Click on a question to read the answer.
What are the admission guidelines for the program?
Applicants must meet the general admission requirements for the college. Cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be ≥ 2.75 by the end of Fall 2023 based on at least 12 credit hours of college credit or if less than 12 credit hours of college-high school GPA. If your GPA is not above a 2.75, you are encouraged to seek advising from the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office about how this will impact your eligibility and how to improve your GPA as early in the process as possible.
CLEP and AP exams may be transferred in as a general education course(s) per college policy, but results will not be utilized in a student’s GPA calculation.
When a student’s GPA is reviewed, there will be no rounding that occurs. The GPA that is reviewed will only include to the hundredth, no additional portions of the GPA will be considered. This policy aligns with the program policy of not rounding grades.
The TEAS test must be passed with a minimum composite/total of 60%.
The following college level prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher by the end of the Summer 2024 semester:
- SDV 101 (Orientation to Health Professions – 2 cr.)
- BIO 141 (Human Anatomy & Physiology I – 4 cr. with lab)
BIO 141 must be taken within the 5 years prior to the fall semester you are applying for. BIO 231 and BIO 232 with lab is an acceptable equivalent. Please note: the prerequisite for BIO 141 at VWCC is a recent college level Biology, (BIO 101 or NAS 2) successfully completed within the last three years. The prerequisite for either BIO 101 or NAS 2 is successful completion of MDE 10, previously successful completion of the math units 1-5 (within the last five years) or direct placement into college level math.
Please be sure and turn on your notifications in Navigate, as we will be communicating with you via Navigate to register for the HESI, especially.
What if I graduated high school from a foreign country and cannot obtain my official transcripts?
Is the program accredited?
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: 703-706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.
Effective November 2, 2021, Virginia Western Community College has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone: 703-706-3245; email: email@example.com). If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 540-857-6728 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidate for Accreditation is an accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status does not assure that the program will be granted Initial Accreditation.
Is admission to the program very competitive?
Approximately twenty four (24) students will be admitted yearly to the Physical Therapist Assistant class. The criteria that will be evaluated include: (1) academic record and GPA, (2) TEAS scores, all sections (minimum of 60% required on the total score), and (3) written essay component, (4) interview.
What is the TEAS? When do I take it?
TEAS is the Test of Essential Academic Skills for Allied Health. The TEAS measures basic essential skills in the academic content areas of reading, mathematics, science and English and language usage. We are interested in all scores of the TEAS with the minimum total score of 60 to receive consideration for admission.
TEAS testing is usually conducted mid-March. All qualified early applicants should receive additional details by early March regarding TEAS testing dates. Only qualified applicants, who meet the minimum criteria, will be tested during this time period.)
Who makes the admission decisions? When are the results given to the applicants?
A Physical Therapist Assistant Admissions Committee, which meets near the end of the spring semester, makes the admission decisions. Decisions are emailed to the applicants as soon as possible, usually during the 3rd full week of May.
Decisions are made based on a scoring rubric that takes into account GPA, TEAS scores, and performance in an interview and essay. If two students have the same final admissions score, the student with the higher score of GPA points from the rubric plus total TEAS points from the rubric will be ranked higher. If two students have the same rubric TEAS plus GPA total rubric points, the student with the higher college GPA will be ranked higher.
Why is the physical therapist assistant program considered difficult?
The curriculum is designed to prepare selected students to become part of a skilled allied health care team that will provide physical therapy services under the direction of a licensed Physical Therapist. Students are prepared as generalists, allowing them to enter a variety of clinical settings following graduation and licensure. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to the take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination. A passing score on the examination is required to obtain a license to practice as a physical therapist assistant (PTA). Licensure is required in all 50 states to practice as a PTA.
To assist students in preparation for successfully completing their clinical rotations and their licensing examination, the program uses a seven-point grading scales, and all courses must be passed with a grade of “C” or above to ensure continued enrollment. Students must demonstrate a mastery of both academic and hands-on course material in order to progress through the program. Continuance in the program is based upon academic criteria and adherence to attendance and other program policies covered at orientation. Satisfactory progress and graduation is necessary for eligibility to take licensure examinations.
Are there additional costs beyond tuition and books?
Yes, there will be additional costs for items such as a PTA Student Kit, clothing to meet classroom and clinical dress code, health requirements (physical examination and immunizations), background checks, drug screens, CPR certification, completion of a review course, and licensing fees. Full information on program costs can be found on this website.
Can the program be taken at night or on a part-time basis?
The core PTA courses must be taken in sequence as outlined in the college catalog (including a summer semester). The core program coursework is only offered during the day. The program is considered a full-time day-time class and clinical experiences may also occur during holidays.
What would the impact be on program completion, for a person who does not have the COVID-19 vaccination?
Virginia Western Community College faculty and students must comply with the policies required by clinical facilities with which we have legal agreements. If a student refuses to comply with a clinical facility immunization and vaccination requirement, Virginia Western Community College will attempt, but cannot guarantee, to assign a student to an alternative clinical facility. A student will be placed in an alternative location only if it meets the educational objectives of Virginia Western Community College and program requirements for clinical placement. Faculty also must be available to appropriately supervise students at the clinical facility. Refusal to comply with a clinical facility immunization and vaccination requirement by a student in our health programs may impede your progress in the program or your ability to remain in the program.
Why are some support classes within the AAS Physical Therapist Assistant not covered by Financial Aid (FA) in the CSC: Introduction to PTA?
The CSC: Introduction to PTA consist of specific coursework that is designed to allow applicants to the PTA program to complete some of the courses required within the AAS and to also offer a job skill option to applicants in case of non-admittance to the program. Not all prerequisite and support classes are included in the CSC. The HLT 141 is not included in the CSC and the course options offer PSY 230 OR PHI 220. If you are using FA to cover the cost of classes, FA will not cover the cost of both PSY 230 and PHI 220 nor will it cover cost of the HLT 141 course. If you wish to complete those courses prior to entry, you need to plan to pay for those courses out of pocket. If you are accepted into the AAS Physical Therapist Assistant program, at that time, FA will then cover those courses. The plan change for accepted students, to be placed into the AAS program from the CSC, typically occurs in late May or early June for the accepted students and is in effect for fall semester.
What is the job skill option in the CSC: Introduction to PTA?
It allows applicants who may not be accepted into the AAS PTA program, to academically prepare students to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification exam, if the EMS 111/120 course sequence is completed. Also, if you have a healthcare licensure/certification (such as CCMA, CNA, Phlebotomist, etc,) if you submit a copy of your current license to the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office, we can complete paperwork on your behalf to determine if Credit for Prior Learning can be awarded for one of the options under the job skill portion of the CSC: Introduction to Radiography.
Who are the advisors for the PTA program? When and how do I contact them?
There is a team of advisors for the PTA program. In the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office, there are Ms. Jasmine Terry and Ms. Pam Woody, and in Fralin Room 214, Ms. Rhonda Perdue provides advising about applying and preparing for the PTA curriculum for continuing VWCC students. Rhonda Perdue can assist with career planning and course selections and may be able to assist with preliminary information. You may schedule an advising appointment, if you are a VWCC student, using Navigate with Ms. Perdue. If you are a new student, please schedule your first advising appointment with a New Student Advisor, using Navigate https://www.virginiawestern.edu/advising/new-student-advising/ (advising based on last name). The Health Professions Advising and Applications Office (Woody or Terry) will process your file and determine current GPA, completes evaluation of previously completed course work and determines transfer of credit, and if the prerequisites are met. They will be available to advise you after your academic application file is complete (all official transcripts have been received and reviewed), at which time you will be emailed an “Advising Letter”. The advising form letter will give you important details about your prerequisites, career support classes, transfer of credit, and etc. ( Please note if you do not receive the Advising Letter, you will not be considered for the fall program as this indicates official document(s) are missing from your academic file in the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office. You need to verify receipt of all academic submissions if you do not receive the Advising Letter within four to five weeks upon submission of any application materials to Pam Woody in the Health Professions Advising and Applications Office. Exception is March through June prior to fall start due to program deadlines and acceptance occurring during those months.) For information on the application process, you may follow the checklist for application located under the “forms” section of each website. If you would like to view the presentation to learn more about the application process and eligibility you can click here for the Application & Program Overview (PDF). Program policies and procedures are discussed in detail by the Program Director during the interview phase.
What is the policy regarding non-discrimination?
The program follows the college policy on non-discrimination that states “this College promotes and maintains educational opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupation qualification) veteran status or other non-merit factors.”
Is there a waiting list? What process do I follow if I want to apply for a future year?
There is not a waiting list. All applicants who meet the deadline who are minimally qualified and complete the application process will be considered for the program each year. Applicants that wish to begin preparing for possible future consideration can submit the Physical Therapist Assistant application form with a note attached informing us of your future goal. You will still have to provide official transcripts with the application if you desire advising from the advisor so proper courses can be suggested. If you are planning to take classes to meet prerequisite requirements or completing support courses prior to entry, you will benefit from advising and receive updates on changes to the curriculum (if any).
Do I have to pass a licensing test to work as PTA?
Yes! In all 50 states, PTAs are now required to pass a licensing exam and meet additional state requirements in order to obtain a license to work as a PTA. Prospective students should be aware that in Virginia, and in many other states, completing a fingerprinting and background check process may be part of the licensing process. If students have any concerns regarding possible findings on these reports, they may contact the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy or the State Agency in which the prospective student plans to work.
In order to be licensed in the state of Virginia, applicants for licensure must:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Be a graduate of a two-year college-level education program for physical therapist assistants acceptable to the Board
- Satisfactorily passed an examination approved by the Board (the NPTE)
- Meet the requirements of a background check and fingerprint screening