Physical Therapist Assistant

Program Information

Degree Type: 
Associate in Applied Science

Prepares individuals for employment as entry-level Physical Therapist Assistants. 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.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Demonstrate competence in physical therapy intervention,from the plan of care established by the Physical Therapist, including review of the plan, provision of appropriate interventions, and progression as indicated.
  • Demonstrate competence in data collection, based upon the plan of care and patient needs.
  • Provide appropriate instruction to the patient, client, and/or family based upon the needs.
  • Document accurate, consistent, legal, and relevant information about treatment interventions.
  • Communicate effectively, orally and in writing, with the professional team and community for the provision of patient care and the betterment of the profession of physical therapy.
  • Demonstrate professional behaviors throughout interactions with patients, fellow students, caregivers, and other practitioners.
  • Utilize feedback and self-evaluation in the development of their own abilities and career.
  • Comply with appropriate legal standards for a Physical Therapist Assistant.
  • Exhibit conduct and integrity appropriate for the Physical Therapist Assistant, throughout health care related interactions, as established by the American Physical Therapy Association.
  • Provide care as directed by the plan of care in a safe manner, minimizing risk to the patient, self, and others.
  • Identify effective and ineffective physical therapy interventions and modify, within the plan of care to maximize patient outcomes.
Admission Requirements / Eligibility: 

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. Acceptance into the college does not constitute nor guarantee admission to the program. Final approval to enroll in the program only comes from the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director. Students who are interested in this program should select Associate of Science with a specialization in Pre-Physical Therapist Assistant degree, and meet with a Health Careers Advisor/Admissions Specialist in the Welcome Center.

  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*
  5. Successful completion of BIO-233: Anatomy and 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 Admission Process

It is recommended that students interested in a health career meet with a Health Careers Admissions Assistant/Advisor in the Welcome Center or (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 HFC will indicate the program by selecting an Associate of Science with a specialization in Pre-Physical Therapist Assistant degree on the application to the college.
  • Current HFC students must complete a program change form indicating the new program as an Associate of Science with a specialization in Pre-Physical Therapist Assistant degree. College applications and change forms must be submitted to the Records and Registration Office located in the Welcome Center.

Step 2 – Qualifying for admission

  • Complete all program admission requirements.

Step 3 - Deliver information and track applicant status

  • It is the student’s responsibility to make certain official transcripts are sent to: Henry Ford 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 Health Careers Admissions Assistant 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. It is imperative that all student contact information such as phone numbers and addresses are kept current. If we are unable to contact a student, we then move to the next qualified applicant.
  • Final approval to enroll in the program comes from the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director.

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.

Degree-Specific Requirements

All students receiving an Associate Degree are required to meet Degree-Specific Requirements AND General Education Requirements. Courses listed in the Required Core and/or Required Support Courses may also be used to fulfill Degree-Specific and General Education Requirements. Developmental courses (those numbered below 100) cannot be used to fulfill these requirements.

Attention: It is the student's responsibility to review the entire program form before making course selections for registration purposes. The College recommends that students meet with an advisor or counselor well in advance of registration deadlines and before making course selections.

General Education Requirements: 

The following courses are required in this program and satisfy HFC’s General Education Outcomes for this program. Students who change their program will need to confirm in advance that they are completing all required courses for their specific program of study, including additional General Education courses. All Associate in Applied Science degrees require at least 15 General Education credits total, including at least three credit hours from the five areas below. For this program:

  1. Civil Society & Culture: Complete the following:

  2. Communication: Complete the following:

  3. Computer Technology: Complete the following:

  4. Critical Thinking & Information Literacy: Complete one of the following:

  5. Quantitative Literacy: Complete at least one of the following:

NOTE: For this program, General Education minimum credits: 16

Degree-Specific Requirements: 

Fulfill the Required Core, Required Support, and/or Elective Courses for this program.

Required Support Courses

Anatomy and Physiology courses taken five years prior or more must be repeated.
Minimum Credit Hours: 

Program Admission Requirements

Minimum Credit Hours: 
Minimum Number Of Credits To Graduate: 
75.0 (Including Options/Electives)

Program Requirements

Additional Program Requirements: 

Prior to starting the program Qualified students are invited and must attend an informational meeting scheduled by the Program Director for Physical Therapist Assistant

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, vaccinations required by health care community, tuberculosis screening) 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. Required core courses can be taken only after acceptance into the PTA Program through the Health Careers Division.


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

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.

Other Information

Occupational Exposure / Risk: 

In physical therapy, both in school and on the job, exposure to infectious diseases may be minimal to moderate depending on the work setting. This is an occupational risk. Proper education and strict adherence to well established infection control guidelines, can further reduce the risk. Thorough education in infection control procedures is a part of the physical therapist assistant program of study.

Latex Allergies Early recognition of sensitization to natural rubber latex (NRL) is crucial to prevent the possible occurrence of life-threatening reactions in sensitized healthcare workers. The program faculty strongly advise that students sensitized or allergic to latex consult a physician for guidance on the merits of continuing in a health care career. NRL sensitized students who choose to continue in the physical therapist assistant program are to notify the program director.

NOTE: All PTA courses taken at HFC must be successfully completed within three consecutive calendar years. The HFC PTA program graduation rate is comparable to other state and national PTA programs at 78.6% in 2012, 77.8% in 2013 and 70.8% in 2014.

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.

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 HFC PTA program 2012-2014 ultimate pass rate on the licensing exam is 96.8%.


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Henry Ford 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:

Year Established: 
Program Code: 


Health Sciences Division • (313) 845-9877 • Health Careers Education Ctr • Room: G-132
Cynthia Scheuer • (313) 317-6575 • • Health Careers Education Ctr • Room: G-133I

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 HFC. Articulation agreements ensure that graduates from HFC can transfer to another institution and work towards a bachelor’s degree without a loss of coursework completed at HFC. Transfer guides denote the transferability of HFC 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 on the HFC Transfer Resources page. For additional resources and assistance with transferring, students are encouraged to work with HFC’s University Transfer, Advising, and Career Counseling Center (313-845-9612,, Learning Resource Center). Students enrolled in this program frequently transfer to institutions such as:

  • Siena Heights University
  • University of Michigan - Dearborn
Career Opportunities: 

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.


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. HFC PTA graduate employment rate over the past three years has been excellent, 95% in 2012, 95% in 2013 and 86% in 2014. Information about career placement and job success is available through either the Health Careers Office or the Career Services Office.