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Physical Therapist Assistant

What is a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)?

Apply to the PTA ProgramThe physical therapist assistant is a skilled technical health-care worker who carries out the patient’s treatment program under the supervision of a physical therapist. The physical therapist assistant is involved in patient care to the extent the supervising physical therapist allows.

Common duties of a physical therapist assistant include: conducting physical therapy treatments, training patients and family members on proper performance of exercise and activities of daily living, assist the physical therapist in performing assessments/evaluations and more complex treatment procedures, and observing/reporting the patient’s response to treatment.

Physical therapist assistants commonly work alongside other disciplines such as nursing, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, social work, physician services, recreational therapy, dietary, and psychology. The goal of this team of professionals is the patient’s restoration to his or her highest level of function.

Who is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

A physical therapist assistant is an individual who enjoys working with people by applying his or her interested in medical science to each individual. A physical therapist assistant is in high demand at this time and can be found in many settings including: hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation agencies, medical groups, and schools.

Southern Adventist University’s PTA Program

The physical therapist assistant program at Southern Adventist University is a 15 month sequence of classes that begin each August and commence in December of the following year. Students will initially spend a majority of time in the classroom followed by three major clinical rotations, one four weeks and two six weeks.

Clinical placements will be assigned by the Director of Clinical Education or a designate (or program director). Because of the limited number of local facilities available, assignments cannot be made on the basis of the student’s family/marital status or personal preference. Although the department makes an effort to accommodate the student’s preference, the student agrees to accept the clinical assignment made by the department at any of the affiliated facilities, whether local or out of state. Clinical facilities may also require a background check and or fingerprinting and may have certain stipulations (ie, immunizations, CPR certification) that need to be met before the student is assigned. Costs for these requirements are the student’s financial responsibility.


Any complaints about the program can be directed to Christopher Stewart, Program Director, by mail at PO Box 370, Collegedale, TN 37315, by email at cbstewart@southern.edu, or submitted directly to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) at addresses below.


Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone; 701-706-3245; accreditation@apta.org is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Southern Adventist University is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist assistant education program from CAPTE. The program is planning to submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application required in the pre-accreditation stage, on June 1, 2018. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the technical phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in technical courses until Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.

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PTA Department functional_lab PTAModalitiesLab PTAClassroom