Physical Therapist Assistant Frequently Asked Questions
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy (PT) is a health profession which involves care of individuals who experience temporary or permanent disability due to pain, injury, disease or birth defects. Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants work in a variety of environments including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, public schools, private clinics and even patients' homes.
What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?
Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist (PT). PTAs help people of all ages who have medical problems, or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and more. PTAs may also measure changes in the patient’s performance as a results of the physical therapy provided.
Care provided by a PTA may include teaching patients/clients exercise for mobility, strength and coordination, training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers, massage, and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation.
What is the PTA Program like at Delgado?
The PTA program includes two parts: (1) the prequisite component, which includes general education and required related courses, and (2) the PTA component which includes all the PTA courses. The PTA component of the program begins in August of each year and consists of three semesters of full-time, daytime class work and clinical experiences. The final summer semester of the program is spent in full-time clinical affiliations and may require travel to facilities outside the New Orleans area.
Students in the PTA Program are discouraged from working (even part-time) during the PTA Program.
How do you apply for admission to the PTA Program?
Delgado Community College is an open admissions college; however acceptance into the PTA Program is by selection. The Admissions Committee for the PTA Program reviews and evaluates each application on an impartial basis. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program. Students wishing to apply for admission to the PTA Program must submit a completed PTA application to the Division of Allied Health no later than March 31. See admissions information.
Persons accepted into the PTA Program will be required to meet the technical standards of the PT profession which are available for review in the Allied Health Admissions Office.
When should you apply for admission to the PTA Program?
Students are eligible for admission to the PTA program who have:
- completed all course prerequisites with a grade of C or better by the Spring semester preceding the August starting date;
- achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better in all college courses;
- achieved a minimum GPA of 2.5 or better in prerequisite science courses (BIOL251, 253, 252, and 254, CHEM101, and PHYS101);
- completed a minimum of 60 hours of observation, volunteer or work experience in 2 different PT practice environments under the direct supervision of two different licensed PTs or PTAs.
NOTE: Applicants with courses over 10 years old should contact the Allied Health Admissions Office for advising. Also, Delgado has a policy that addresses Academic Renewal (the act of declaring void all prior credits attempted and earned). If you are interested in information regarding Academic Renewal and the procedure to initiate this process you must contact the Delgado Admissions Office at 504-671-5018.
What are the career opportunities for a Physical Therapist Assistant?
Career opportunities for PTAs are excellent. Licensed PTAs will find employment opportunities in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, public schools, and private clinics. The median income for a physical therapist assistant is $46,000 depending on position, years of experience, degree of education, geographic location, and practice setting.
Will PTA courses transfer to a PT Program?
The technical courses in a PTA program do not transfer for credit to a PT education program. Some hours of the pre-clinical courses may be accepted as prerequisites to PT programs, but there are many other courses needed as prerequisites to be considered for admission to PT school. If you think you would rather be a PT than a PTA you should contact the LSU Health Science Center Department of PT at (504) 568-4288 for information about that program.