Physical Therapist Assistant

Program Information

Program Code: 
Degree Type: 
Associate in Applied Science
Year Established: 
Health Careers - (313) 845-9877 -

The Profession

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) are skilled health care providers who assist in providing planned patient care under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. As members of the rehabilitation team, PTAs perform treatments designed to relieve pain, promote healing and improve functional ability. Once a treatment plan is designed by a physical therapist, the PTA may be responsible for carrying out this treatment plan.

The Program

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program is a two year program designed to prepare individuals for employment as entry-level physical therapist assistants. Students who meet all admission requirements are considered qualified and are admitted to the program once per year in the fall semester on a “first-qualified first-admitted” basis. Students who are interested in this program should submit the separate PTA Program application as soon as possible.

Core courses in the program are only offered during the day and only in the semester as indicated in the Course Sequence. Support courses are usually offered in a variety of semesters and times. Students in this program will have learning experiences in the classroom, laboratory and in local physical therapy facilities. The final semester is spent in full-time (40 hrs/week) clinical externships.

Students must complete a total of 77 credit hours of course work. (eight preadmission, six General Education, 14 Required Support Courses and 49 required PTA courses). Due to the number of credit hours required for program completion and the intensity of the program, students are encouraged to complete as many of the Required Support/General Education Courses as possible prior to entering the program.

The first courses that a student should complete are those required for program admission followed by the other Required Support/General Education Courses.

Career Opportunities: 

Opportunities for PTAs are excellent at this time and are projected to increase through at least the year 2018. PTAs may choose to practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehab centers, sports medicine clinics, public and private schools, outpatient physical therapy clinics, nursing homes, and home health settings. HFCC PTA graduate employment rate over the past three years has been excellent, 100% in 2010, 94% in 2011, and 95% in 2012. Information about career placement and job success is available through either the Health Careers Office or the College Placement Office.

Occupational Exposure / Risk: 

In physical therapy, both in school and on the job, exposure to infectious diseases and latex may be minimal to moderate depending on the setting in which you are working. Those with latex sensitivity or allergies should consult with a physician prior to entering the program for guidance on the merits of continuing in a health care career. During the course of the program students learn infection control guidelines and procedures and strict adherence to these guidelines will reduce the risk of exposure to infectious diseases.

Registry / Certification / Licensure Exam Information: 

Successful passage of the PTA Licensure Exam is required to practice in the State of Michigan. Students who are graduates of this program do qualify to sit for the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination. Further details regarding this exam will be given as the student nears graduation. The HFCC PTA program 2010-2012 ultimate pass rate on the licensing exam is 93.5%.


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

Transfer Information

Transfer Options/Requirements: 

The College has articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to help students who want to transfer to other institutions once they have completed their studies at HFCC.   Articulation agreements ensure that graduates from HFCC can transfer to another institution and work towards a bachelor's degree without a loss of coursework completed at HFCC.  Transfer guides denote the transferability of HFCC coursework toward specific degree programs at other institutions. It is important that students who intend to transfer to another institution consult the appropriate articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to ensure the transferability of the courses they take to the institution they plan to attend. Articulation agreements and transfer guides are available in the University Transfer, Advising, and Career Counseling Center (313-845-9612,, Learning Resource Center).  Some of the institutions students enrolled in this program frequently transfer to include:

  • Siena Heights University
  • University of Michigan - Dearborn

Program Requirements

Admission Requirements / Eligibility: 
  1. Minimum College GPA of 2.8 (at least 12 credits excluding less than 100 level courses)
  2. COMPASS Reading score of 84 or better
  3. Assessment test scores sufficient to allow for placement into ENG 131*. This requirement may also be satisfied by successful completion of the required developmental courses.
  4. Minimum math requirement is Algebra*- may be satisfied by one of the following:
    -COMPASS Algebra score of 46 or better
    -Successful completion of MATH 080-Beginning Algebra, with a C or better
  5. Successful completion of BIO 233-Anatomy & Physiology I, or equivalent, with a B- or better, within five years of admission.*
  6. Successful completion of AH 100-Medical Terminology, or equivalent, with a B- or better.
  7. Twenty hours or more of observation in a physical therapy setting observing a PTA at work with a letter of confirmation from the supervisory PT or PTA.

*There may be other pre-admission coursework the student needs to complete based on results of placement tests and/or high school coursework.

The Program Application Process

It is recommended that each applicant meet with a Health Careers Advisor 313-845-9877 to discuss program options and then create an academic plan to qualify for the selected program.

Step 1 - Apply to the program

  • First time applicants to HFCC will indicate the program selection on the application to the college.
  • Current HFCC students must complete a specific program application. Program applications are available in the Health Careers office or Welcome Center. Applications must be submitted to the Admission Assistant of Health Careers located in the Welcome Center.

Step 2 – Qualifying for admission

  • Complete all program admission requirements.

Step 3 - Deliver information and track application

  • It is the student’s responsibility to make certain official transcripts are sent to: Henry Ford Community College, Transfer Evaluation, 5101 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128-2407
  • It is the student’s responsibility to make certain all necessary records are submitted to the Admission Assistant of Health Careers in the Welcome Center.
  • Students are responsible to monitor their program admission progress via the WebAdvisor Program Evaluation link.

Step 4 - Qualifying and admission

  • Students are qualified when all of the program’s admission criteria have been satisfied.
  • Applicants are admitted on a “first-qualified, first-admitted” basis. Application date may be used to determine placement on the qualified list if necessary.
  • Students will only be contacted via the contact information provided through WebAdvisor.
Additional Program Requirements: 

Health Appraisal

Potential students must have an interest in working with the ill and disabled. Good physical strength, observation skills and communication skills are just some of the abilities required for this job. A more detailed sample job profile is available through the Health Careers Office 313-845- 9877. Each student must pass a basic physical examination prior to entering the program and a more detailed examination (including checking blood titers for immunity) prior to the start of clinical externships. Any students requesting special accommodations for program admission and progression should contact the Assisted Learning Office at 313-845-9617.

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen

Consistent with Section 20173 of the Michigan Public Health Code and the requirements of our clinical affiliates, a Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen is required for all students in PTA program prior to beginning clinical assignments. The cost for this test is in addition to the basic tuition and fee schedule. For questions regarding this policy, contact the Health Careers Office.

Students who are not cleared for clinical through the Health Appraisal, Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen will not be able to complete the PTA program.

Program Deposit

At the time of formal admission to the program, each applicant is required to pay a $100 fee to secure a position. One month after classes start in the fall, the $100 fee is refunded to the student if the student is still active in the program.


Students must maintain AHA-Healthcare Provider CPR-Certification throughout the Clinical Externships.

Program Duration Limits / Updates / Changes: 

All PTA courses taken at HFCC must be successfully completed within three consecutive calendar years. The HFCC PTA program graduation rate is comparable to other state and national PTA programs at 58.3% in 2008, 67.9% in 2009, 78.3% in 2010, 76% in 2011, and 76% in 2012.

The College continuously attempts to improve each program and as a result, courses and/or requirements may be modified. Curriculum, course content, and admission criteria are subject to change by action of the College faculty and administration.

Minimum Number Of Credits To Graduate: 
77 (Including Options/Electives)

Required Support Courses

Anatomy and Physiology courses that were taken five or more years prior to enrollment in the PTA program must be repeated.

Revised August 2011

Degree-Specific Requirements

Degree-Specific Requirements: 

Students must also complete the specific degree requirements for the Associate in Applied Science Degree. Courses listed in the Required Core Courses and/or Required Support Courses may also be used to fulfill Associate in Applied Science Degree Requirements when applicable. Developmental courses (developmental courses are those numbered below 100) cannot be used to fulfill these requirements.

General Education

General Education: 

Students must also complete the General Education requirements of the College. Courses listed in the Required Core Courses and/or Required Support Courses for the, as well as courses used to fulfill requirements of the Associate in Applied Science degree, may also be used to fulfill General Education requirements when applicable.

Requirements are Subject to Change

The information represented here is for the current catalog year. If you were admitted prior to this year, please check your requirements under the Program Evaluation section of WebAdvisor.