Aug 12, 2022  
2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
2018-2019 Academic Catalog Archived Catalog

Physical Therapist Assistant, AAS

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: All Programs of Study Alphabetical

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. PTAs help people of all ages who have medical or health-related conditions that limit their ability to move or perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health, extended care facilities, schools, and sports facilities. Upon successful completion of this program, students will:

  • Follow a plan of care established by a physical therapist and carry out physical therapy interventions in a safe, ethical and competent manner at entry-level;
  • Demonstrate effective written, oral and nonverbal communication skills with patients, families/caregivers, health care providers, peers, third-party payers and the public;
  • Recognize the need for continued personal and professional growth to ensure competence in current practices of physical therapy and a commitment to lifelong learning;
  • Demonstrate behavioral expectations as established by the APTA in the Values-Based Behaviors for the Physical Therapist Assistant (January 2011);
  • Participate as an effective member of the health care team and educate the health care community on the respective roles of the PT and PTA; and
  • Show a personal commitment of health and wellness and dedication to service to the profession of physical therapy and the community.

First Year

Second Year

Total Credits: 71-72

1AHPT 210 , AHPT 220  and AHPT 295  include a 4-8 week clinical at an approved location.

*Indicates prerequisite and/or corequisite needed. Check course description.

Admission Guidelines

  • Students must apply for select admission to the PTA program.
  • Applications may be printed off of the FVCC PTA Program website or picked up in the Admissions Office or in the PTA Program Director’s office, BC 123-C, beginning the second week in January and must be returned no later than the second Friday in May. Once applicants have met all the program criteria, selected students will be interviewed by PTA faculty. Students will be informed of their admission status into the PTA program by the second Friday in June.
  • Admission to the program is based upon the following:
    1. High school diploma or GED/HiSET
    2. Successful completion of the prerequisite first-year courses (a minimum grade of “C” must be earned in each class with an overall GPA of at least a 2.75)
    3. Clinical observation hours (minimum of 30 hours with at least 10 hours in an inpatient setting)
    4. An interview
    5. Essay
    6. Students admitted into the program are required to have a background check and drug screen and medical health insurance at the student’s expense. 
    7. Documentation of Immunization
    8. Evidence of CPR certification
    9. Two professional references

Program Information

  • Prior to applying to the program, students must have completed or be in the process of completing the first year of prerequisite courses by the end of spring semester. Students may be advised to take BIOB 101 ; BIOB 160 ; or CHMY 121  in preparation for BIOH 201 ; prerequisite math courses in preparation for M 120 ; and prerequisite English classes in preparation for WRIT 101 .
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II completed more than five years ago will require program permission to be considered as an applicant.
  • Students enrolled in this program may participate in a Service Learning opportunity, which could qualify them to be eligible to receive an education award. For more information, contact the Service Learning office at (406) 756-3908.
  • A grade of “C” or higher is required for ALL non-PT prerequisite courses, and a “C+” or higher is required within the established technical PTA curriculum in order to progress through the PTA program.
  • Once a student is officially accepted or admitted into the PTA program, each PTA course must be passed with a grade of at least a “C+” for the student to continue in the program. If any course grade is less than a “C+” the student must withdraw from the PTA program (a “C” will not be accepted in technical PTA courses). Remediation will be attempted after filling out an Action Plan form to formulate a plan for improving performance in technical PTA courses. A failing grade will require that the course be repeated, and re-enrollment for courses being repeated will be on a space-available basis. Because PTA technical courses are offered only once per year, this could mean students must wait until the following year to petition for readmission to the program.
  • The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Flathead Valley Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 2314; phone: (703) 706-3245; email:
  • Graduates of this program will be eligible and prepared to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Licensing Exam.

Additional Costs

  • Once accepted into the PTA program at FVCC, students may incur costs associated with travel to various locations required for internships, one of which may be outside of the Flathead Valley.
  • In addition, students will be assigned a program fee of $300 per semester which covers durable lab items, licensure test, prep course, and miscellaneous clinical/lab program fees.

Opportunities after Graduation

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow much faster than average because of increasing demand for physical therapy services. Job prospects for physical therapist assistants are expected to be very good. Overall employment of physical therapist assistants and aides is projected to grow 30 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Advising Information:

For more information about this program, contact the FVCC Student Support Center or a Faculty Advisor. 

Student Support Center Advisor Faculty Advisor Faculty Advisor
Russ Lamson Janice Heil, M.A.                      Julie Robertson, M.S.              
LRC 129 BC 123-C BC 123-D
(406) 756-3885 (406) 756-3373 (406) 756-3620

The Associate of Science (AS) degree requires 60 credits at FVCC, and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree at Montana University System (MUS) colleges and universities requires 120 credits. FVCC students may earn as many as 75-85 credits in preparation for some transfer majors, thus reducing the number of credits required for the BS degree at MUS schools. Also, by earning the AS degree from FVCC, students will have satisfied the lower division General Education Core (see General Education Requirements for requirements) for all MUS institutions and will not be required to meet additional lower division general education core requirements upon transfer. The suggested course load in AS programs is rigorous and is recommended for only the most prepared students. A more moderate semester credit load can be achieved by taking general education core courses during summer terms or completing one or two additional semesters at FVCC before transfer.

The information on all transfer programs is subject to change. Students should see their advisor to explore other possibilities not specifically listed in the program.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: All Programs of Study Alphabetical