Jul 23, 2024  
2024-2025 NOVA Catalog 
2024-2025 NOVA Catalog

Physical Therapist Assistant, A.A.S.

Location(s): MEC

CIP Code: 51.0806

NOVA Code: 1800

Purpose: The program is designed to prepare students to utilize exercise, specialty equipment, and other treatment procedures to prevent, identify, correct, and alleviate movement dysfunction. The program design provides students with the philosophical, theoretical, and clinical knowledge necessary to deliver high-quality patient care. Ultimately, students are prepared as skilled technical healthcare providers who work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist to provide selected components of physical therapy treatments. Upon successful completion of the program, students must take and pass a licensing examination to begin their career as a physical therapist assistant (PTA). Students are prepared for employment in a variety of healthcare settings, including acute care hospitals, outpatient clinics, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centers, contract agencies, and schools.

Transfer Information: Transfer is not the primary purpose of an A.A.S. program, but NOVA has articulation agreements that facilitate the transfer of this and other career-oriented programs to selected senior institutions. Students interested in transfer should contact a counselor or their academic advisor early in their program.

Admission Requirements: Applicants must do the following:

  • Comply with all general admission requirements for Health Sciences Programs.
  • Attend a Physical Therapist Assistant information session. Call the program office at 703-822-6570 for scheduled dates or visit https://www.nvcc.edu/academics/pathways/health-sciences/physical-therapist-assistant.html.
  • Have completed BIO 145   or BIO 141  and BIO 142   with a grade of “B” or higher.
  • Have completed HLT 141  with a grade of “B” or higher.
  • Have a minimum 2.5 curricular GPA.
  • Be 18 years of age.
  • Complete ENG 111  or higher with a grade of “B” or higher.
  • Complete or self-place into MTH 154 : https://www.nvcc.edu/academics/placement/index.html. (MTH 155  may be substituted for MTH 154 ). Please contact a faculty or academic advisor to request a course substitute.
  • Successfully complete and achieve satisfactory scores on the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) test. Students may only take the test three times per year. The latest result must be within three years of application to the PTA Program.
  • Submit the NOVA PTA Program Clinic Observation Form documenting the minimum requirement of 4 hours of observation in a PT clinic.

Special Accreditation Status: The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Northern Virginia Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia; 22305-3085 telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org. If needing to contact the PTA program at NOVA directly, please call 703.822.6570 or email Niveen Badrah at nbadrah@nvcc.edu.

Program Application Requirements: Completion of the above steps constitutes a completed PTA program application. Completed PTA program applications will be accepted electronically to the Medical Education Student Services Center from March 1 through March 15 for the following semester. Students are notified in writing of acceptance into the program following submission of a completed application.

Professional Standards Requirements: Students are expected to consistently demonstrate professional behavior in the classroom, laboratory, and during clinical affiliations. Professional behavior must be consistent with the APTA Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant and the Professional Abilities outlined in the PTA Program Handbook. Behavior inconsistent with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant and/or the Professional Abilities will result in dismissal from the program.

Additional Requirements: In addition to the admission requirements for Health Sciences Programs, upon acceptance students must complete a basic first aid course and a CPR for Health Providers course prior to admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

Transfer Placement: PTA credits earned at another CAPTE accredited PTA program in the last 12 months are reviewed by the program director to determine if any course substitutions may be made within the curriculum. Students who wish to transfer to Nova’s PTA program will be required to satisfactorily complete a skill competency assessment prior to acceptance into the program. Transfer students must be in good academic standing and provide a written reference from the director of their program as well as a clinical instructor. Transfer students must meet all PTA program application and admission requirements.

Laboratory Examination Requirements: Each student must achieve a minimum passing score of 75% on each laboratory practical exam. In the event that a lab practical is failed, a maximum of one reexamination, per examination, will be permitted. A student who does not achieve a 75% or greater on the second attempt will fail the class and be administratively withdrawn from the program.

Continuation Requirements: All courses (including General Education courses) must be completed with a grade of “C” or better before taking the next course in the sequence and to satisfy graduation requirements.

Re enrollment:

  1. Students in good standing may be permitted to re enroll in the PTA curriculum on a space-available basis, with permission of the program director.
  2. Students who leave the program for no more than a fall and a spring semester for personal, medical or academic reasons are required to demonstrate proficiency in all previously enrolled skills courses prior to reentering the program. “Practical exams” are administered and scheduled by the program faculty. A written exam will be required.
  3. Students who leave the program for any period of time for medical reasons are required to submit evidence of good physical and mental health, as substantiated by a newly completed Pre-Admission Health History and Physical for NOVA Health Sciences Programs Form (125-007) signed by the primary physician responsible for their healthcare. Students must be able to continue to meet the Technical Standards for the PTA.

Total 8 credits

Two Years

Total credits for the A.A.S. Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant: 69 credits (includes 8 prerequisite credits)

BIO 145 OR BIO 141 and BIO 142 must be completed within 10 years at time of admission

BIO 141  -BIO 142  may be substituted for BIO 145 .

Select from any MTH course 154 or above.

See humanities/fine arts courses listed under General Education Electives . Electives should be selected with advice of a counselor or academic advisor to meet the requirements of the transfer institution.