contra Costa Medical Career College is to graduate entry level physical therapist assistant practitioners who practice in a safe, legal and ethical manner under the supervision of a physical therapist. These individuals will be compassionate and caring lifelong learners who will provide evidence-based ethical treatment to assist the physical therapist in the rehabilitation of all individuals in their care. The program will strive to provide students with a diverse educational setting allowing for academic excellence and to become socially, culturally, and professionally well-rounded clinicians and individuals.
PTA Program Objectives
The PTA program’s objectives are consistent with curriculum content and expectations as set forth by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) related to expectations for an entry-level PTA.
Contra Costa Medical Career College’s PTA Program is designed to prepare graduates who:
- Apply knowledge of basic and evidence based PT sciences to the application and appropriate modification of selected PT procedures.
- Interact with patients, the patient’s family members or caregivers, colleagues, and the public in a manner that reflects an appreciation of the worth of an individual, the appropriate response to cultural differences, and an understanding of the psychological and social effects of illness and injury.
- Demonstrate appropriate and effective written, oral and non-verbal communication with patients, the patient’s family or caregivers, colleagues, and the public.
- Recognize their own strengths and limitations, interpret for others their scope and function, and understand the need for continued lifelong education and growth.
- Always demonstrate a commitment to safe, ethical, and legal practice.
- Understand basic concepts of healthcare and the mechanics of providing healthcare services.
- Will sit for the National Licensing Examination.
- Achieve the status of Licensed PTA, and skill level of an entry level PTA.
PTA Program Goals
- The program will look to accept 20 highly qualified and capable students each fall term who will represent Contra Costa Medical Career College, the PTA program, and of Physical Therapist Assistant profession to the best of their capabilities.
- Students and graduates will demonstrate professional, legal, and ethical behavior in all academic and clinical settings.
- Students and graduates will correctly apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge related to practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant.
- Students and graduates will competently perform intervention component and data collection skills in clinical settings, and appropriately modify components of intervention within the guidelines of a plan of care established by a Physical Therapist.
- One hundred percent of the College’s PTA program graduates will be successful in obtaining full-time employment related to the physical therapy field within 6 months of graduation.
- The program will provide adequate resources needed to support the student – including resources related to financial aid assistance, faculty advising, mentoring, counseling, tutoring, along with adequate equipment, classroom and laboratory space, clinical facility, faculty, and technology to enhance the student’s learning.
- The program will enhance the practice of physical therapy in our community by providing opportunities for educational, professional and personal growth.
- The program will look to graduate 15 highly qualified and capable students annually who will represent Contra Costa Medical Career College and the PTA program.
PTA Admissions Process and Criteria
Admittance into the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Contra Costa Medical Career College is based on a selective admissions process with an enrollment of 15 new students per year based on the number of qualified applicants. The admissions selection process is based on the following criteria and requirements:
- An Application to Contra Costa Medical Career College along with a separate application to the Physical Therapist Assistant program.The application deadline for the Physical Therapist Assistant Programs is ______ of each calendar year (deadline may be subject to extension). All documents must be submitted or postmarked by the listed deadline date to be fully considered. All completed application packets will be reviewed following the deadline and qualified applicants will be invited for final interviews. Following the interview process, a final selection of students to be offered placement into the program will be made. Items needed to complete the application process /packet include the following and are further explained below on this page:
Must meet the college’s minimum requirements
- The applicant must be at least 18 years old
- Applicant must be a High School Graduate. The applicant must submit proof of high school or GED completion with official high school transcript or GED equivalent.
- No felony or misdemeanor convictions
- Applicant must pass a drug screen and background check
- Must hold an Associates’ degree or higher in any discipline (Official, sealed college transcripts are required.)
- Successful completion of all required pre-requisite college level courses.
- Placement Test (Applicants must score an 18 on the Wonderlic SLE exam)
Completion of Prerequisite courses
When applying to the Contra Costa Medical Career College’s PTA Program, the applicant must be aware that in order to sit for the National Exam and to apply for the State of California PTA license, the applicant must have an Associate’s degree or higher in any discipline and the following courses must have been successfully completed.
Applicant must have completed the following pre-requisite courses with a “C” grade or higher
General Education Requirements
Academic requirements specified below must be completed at a regionally accredited institution: Successful completion (defined as receiving a grade of “C” or higher) of college-level coursework in the subjects below. CCMCC does not accept Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit grades in fulfillment of admissions prerequisites. Courses must be a minimum of 3 semester or 4 quarter credits.
Transcripts identifying 15 semester or 20 quarter units with evidence of at least one course in each of the following subject areas:
- Natural Science (e.g. Biology, Physics, Zoology)
- Social Behavioral Sciences (e.g. Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology)
- Humanities (e.g. Art, Music, Foreign Language)
- English, Speech or Mathematics (e.g. Literature, Statistics, Algebra)
- English Composition (AA or BA Degree level and a “C” grade or better)
Other Pre-requisite Requirements
Transcripts identifying successful completion of the following pre-requisite courses.
- Medical Terminology (3 or 4 unit college level course)
- Anatomy and Physiology with Lab (4 or 5 unit college level course)
- Intro to Psychology (3 or 4 unit college level course)
- Oral Communications, Speech (3 or 4 unit college level course)
40 hours of clinical observation/volunteer work
It is required that applicants volunteer, observe or “job shadow” in more than one type of PT settings. The applicant must have 2 completed and signed confirmation sheets received by the program by the application deadline for an application packet to be considered complete. The Contra Costa Medical Career College PTA program only expects that you are a “Passive Observer” while job shadowing within a PT setting. The program does not expect nor does it condone applicants participating in any direct patient care.
One program essay
Program essay is described within the separate PTA program application. The essay must be completed as specifically instructed within the application and received with the submission of the application packet. Please follow all formatting instructions in full.
Interviews will be scheduled for qualified PTA program applicants who meet minimum
application/admission requirements and who submit a fully completed application packet with all
that is received by March 1st deadline.
*Submission of a PTA application does not guarantee an offer of an interview.
Attendance at PTA Program Open House / Informational Meeting or an individual meeting
with the PTA Program Director will be required prior to the beginning in the fall.
Several dates and times will be made available to allow students, parents or legal guardians, and working individuals to attend, and will be posted periodically on the PTA Program web page.