Program - Physical Therapist Assistant

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Physical Therapist Assistant

Program Information

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Physical Therapist Assistant degree program prepares students for employment as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), a health-care provider who, with the guidance of a physical therapist, performs a wide variety of functions as part of the health-care team. This field has been expanding in recent years and the employment outlook continues to be good in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home care, and outpatient facilities. In addition to class work in psychology, medical terminology, neuroanatomy and physiology, instrumentation and kinesiology for physical therapy, and advanced physical therapy techniques, students gain “hands-on” experience through clinical practice at area health-care facilities. The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Anoka-Ramsey Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Developmental Courses

Some students may need preparatory courses in the areas of English, mathematics or reading. Courses numbered below 1000 will not apply toward this degree.

  • The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Anoka-Ramsey Community College is accredited by CAPTE. 

    If needing to contact the program or institution directly, please call Lisa Lentner at 763-433-1293 or email

    The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
    1111 North Fairfax Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22314

  • By completing this program, students will achieve the following learning goals:

    1. Demonstrate competent written and electronic documentation skills, and oral communication skills.
    2. Perform all treatment procedures skillfully and safely, including modalities, massage, manual skills, gait training, and data collection for the physical therapist to use for assessment purposes.
    3. Demonstrate knowledge of the normal structure and function of the human body and understand the physiological and psychological effects of disease and injury.
    4. Demonstrate understanding of his/her professional role as a PTA and demonstrate awareness of ethical behavior, legal responsibility, and the PT/PTA professional relationship.
    5. Recognize and appreciate diversity within society and the health care profession.
    6. Successfully pass the PTA licensure exam and begin practice as an entry-level physical therapist assistant.
  • To apply for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program, submit the Application for Physical Therapist Assistant program to the Records and Registration Office between February 1 and February 28 for the following fall. Application materials are available online. All PTA Program requirements are offered at the Coon Rapids Campus.

    PTA Information Packet

    • A minimum of 69 semester credits in courses numbered 1000 or above.
    • A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 in courses numbered 1000 or above at ARCC.
    • Satisfy residency requirements.
    • A minimum grade of C in all program requirements and general education courses and a grade of “Pass” in clinical practices must be earned.
    • All program requirements must be completed at ARCC.
    • Completion of specific degree requirements.
    • To receive your diploma, you must apply to graduate.
    • The requirements of this program are subject to change without notice.

    NOTE: You are encouraged to contact an academic advisor at 763-433-1230 for course planning assistance and information about transfer credit evaluation and transfer options.

    PROGRAM NOTE: Students who fail to meet the sequence requirements, prerequisites, and academic achievement levels will be dropped from the program.

  •  47 credits

    The PTA Program Core course requirements are only offered at the Coon Rapids Campus.
    BIOL 1102 Medical Terminology 2
    PTAC 1010* Clinical Practice I 3
    PTAC 1020* Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Kinesiology for the PTA 4
    PTAC 1030* Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant Theory 2
    PTAC 1040* Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant Lab 2
    PTAC 1050* Modalities and Massage Theory 3
    PTAC 1060* Modalities and Massage Lab 3
    PTAC 1070* Therapeutic Exercise Theory 2
    PTAC 1080* Therapeutic Exercise Lab 3
    PTAC 1100* Communication and Documentation for the Physical Therapy Assistant I 1
    PTAC 1110* Communication and Documentation for the Physical Therapy Assistant II 1
    PTAC 2000* Musculoskeletal Disorders 3
    PTAC 2010* Neuroanatomy and Functional Rehabilitation Theory 3
    PTAC 2015* Neuroanatomy and Functional Rehabilitation Lab 2
    PTAC 2020* Clinical Practice II 3
    PTAC 2040* Special Topics I 3
    PTAC 2050* Special Topics II 4
    PTAC 2060* Clinical Practice II** 3
    *Course has prerequisite - see course schedule or catalog description.
    ** Students must complete all General Education requirements prior to or during enrollment in PTAC 2060.
  • 22 credits

    Complete at least 22 credits in courses from the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) including the following:
    BIOL 2113* Human Anatomy and Physiology I** 4
    BIOL 2114*  Human Anatomy and Physiology II** 4
    CMST 1110
    OR CMST 2215
    OR CMST 2220
    Introduction to Communication
    OR Public Speaking
    OR Interpersonal Communication
    ENGL 1120* OR ENGL 1121* Cross-Current College Writing and Critical Reading
    OR College Writing and Critical Reading
    PSYC 1110 General Psychology 4
    Humanities/Fine Arts Elective (Goal Area 6)  3
    *Course has prerequisite - see course schedule or catalog description.
    ** BIOL 2113 and 2114 must be completed no more than seven years prior to admission and must be completed prior to PTAC 1010 Clinical Practice I.
  • 4 credits

    PTAC 2110* Physical Therapy Research I 1
    PTAC 2120* Physical Therapy Research II 1
    PTAC 2130* PTA Clinic 1
    PTAC 2170* Physical Therapy Seminars 1
    * Course has prerequisite - see course schedule or catalog description.
  • In 2017, the graduation rate for the Anoka-Ramsey PTA Program was 93.8%, in 2018 it was 81.5% and in 2019 it was 96.8% for a three-year average of 90.7%.

    For the graduating class of 2017, 97% of those who graduated and sought employment in physical therapy (full-time or part-time) were employed within one year following graduation. For the graduating class of 2018, 100% of those seeking employment as a PTA were employed within one year after graduation. In 2019 96% of graduates who passed the licensing exam and were seeking employment are now working as a PTA.

    Upon successful completion of the PTA program, graduates must pass the National Physical Therapy Licensing Exam (NPTE).

    Our graduates have been very successful on the PTA National licensing exam (NPTE). In 2017 our program's first time pass rate was 93.3% and ultimate pass rate was 96.7%. In 2018 the first time was 90% and ultimate pass rate was 100%. In 2019 the first time pass rate was 89.7% and the ultimate pass rate was 96.6%. A total of 79 graduates from those three cohorts have taken the exam. The mean scores have improved almost every year since 2008 and for 2017 the ultimate mean score was 685.9 in 2018 the ultimate mean score was 675.1 and in 2019 it was 685.7. A score of 600 is required to pass the licensing exam.

    Scale Scores of 600 and above are passing

    According to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) reports, ARCC PTA graduates scored above the national mean scale score in all content areas of the licensing exam except the musculoskeletal system.

  • View the Online Information Video (Double Click to Enlarge):

    • Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant

Supplementary Information

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