Physical Therapist Assistant

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The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Lake Washington Institute of Technology is 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; website:www.capteonline.org.

Where can I learn more about the PTA program at LWTech?

An online PTA Information Session is available at the PTA Advising website.  Additionally, an on-campus PTA admissions information session option is offered approximately every three weeks during the quarter and those dates are provided at the advising site. 

When does the PTA program start?

The PTA program begins one cohort a year annually in Fall. 

How do I apply to the PTA program?

The PTA program requires a special application for admission. It is available at the PTA Advising site along with the Supporting Information document which provides selection criteria, prerequisites and other important admission information.  Admission to the PTA program is selective.

Interested students are encouraged to either attend an on-campus information session for PTA or complete one online.  Information about both of these options is available at the PTA Advising site.  After having completed one of these options, you are qualified to register for pre-allied health advising ("Allied Health GPS").  This is comprehensive, individualized advising in a small-group format.  You must pre-register at the following link: Allied Health GPS Registration

When is the application deadline?

The deadline to apply for the 2015 cohort: TBA.

What courses need to be completed in order to apply to the PTA program?

2014  prerequisite courses for application to the PTA program:

  • MEDA 116 Medical Terminology or a 3-5 credit Medical Terminology course

  • BIOL&211 Cellular Biology (students who take the equivalent of BIOL&241 at a college that does not require BIOL&211 for entry to that class, do not need to show completion of BIOL&211)

  • BIOL&241 Anatomy and Physiology I (6 credits with lab)

  • ENGL&101 English Composition (5 credits)

  • College level math course with intermediate algebra as prerequisite (5 credits)

  • CMST &210, 220 or 230 (5 credits)

  • PSYC& 100 or 200 (5 credits)

  • You must also supply a copy of your 7 hour HIV/AIDS training certificate

  • Science coursework no older than 7 years accepted

A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is required for the PTA prerequisite courses with a minimum 2.0 earned in each course. 

What are other requirements to apply to the PTA program?

The PTA program application will list the details of all application requirements. Some requirements include:

  • Observation/work hours in Physical Therapy settings

  • References from instructors/supervisors

  • Typed essay

  • Signed technical standards form

  • On-campus essay

When does the program meet? Is it part-time or full-time?

The program is a full-time, daytime program with both morning and afternoon courses held Monday - Friday. Clinical affiliation courses require 40 hour/week rotations off-campus in community facilities.

Where is the program located?

Lecture and laboratory courses are held on the Kirkland campus of Lake Washington Institute of Technology. Clinical affiliations occur in a variety of off-campus settings and can range from Tacoma to Bellingham. Students are expected to provide their own reliable transportation to attend clinical affiliations and other off-campus experiences.

 What do PTAs do?

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs), provide physical therapy treatments under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist (PT). PTAs help people of all ages who have health-related conditions which limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in daily life.

Where do PTAs work?

The PTA program prepares students to provide entry-level, skilled patient care in a variety of settings. Some of these settings may include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, sports medicine clinics, and school-based systems.

What will I learn in the PTA program?

The PTA program teaches students how to provide physical therapy treatment interventions and associated data collection skills under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

The PTA program teaches physical therapy treatments for patients with problems of the musculoskeletal (bones, muscles, ligaments), neurologic (nerves, brain, spinal cord), cardiac (heart), pulmonary (lungs), and/or integumentary (skin) systems.

Some of the physical therapy treatment interventions taught in the PTA program include:

  • Functional training (e.g. gait training, wheelchair management, and developmental activities)

  • Posture awareness and body mechanics training

  • Training patients and caregivers how to use and care for prosthetics and orthotics during functional activities

  • Training patients and caregivers how to use and care for assistive and adaptive devices

  • Therapeutic exercises for mobility, strength, balance and coordination

  • Breathing exercises and coughing techniques

  • Manual therapy (passive range of motion, therapeutic massage)

  • Physical agents (heat, ultrasound, cryotherapy, compression therapies, athermal agents, hydrotherapy, traction, and biofeedback)

  • Electrotherapeutic agents (electrical stimulation)

  • Wound management (application and removal of dressings or agents)

The PTA program also teaches skills which support physical therapy treatments and a career as a physical therapist assistant including:

  • Communication

  • Safety

  • Understanding and implementing the plan of care

  • Patient education

  • Documentation

  • Information for billing and reimbursement

  • Social responsibility

  • Individual and cultural differences

  • Behavior and conduct

  • Career development

All programs at LWTech aim to provide students with workplace skills that include Communication, Critical Thinking, Intercultural Appreciation, Teamwork, and Technical and Information Literacy. Each program includes coursework which teaches and assesses student performance in these global outcomes.

Does becoming a PTA prepare me to transfer to a PT program?

Not directly. PTA programs are not designed to prepare individuals to continue directly into a degree as a Physical Therapist (PT). PT programs are graduate (doctoral) level programs which require a Bachelor's degree and multiple prerequisites to apply.  The American Physical Therapy Association has resources which can help you explore different careers in the field of physical therapy (American Physical Therapy Association) and (PTA to PT: A Career Change).

What about licensure after graduation?

Graduates of the LWTech PTA program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for the Physical Therapist Assistant and to apply for state licensure. Licensure is required in the state of Washington and in most states in the United States.