Considering our program? Want to learn how to get started? Consult the drop down menu for answers to PTA FAQs.
Application and Program FAQs
How do I apply to the PTA program?
The PTA program is a selective admission program. Application to the program is made separately from application for admission to Ozarks Technical Community College. You can find the application process for the PTA program at academics.otc.edu/pta/admission-information/.
If students desire more information, they may make an appointment to meet with a faculty member. For more information, please contact one of the physical therapist assistant faculty members. You can find contact information under the “PTA Faculty” link.
When is the application deadline?
The deadline for application is September 1st annually. There is no preference given to candidates who submit an application earlier than the deadline; however, the program encourages students to complete the application process earlier than the September 1st deadline if possible.
What courses need to be completed in order to apply to the PTA program?
Applicants need to have all pre-requisite course work completed (or in-progress) before the end of the fall semester in which they submit application to the PTA Program. The program strongly encourages students to complete BCS 210 Pathophysiology prior to acceptance.
However, it does not require the student to complete BCS 210 Pathophysiolgy until the 1st spring semester of the program.
What are other requirements to apply to the PTA program?
The admissions checklist details all application requirements. You can find this information here:
What observation hours are required to get into the PTA program?
Applicants must submit with their PTA program application the following information:
- Two separate forms documenting evidence of 20 total hours of shadowing
- 10 hours in two separate physical therapy settings
- Students must complete shadowing in one outpatient PT setting and in one inpatient type PT setting.
- Documented experience as a PT technician will count for 10 hours of shadowing in one physical therapy setting.
Does the program maintain a waiting list of qualified applicants from year to year?
No. While some programs draw from a list of applicants from years past, we do not have a waiting list. Each year we choose from the applicants who applied to the program in that cycle and select the twenty-four most qualified applicants.
We encourage applicants who applied unsuccessfully in the past to reapply.
When does the PTA program start?
The PTA program begins annually with the start of the spring semester.
How long does it take to complete the program?
It takes seventeen months. A cohort of students begins every spring and graduates in mid-May– just less than two years later.
When do classes meet? Is it part-time or full-time? Is it possible to complete online?
The program is a full-time, daytime program with both morning and afternoon courses held Monday through Friday. The program conducts the courses in a seated format.
How rigorous is the PTA program?
The PTA program is very rigorous. Students should plan to study a minimum of 2 to 3 hours per week for every credit hour taken. It is difficult to work while in the PTA program.
What is the accreditation status of the PTA program?
The Ozarks Technical Community College Physical Therapist Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
What about licensure after graduation?
Graduates of the PTA program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for the Physical Therapist Assistant. They are also eligible to apply for state licensure. The state of Missouri, as in most states, requires licensure.
Does the A.A.S. Physical Therapist Assistant degree transfer?
Yes. This degree will transfer into Drury University’s Bachelor of Science in Health Services. Click here for more information.
Physical Therapist Assistant FAQs
What do PTAs do?
The PTA’s Role
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy treatments under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist (PT). PTAs help people of all ages who have health-related conditions which limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in daily life.
Where do PTAs work?
The PTA program prepares students to provide entry-level, skilled patient care in a variety of settings. Some of these settings may include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities and outpatient clinics. There are also employment options available in sports medicine clinics and school-based systems.
What will I learn in the PTA program?
Topics of Study
The program teaches physical therapy treatment interventions and associated data collection skills for patients with problems of:
- Musculoskeletal (bones, muscles, ligaments)
- Neurologic (nerves, brain, spinal cord)
- Cardiac (heart)
- Pulmonary (lungs)
- Integumentary (skin) systems
Students complete all work of a PTA under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist.
What is the degree awarded?
We award our graduates with an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistance.
Does becoming a PTA prepare me to transfer to a PT program?
No, not directly. PTA programs are not designed to prepare individuals to continue directly toward a degree as a Physical Therapist (PT). PT programs are graduate (doctoral) level programs. These programs require a bachelor’s degree to apply.
The American Physical Therapy Association has resources which can help you explore this option. For more information, contact the APTA at 1-800-999-APTA, or go to http://www.apta.org/PTA/Careers/PTAtoPT/.
The annual mean wage in 2012 for physical therapist assistants in Missouri was $48,950. Source: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes312021.htm accessed 5/14/2013.
Clinical Education FAQs
Where do students complete their required clinical hours and how many hours are required?
The PTA program has clinical contracts with many facilities in the Springfield area, as well as facilities throughout Missouri. In addition, we also have contracts in Arkansas and other surrounding states. Our contracts include hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient facilities and schools. All clinical assignments are full-time and will require 37.5 hours per week.
Note: Hospitals and facilities may mandate that they conduct an additional criminal background check and/or drug screening (at the student’s expense) prior to placement in a clinical setting. The program may prohibit students who do not pass these checks from participating in the clinical experience. This renders the student ineligible to satisfactorily meet the course/program requirements.
What are the requirements for the clinical courses in the curriculum?
There are two clinical education courses in the PTA curriculum. The first course consists of one 4-week long clinical experience in the fall semester. The second course consists of two, 6-week rotations that occur in the final spring semester of the program. The clinical education courses allow an introduction to patient care as a physical therapist assistant under the direction of a clinical instructor (CI).
- Prior to the clinical education courses, students will need to provide proof of the following:
- Immunization or titer for measles/mumps/rubella, chickenpox, tetanus, diptheria and polio
- Hepatitis B immunization or a waiver
- CPR and first aid certification
- Health report signed by a physician
- TB screening
- Acceptable criminal background check
- Negative drug screen
NOTE: State law regarding health care providers does not allow students who do not pass the background check to obtain a license to practice or allow them to participate in clinical education courses.