Physical Therapist Assistant, A.A.S.

A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is an educated, skilled, licensed health care team member who works under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. The PTA helps people of all ages with health‐related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Job activities may include helping a person to exercise, teaching the use of assistive devices or providing treatments such as electrical stimulation, traction, and ultrasound. PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, and sports facilities.

The PTA program seeks to provide students with the knowledge to demonstrate technical competence in entry level physical therapy skills, make sound clinical decisions, and provide safe, effective, compassionate, and professional physical therapy care to a diverse patient population.

The program is designed to be completed in 5 terms. PTA classes are only offered during the day, Monday-Friday, on the Decatur campus. The coursework is progressive, requiring a grade of 75% or higher in each PTA course and a “C” or higher in the required general education courses. Students must participate in a total of 18 weeks of full-time (40 hours/week) clinical experiences.

Dr. Heather MacKrell, Program Director, 256-306-2805

Additional information and applications are available on the PTA Program Website


PTA students are required to comply with legal, moral, and legislative standards in accordance with Rule No. 700-X-2-02 of the Alabama State Board of Physical Therapy Administrative Code, which states the following:

The Board shall refuse licensure to any applicant who is of other than good moral character. The determination as to what constitutes other than good moral character and reputation shall be solely within the judgment of the Board. Each applicant shall be required to submit references from two professional sources addressing, but not being limited to, moral character. These references shall be submitted on forms prescribed by the Board and shall be mailed to the executive director. Grounds for refusal may include, but are not limited to: (1) history of using drugs or intoxicating liquors to an extent that affects professional competency, (2) conviction of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude, (3) attempt to obtain or obtaining a license by fraud or deception, (4) guilt of conduct unbecoming a person registered as a physical therapist or licensed as a physical therapist assistant or of conduct detrimental to the best interest of the public, and (5) conviction of violating any state or federal narcotic law.


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Calhoun Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: (703)706-3243; email:; website:

Admission to the Program

A new class of PTA students is admitted once a year in the fall semester. Applicants must minimally

1. Meet all admission requirements of Calhoun Community College.

2. Submit a current year PTA Program Application.

3. Have completed 24 hours of physical therapy observation experience which is documented and signed by licensed PT personnel.

4. Submit an ACT reading score of 18 or >, an ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension test score of 70 or >, or an ACCUPLACER NEXT GENERATION reading score of 250 or > from a test taken within the past three (3) years.

5. Submit an unofficial Calhoun Community College transcript documenting all previously completed applicable course work taken at Calhoun or accepted in transfer by the Calhoun Community College Office of Admissions and Records.

Applications are accepted January through mid-April. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the application is complete. All requested information must be included for the application to be complete. Missing documentation will result in the application not being considered for admission. Each time an applicant applies to the program an application packet must be completed in its entirety. Copies of all items submitted should be retained as information will not be released from previous application packets.

Selection Process

Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Class size is limited and there is a selective application process. After meeting the minimum requirements, applicants are rank-ordered using a 100 point scale. An application and more information on the selection process are available on the PTA website.

After students are enrolled in the PTA program and prior to first clinical assignment they will be required to:

1. Submit proof of current cardiopulmonary resuscitation course completion - must be American Heart Association Health Care Provider, American Safety and Health Institute CPR Pro, or American Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer.

2. Submit a current Calhoun Community College Allied Health Examination Form completed by a licensed physician or nurse practitioner.

3. Provide proof of current immunizations including::

- Two-step TB Mantoux skin test, T-spot test (or chest x-ray if positive) OR three consecutive annual negative skin tests. Annual update is required;

- MMR Vaccine or titer verifying immunity;

- Varicella (chicken pox) Vaccine or titer verifying immunity;

- Tetanus/Diphtheria Vaccination within the last 10 years;

- Hepatitis B immunization series, or titer verifying immunity or a signed waiver. It is recommended that all PTA students be immunized against Hepatitis B.

- Influenza vaccination

4. Purchase professional liability insurance through the College prior to the first clinical rotation.

5. Arrange reliable transportation to and from clinical facilities assigned by the program.

6. Abide by the policies of the College and PTA Program Student Policy Manual.

7. Obtain a “clear” background check and drug screen results completed by the College’s selected agency at the student’s expense. Annual update is required.

Drug Testing / Background Checks

As stipulated by the health facilities with which the PTA program contracts for clinical education, each student enrolled in the program will undergo drug and alcohol testing and a background check as a precondition to beginning clinical experiences. The fees are the responsibility of the student. Policies for the screening process are provided to the student upon enrollment in the program.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Criteria can be found on the program application. The purpose of the PTA Program Eligibility Criteria is to outline the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills deemed the minimal necessary for admission, progression, and graduation and for the provision of safe and effective patient care. If a student cannot demonstrate the skills and abilities delineated in the eligibility criteria, it is the responsibility of the student to request an appropriate accommodation through the Office of Services to Special Student Populations.


Information contained in the Catalog and the policies and curriculum for the PTA program are subject to change at any time. Written notice will be given to all students enrolled in the program prior to implementation of change. Please see website for most current info.

Approximate Program Costs

In-state tuition + fees (69 hours) = $11,040

+ $2,500 (additional expenses) = $13,540

Textbooks = $1800

Background check & drug screening = $200

CPR certification = $50-100

Physical exam, TB testing, required blood work & immunizations = $250

Uniforms = $150

Additional Cost: Alabama Licensure Exam Fees = $537

Total credits:



Program Code