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School of Health Professions :: Programs of Study

Physical Therapist Assistant :: FAQ

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>> 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 2020 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 Miss Woody (advisor) about how this will impact your eligibility and how to improve your GPA as early in the process as possible.

The following college level prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or higher by the end of the Summer 2021 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.

>> 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: accreditation@apta.org is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Virginia Western Community College 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 December 1, 2020. 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 achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted 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, 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 score of 50 to receive consideration for admission.

TEAS testing is usually conducted from late February to mid-March. All qualified early applicants should receive additional details by late-February 2021 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 mailed to the applicants as soon as possible, usually during the 3rd full week of May.

>> 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.

>> What is the policy regarding non-discrimination?

Applicants for admission to the PTA program are considered for class positions based on their ability to meet program admission standards, without regard to race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, 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 a 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

>> Where can I find additional information about the college?

Tuition: $
Credits: 69 Hours
Time: 2 years
APPLY NOW TO VWCC

Advising:

Location: Fralin Center HP 214A or HP 339
Phone: 540-857-6325, 857-6644 or 857-7307
Fax: 540-857-6640

Mailing address:
3091 Colonial Ave., SW
Roanoke, VA 24015

Program Head

Jordan Tucker, PT, DPT
Program Director and Assistant Professor, Physical Therapist Assistant
B.S.-Ithaca College, 2004
M.S.-Ithaca College, 2005
DPT-Ithaca College, 2005

School of Health Professions

Martha Sullivan, Interim Dean