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    Florida State College
  Apr 21, 2018
2009-2010 Catalog [Aug. 2009-Aug. 2010] [Archived Catalog]

Physical Therapy Assistant (Physical Therapist Assistant) (Program Brochure)



This packet is for individuals interested in admission to the Physical Therapy Assistant (Physical Therapist Assistant) (222A) (A.S.)  program at Florida State College. It is designed to provide prospective students with the information and complete instructions necessary to apply. Failure to follow the guidelines set forth in this packet could disqualify an applicant from consideration for admission.

This packet becomes effective March 2009 and applies only to admission to the technical phase of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program in 2010.

Program Accreditation

On October 27, 1999, the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) granted accreditation status to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Florida Community College at Jacksonville (now Florida State College), effective for five years. In the interest of continuous quality improvement that the accreditation process serves, continued accreditation status is contingent on the program indicating continuous quality improvement as demonstrated by satisfactorily completing any required Progress Reports and Annual Accreditation Reports. The program was reviewed by CAPTE and granted continued accreditation effective for 10 years beginning April 2005.

Equal Access — Equal Opportunity

Florida State College’s PTA program functions in accordance with the College’s policy on equal access/equal opportunity.

Florida State College is an equal access/equal opportunity/affirmative action college in education and employment. The commitment of Florida State College at Jacksonville’s District Board of Trustees and the College administration to equal opportunity extends to all facets of governance, operational procedures, instructional programs, student activities, and services. The admission and employment policies of the College provide equal access to educational services and equal opportunity for employment within the College. The College is guided by the principle that no person who chooses to learn or work at Florida State College shall be treated differently because of age, race, color, religious beliefs, national origin, sex, marital status, or disability.

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General Information

Role of the Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapy is a dynamic profession involved in restoring, maintaining and promoting physical function, wellness and fitness, and quality of life. The physical therapist assistant (PTA) is a skilled technical health care provider who works under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist (PT) in the assessment, treatment and prevention of physical disability resulting from injury, disease, pain and other health related conditions. The PT evaluates the patient/client and develops a plan of care.  The PTA, working as a member of the rehabilitation team, assists in implementing the treatment program according to the plan of care.  Typical duties of the PTA include: training patients/clients in exercise, ambulation and activities of daily living; conducting treatment using specialized equipment; administering therapeutic physical agents such as heat, cold and electrical stimulation; assisting in the performance of tests and measurements; and observing and reporting patient responses and changes in condition to the PT.  Interested students can learn more about the profession of physical therapy and the role of the physical therapist assistant by contacting the American Physical Therapy Association at 1-800-999-APTA (2782).

Employment Opportunities

PTAs work in a variety of settings including acute care hospitals, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers, sports medicine and orthopedic clinics, home health agencies, school systems, pediatric clinics, nursing homes, corporate or industrial health centers education, and government agencies. According to the U.S. Department of Labor 2008-09 Occupations Outlook Handbook, the demand for PTAs is expected to grow by 29% between 2006 and 2016. The U.S. Department of Labor lists PTA as one of the 30 fastest growing occupations through 2010 with starting salaries ranging from $40,000 to $45,000 annually in Florida, depending on employment setting and geographic location.

Advancement Opportunities

PTAs have opportunities for advancement through employer career ladders, certification in specialty areas that can compliment the skills of a PTA, and management in situations where the PTA has the necessary experience, and compliance with professional standards and state law is not compromised. Some PTAs choose to go on to universities to become athletic trainers and/or physical therapists. The Florida State College A.S. degree in PTA articulates into a bachelor’s degree programs. Visit Transfer Services for additional information.

Physical Demands of the Physical Therapist Assistant

The Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) rates the strength demands of a PTA at the medium level. This translates into lifting or exerting a force of 20-50 pounds occasionally, 10-25 pounds frequently and 10 pounds or less constantly. In addition, the physical demand ratings of several local employers state that the PTA is required to lift 100+ pounds on an occasional basis. According to the DOT, other physical demands required of the PTA on an occasional basis are climbing, crawling, ability to see within a field of vision, and identify and distinguish colors. Physical demands required on a frequent basis are stooping, kneeling, crouching, reaching, handling, manipulation with fingers, feeling, talking, hearing, near visual acuity and visual accommodation. The PTA is not typically exposed to any unusual or extreme environmental conditions.

Note: Students accepted to the program are provided with a list of essential job functions.  Applicants may request the list of essential job functions from the program manager.

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Program Description

The PTA program at Florida State College is a two-year associate in science degree program.  It is located on the North Campus which houses all the College’s health programs.  The program is divided into two phases: a pre-technical, or preparatory phase; and a technical phase. 

Pre-Technical or Preparatory Phase

The pre-technical phase consists of general education courses required for an associate in science degree and other selected preparatory courses. These courses may be taken at Florida State College, or any other accredited college or university and then transferred to Florida State College. This phase is open access to all students. The length of time required to complete this phase varies depending on availability of course offerings, college and personal scheduling conflicts, and other factors. All courses required for this phase are transferable to the Florida State University System.

During this phase students must meet certain criteria for consideration for admission to the technical phase. Once these criteria are met, the student is eligible to apply for admission to the technical phase during the designated application period. Students are strongly advised to take all pre-technical courses prior to applying to the technical phase.

Successful completion of all pre-technical course work and other admission criteria does not guarantee admission to the technical phase of the program.

Technical Phase

The technical phase of the PTA program has limited access. Thirty students are selected from the applicant pool each year. The technical phase consists of 51 credit hours of PTA courses and takes four semesters of full-time study. All technical phase courses are scheduled during day or evening hours. The schedule is followed by all 30 students and courses are taught on Florida State College North Campus with the exception of clinical internships. With a few exceptions, courses taken during this phase are non-transferable to a university. Upon successful completion of the technical phase of the PTA program, students are eligible to apply to take a state administered national examination in order to qualify for licensure to practice as PTAs.

Technical Phase Travel

Included in the technical phase are clinical internships in which students are assigned to various agencies that provide physical therapy services. During each internship, students will be working/learning under the supervision of a PTA and/or PT in actual patient care conditions.  Students are required to travel to various agencies that provide physical therapy services during clinical practice courses. Most of these agencies are located in the northeast Florida area.  Students are responsible for providing their own transportation to the clinical sites.

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Financial Considerations

Estimated Expenses

Tuition and Fees*
Florida Residents $85.16 x 74 credit hours = $6,301.84
Non-Florida Residents $324.89 x 74 credit hours = $24,041.86
Eligible Georgia Residents $165.07 x 74 credit hours = $12,215.18

Other Expenses

  • College application fee
  • CPR and First Aid courses
  • Health Occupations Test fee
  • Physical examination/Immunizations
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Student APTA membership (optional)
  • Textbooks/Electronic Resources
  • Lab fees
  • Criminal background check
  • Florida State College name tag
  • Lab coat
  • Graduation fees

*Tuition and fees, and other expenses are subject to change without notice.

Professional Examination and Licensing Fees

Most states, including Florida and Georgia, require licensure of PTAs. Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for licensure. Initial licensure requires passing a written examination and payment of fees (approximately $700).

Student Employment

The technical phase of the PTA program is academically demanding and time consuming. The transition from general education courses to the PTA curriculum requires many adjustments and a major commitment of both time and effort. Employment may be possible on a part-time basis. Full-time employment is discouraged.  Employment is strongly discouraged during full-time clinical affiliations.

Financial Aid

Student financial aid is available from federal, state, private or institutional sources. Depending on the type of aid, eligibility is determined by one or more of the following factors: financial need, academic achievement, disability and/or special talent. There are many types of assistance offered at Florida State College, including grants, loans, work programs, scholarships, and Veterans assistance. Students should never assume they will not qualify for financial aid, and are encouraged to visit the Financial Aid Web page or contact Enrollment Services on any campus for additional information.

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Application Process

In order to become a candidate for the technical phase of the PTA program, students must complete the following criteria:

  1. Acceptance to Florida State College
    Students who are not currently enrolled in Florida State College must apply and gain admission to the College. Students should call (904) 359-5433 for an application or apply online. Students who have completed college credit courses at an accredited institution other than Florida State College and wish to transfer this credit to the College need to review and follow the required enrollment procedures. Particular attention should be given to the subsection titled Incoming Transfer Students to Florida State College’s Degree Programs. Students who previously attended Florida State College but have not been in attendance for one year or more must submit a readmission application and provide all documentation regarding residency requirements. Students seeking readmission after academic suspension or dismissal must follow the procedures for reinstatement outlined in the Standards of Academic Progress section of the Catalog. Acceptance to Florida State College does not guarantee admission to the technical phase of the PTA program. The PTA program gives priority to qualified applicants (Florida residents) living in the program service district (Duval and Nassau counties).
  2. Completion of Required Pre-Technical Coursework
    The prerequisite courses for the technical phase of the PTA program are.
    • *BSC 2085C - Human Anatomy and Physiology I
    • *BSC 2086C - Human Anatomy and Physiology II
    • DEP 2004 - Human Growth and Development
    • ENC 1101 - English Composition I
    • PHY 1020C - Physics for Liberal Arts with Laboratory
    • Humanities (refer to A.S./A.A.S. degree General Education Requirements )
    • Mathematics (refer to A.S./A.A.S. degree General Education Requirement )

*If either of these courses have been completed more than five years prior to enrollment in the technical phase, a competency examination with a minimum passing grade of 75 percent may be required.

Note: BSC 2085C, DEP 2004, ENC 1101, and the Humanities and Mathematics courses must be completed prior to enrollment in the technical phase.  BSC 2086C and PHY 1020C may be taken concurrently during the first two terms of the technical phase. All courses required for the degree must be completed with a minimum grade of “C”. The overall or cumulative GPA must be 2.5 or higher for admission to the PTA program.

  1. Revised Psychological Services Bureau Health Occupations Aptitude Examination
    Applicants are required to take the Revised PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Examination (HOT) test. Applicants must receive an average score above the twenty-fifth percentile in order to be considered for admission to the PTA program. Applicants are permitted a maximum of two attempts within a one year period with three months between attempts. Test results are good for a two year period. There is a fee for the examination. Applicants should contact Florida State College’s North Campus Assessment Center at (904) 713-6708, or any other Florida State College campus assessment center for test and scheduling information. The examination results must be submitted to the PTA Program with the application. Students who are not currently enrolled in at the College must apply and gain admission to the college prior to receiving authorization to take the examination through Florida State College’s Assessment Center. Students who previously attended Florida State College but have not been in attendance for one year or more must submit a readmission application and provide all documentation regarding residency requirements prior to receiving authorization to take the examination. Students seeking readmission after academic suspension or dismissal must follow the procedures for reinstatement outlined in the Standards of Academic Progress prior to receiving authorization to take the examination.
  2. Clinical Exposure
    Students are required to have exposure to the profession of physical therapy through observation, volunteer service and/or work experience. Students must submit documentation verifying completion of a minimum of 10 hours of observation in two different physical therapy departments (five hours in an inpatient setting and five hours in an out-patient setting). Students should use the Clinical Experience Verification Form to document their exposure. Copies of the blank form may be made as needed. The forms must be completed in full and submitted with the application for admission to the technical phase of the PTA program.

    When making arrangements to meet this criterion, students should contact, either by phone or in writing, the physical therapy department in a facility of their choice. Students should identify themselves as prospective Florida State College PTA students completing an admission requirement for the program. They then should courteously request the opportunity to observe, volunteer or work in the department.      Students should remember that they will be guests in these agencies. Students should be punctual, dress neatly and conduct themselves in a polite and professional manner. These appointments should be scheduled well in advance of the application deadline as physical therapy departments may require some time in accommodating a student’s request. If unable to keep scheduled appointments, students should call in advance to cancel. The Florida State College PTA faculty and staff do not provide assistance in scheduling this experience. It is the sole responsibility of the student.
  3. Submission of College Transcripts
    Students who are transferring credit for course work completed at a college or university other than Florida State College are required to have their official transcript(s) sent directly from the college or university to: Student Records Office, Florida State College , 940 N. Main St., Jacksonville, FL 32202. In order for your transcripts to be evaluated by Florida State College, you must have been accepted to Florida State College and have an active student number. A copy of college transcript(s), including Florida State College, must also be submitted with the program application.

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Record of Conviction of a Crime

The Florida State Board of Physical Therapy, in accordance with Chapter 486.125 of the Florida Statutes, determines the eligibility of physical therapist assistant program graduates for licensure. If an individual has been convicted or found guilty of a felony, or a crime which directly relates to the practice of physical therapy or the ability to practice physical therapy, he/she may not be eligible for licensure as a physical therapist assistant.

Note: All students admitted to the program are required to submit to a criminal background check by an agency determined by the college. Students may be required to submit to drug screening.

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Submission of Application to the PTA Program

Students who have met the criteria outlined in the Application Process section are eligible to submit an application to the PTA program. Complete applications consist of the following items:

  1. Completed four-page PTA Program Application ,
  2. Original or official college copy of scores from the Health Occupations Aptitude Examination,
  3. Completed Clinical Experience Verification Form(s), and
  4. Copies of college transcripts (including Florida State College)

Please submit the above items together before the deadline.

Note: The PTA program is unable to provide applicants with copies of any documentation in their files. Please make and retain copies for your future use prior to submitting anything to the PTA program.

Completed applications should be sent to:

Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Florida State College, North Campus
4501 Capper Road
Jacksonville, FL 32218

Candidates will be notified of their status after all completed applications have been reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Notification of admission to the program will be made by mail

Note: It is the applicant’s responsibility to keep the PTA program informed of any changes in mailing address and telephone number. Incorrect addresses may delay a candidate’s notification, or cause the candidate to lose his/her seat. Address and telephone number corrections should be made in writing and sent to the PTA program.

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Process for Selection of Qualified Applicants

Admission to the technical phase of the PTA program is on a selective basis. Students who meet the criteria outlined in the application process and submit complete applications by the deadline will be awarded points based on general education course grades and HOT scores. The 30 highest ranked students will be accepted into the technical phase of the PTA program and notified of their acceptance by mail. A ranked alternate list may be established. In the event of forfeiture, the next highest ranked student will be notified of acceptance. Applicants who are not awarded one of the available seats but who wish to seek admission to the technical phase of a future class will have to submit a new application for the term in which they seek admission.

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Point System for Selective Admissions

Category I: Grades in Five Required Prerequisite General Education Courses (Maximum Points=125)

The following scale is used to award points based on grades earned in the required general education courses: A = 25 points; B = 20 points; and C = 15 points.


Course Grade Points
Mathematics B 20
ENC 110 C 15
DEP 2003 A 25
Humanities B 20
BSC 2085C A 25
*Total Category I Points: 105   

*The preceding example is for illustrative purposes only.  Total category I points will vary based on the actual grades in each course.

Category II: Revised PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Examination (Maximum Points=100)

The average of the percentile scores achieved on the Revised PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Examination is used to award points.


Verbal 76
Arithmetic 62
Nonverbal 80
Academic Aptitude 73
Spelling 59
Reading Comprehension 86
Natural Sciences 68
Vocational Adjustment 93
Average of above scores = 75
*Total Category II Points: 75

*The preceding example is for illustrative purposes only. Total category II points will vary based on the actual percentile rank achieved in each section.

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Students Who are Awarded and Formally Accept PTA Program Class Seats

Students are notified of their acceptance into the technical phase of the PTA program by mail.  Students who receive letters of acceptance must accept the seat within two weeks. If the student does not accept the seat by the deadline, the seat will be offered to the next highest ranked candidate on the Alternate List.

  1. PTA Program Orientation Sessions
    Students are required to attend PTA Program Orientation Sessions to be held on Florida State College’s North Campus. The student will be notified of the time, date, and location of the orientation sessions in the acceptance letter.
  2. Student Health Certificate, Immunization History and Hepatitis B Vaccine
    Students must submit a current Student Health Certificate (completed by a physician), immunization history, Varicella titer, and Hepatitis B Vaccine statement
  3. CPR and First Aid
    Students must submit evidence of current cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification (American Heart Association’s Healthcare Provider CPR or American Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer) and current certification in standard first aid.
  4. Medical Insurance
    Students are encouraged to carry medical insurance while enrolled in the PTA program. The student is responsible for any and all costs related to their medical needs while enrolled in the program. Information on low cost student plans can be obtained from any campus Student Life and Leadership office or the APTA’s Student Insurance Division at 1-800-237-0903.
  5. Professional Liability Insurance
    Students must be covered by professional liability insurance in order to participate in off campus clinical internships. This is arranged through the College at a cost of $21 to the student.  The fee is paid at a rate of $7 per course when registering for PHT 2801L, PHT 2810L and PHT 2820L.
  6. Criminal Background Checks
    Several agencies that serve as clinical education sites for the PTA program require criminal background checks. Since you may be assigned to one of these agencies during a clinical internship, a criminal background check will be required. Drug testing may also be required by some clinical agencies. Students will be notified of this requirement prior to clinical placement.

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Denial or Required Withdrawal

In accordance with Chapter 486.125 of the Florida Statutes, the PTA program reserves the right to deny or delay admission or require withdrawal of any student who, in the judgment of the department, gives evidence of “being unable to practice physical therapy with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals or any other type of material, or as a result of any mental or physical condition.”

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Additional Information or Clarification

If you are in need of additional information or clarification of the content in this packet, contact Karey Ledbetter (904) 766-5574. Information regarding graduation rates, licensure examination pass rates, and employment rates of graduates is also available from the faculty member.