Physical Therapist Assistant

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About the Program


Physical Therapy (PT) is a health care profession which involves the 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 patient's homes.

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at Delgado Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:  

This accreditation allows program graduates to be eligible to sit for the national licensure examination and become licensed in the state of Louisiana.  Comments or concerns regarding the Delgado PTA Program should be made to CAPTE using the above contact information.

 The PTA Program at Delgado includes two parts:

     1. Prerequisite general education and related courses (29 semester hours),         and                                                                                                                                                         

     2. PTA component of the PTA courses (43 semester hours).

Following successful completion of prerequisite course work and verification of experience in physical therapy (volunteer, observation or work experience) students may apply to the PTA Program. Admission to the PTA Program is by selection. Applications are due March 31. Please see Admissions information.

The PTA component of the program begins in August of each year and consists of three semesters of full-time, day-time 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 devote up to 40 hours per week attending classes on the City Park Campus and obtaining clinical education in a hospital or clinical setting. Students are expected to devote an additional 20-25 hours per week in study and class preparation. Students are strongly discouraged from working (even part-time) during their course of training. Students may be required to attend clinics out of the New Orleans Metropolitan area and are responsible for travel and housing.

Graduates are awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree by Delgado Community College upon completion of the PTA Program and are eligible to sit for the PTA licensure examination. Graduates must pass this licensure examination to become licensed by the Louisiana Board of Physical Therapy as Physical Therapist Assistants.

If you are interested in the PTA Program at Delgado, please contact Mrs. Julie Thompson, Allied Health Advisor at 504-671-6203 or  It is advisable to meet with Mrs. Thompson for guidance during the early stages of your education.

For more information or to report concerns about the Delgado PTA Program please contact: Allied Health Admissions (504-671-6201, the Program Director, Susan Welsh, PT, PhD (504-671-6240,, the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (Amelia Leonardi, PT MHS (504-671-6239, or the Dean of Allied Health, Harold Gaspard (504-671-6201,


Mission, Philosophy, Goals and Objectives




In keeping with the College's mission, the mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program is to prepare students from diverse backgrounds to become caring and responsible practitioners who are competent and professional in the provision of Physical Therapy services.



The PTA Program is committed to treating each student with dignity, respect, and fairness, and to considering each student's individual personality, ability and learning style. The PTA Program faculty strives to develop PTA graduates who are compassionate and caring health care providers who understand their responsiblity to the individual patient, to patient families, and to members of the health care and physical therapy communities. The PTA Program is committed to developing Physical Therapist Assistants who are active in improving the overall level of health care for all people through service to their communities, who are active in seeking additional professional and personal growth opportunities beyond the associate degree level, and who are active in the professional organization of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).  The PTA Program assures equal opportunity for all qualified students.




The goals of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program are the following:

  • To provide academic and clinical educational experiences for each PTA student as outlined by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that enable the students upon graduation to be competent, skilled, and ethical in the provision of physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist within the scope of practice of the PTA as set forth in the Louisiana Physical Therapy Practice Act and the American Physical Therapy Association Standards of Ethical conduct for the PTA and Guide for conduct of the PTA

  • To provide students with the ability to be successful on the PTA licensure exam.

  • To provide students with the skills to perform in an entry-level position as a PTA.

  • To maintain formal program accreditation with the commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

  • To have students prepared to enter the PTA Program with a defined set of admission criteria. 



 At the conclusion of the PTA Program, the graduate should be able to: 

  • Communicate with the patient and others in an effective, appropriate, and capable manner.

  • Recognize individual and cultural differences and be able to respond appropriately in all aspects of PT services.

  • Exhibit conduct that reflects a commitment to meet the expectations of the public and the profession of physical therapy.

  • Exhibit conduct that reflects practice standards that are legal, ethical and safe;

  • Communicate an understanding of the plan of care developed by the PT to achieve short and long term goals and intended outcomes;

  • Demonstrate competence in implementing selected components of interventions identified in the plan of care established by the PT;

  • Demonstrate competence in performing components of data collections skills essential for carrying out the plan of care;

  • Adjust interventions within the plan of care established by the PT in response to patient clinical indications and to report this to the supervising PT;

  • Recognize when intervention should not be provided due to changes in the patient's status and to report this to the supervising PT;

  • Report any changes in the patient's status to the supervising PT;

  • Recognize when the direction to perform an intervention is beyond that which is appropriate for a PTA and to initiate clarification with the PT;

  • Participate in educating patients and caregivers as directed by the supervising PT;

  • Provide patient-related instruction to patients, family members, and caregivers to achieve patient outcomes based on the plan of care established by the PT;

  • Take appropriate action in an emergency situation;

  • Complete thorough, accurate, logical, concise, timely and legible documentation that follows guidelines and specific documentation formats required by state practice acts, the practice setting, and other regulatory agencies;

  • Participate in discharge planning and follow-up as directed by the supervising PT;

  • Read and understand the health care literature;

  • Under the direction and supervision of th PT, instruct other members of the health care team using established techniques, programs, and instructional materials commensurate with the learning characteristics of the audience;

  • Educate others about the role of the PTA;

  • Interact with other members of the health care team in patient-care and non-patient care activities;

  • Provide accurate and timely information for billing and reimbursement purposes;

  • Describe aspects of organizational planning and operation of the PT service;

  • Participate in performance improvement activities;

  • Demonstrate a commitment to meeting the needs of the patients and consumers;

  • Demonstrate an awareness of social responsibility, citizenship, and advocacy, including participation in community and service organizations and activities;

  • Identify career development and lifelong learning opportunities;

  • Recognize the role of the PTA in the clinical education of PTA students. 

 Core Program Objectives


Upon successful completion of the Delgado PTA Program, the PTA Student is expected to:

  • Apply effective, appropriate communication skills within the classroom and clinic setting;

  • Adapt and respond appropriately to individual and cultural differences;

  • Demonstrate conduct that reflects a commitment to meeting the professional expectation of the public and PT profession.

  • Model professional behaviors within the classroom, clinic and off campus learning opportunities. These include but are not limited to: being punctual, participating fully in program activities, preparing adequately, dressing appropriately, completing assignments on a timely basis, etc. 

Programs Facts

•       24 students were accepted into the 2012-2013 class. 

        Of the 24 students who began the program in August, 2012, 22 students are expected to complete the Program in July, 2013.

•       24 students will be accepted to the 2013-14 class that begins August, 2013. Deadline for applications for the 2013-14 class is March 31, 2013.

•       85% of those students who began the PTA Program over the last three years (2009-2010 class, 2010-2011 class, 2011-2012 class) graduated from the Program.

•       98% of those students who graduated from the Program over the last three years (2009-2010 class, 20010-2011 class, 2011-2012 class) passed the licensure exam  for Physical Therapist Assistants.

•       100% of those students who passed the licensure exam over the last three years (2009-2010 class, 2010-2011 class, 2011-2012 class) were successful in securing employment as PTAs within 6 months of graduation.