Physical Therapist Assistant

Contact Info

Dr. Beverly Born, Program Coordinator
Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Pierpont Community & Technical College
School of Health Careers
310A Caperton Center
Clarksburg, WV 26301
Phone: 304.367.4042
E-Mail: Beverly.Born@pierpont.edu

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) are licensed health care providers who work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist to provide therapeutic treatments to patients who have lost functional ability because of illness or injury. Patients include persons who have such disabling conditions as lower-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy.

The physical therapist evaluates the patient, plans the treatment program, and assigns treatment responsibilities to the PTA. Physical therapist assistants spend the majority of the workday working directly with patients. Treatment techniques might include exercise, massage, electrical stimulation, paraffin bath, hot and cold packs, traction, and ultrasound. Physical therapist assistants also record the patient's response to treatment in the medical record and report the outcome of each treatment to the physical therapist.

Employment Opportunities:
Career opportunities for PTAs can be found in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities, offices of physical therapists in private practice, and in home health agencies. According to the US Department of Labor, employment of physical therapist assistants is expected to grow much faster than average through the year 2018. Average annual salary in May 2008 was $46,140.

Program Overview:
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program is an accredited Associate of Applied Science degree program centered at the Gaston Caperton Center in Clarksburg. This program is a full-time day program that can be completed in two academic years plus one required summer session. Students learn physical therapy theory in the classroom, practice techniques in the laboratory, and refine their skills in real heath care settings. Clinical placements begin in the second semester and continue in the summer and final two semesters. Clinical sites are situated throughout West Virginia. Graduates are eligible to take the state licensing examination and must pass the exam to work as physical therapist assistants.

Outcomes Information:

For the graduating classes of 2011-2013, 62.12% of those who applied were accepted into the program and 72.23% graduated. For the graduating classes of 2010-2012, 82.35% passed the licensing examination and one hundred (100) percent of those who passed found jobs within 6 months. 

Educational Advancement Opportunities:
PTAs may continue their education and receive a baccalaureate degree in a related field such as Allied Health Administration or Exercise Science. Graduates who want to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT) to be a physical therapist must first get a Bachelors degree in any field that satisfies the prerequisite requirements of the DPT school they wish to attend. Technical courses taken as part of the PTA program do not necessarily transfer for credit toward a degree to be a physical therapist.

Questions and Complaints:
For further information about the program, contact Beverly.Born@pierpont.edu. If you have complaints about the program contact Beverly Born or Rosemarie.Romesburg@pierpont.ed, Dean of the School of Health Careers.


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