Physical Therapist Assistant, AAS


Program Description

A physical therapist assistant (PTA) is licensed to practice physical therapy under the supervision of a physical therapist (PT). They perform hands-on treatments for people who need to recover from injuries to the bones and joints, brain and nerves, problems with pain, developmental complications, and other movement problems. Their main purpose is to assist people with reaching their maximum level of health and function. They help people to recover their ability to walk, to heal from wounds, and to learn to work and live with the effects of injuries and other health problems.  Physical therapists (PTs) are responsible for evaluating and treating people who need physical therapy care. They identify problems that physical therapy can address, create goals, and decide what treatment the person will receive. PTAs usually work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, schools, home health – actually, anywhere that physical therapists work. They only work with physical therapists – this is exclusive and required by professional ethics, codes of conduct, and by law.


DSU Physical Therapist Assistant program graduates are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), a required step toward receiving a physical therapist assistant license. The NPTE is administered through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), whose mission is to protect the public by providing service and leadership that promote safe and competent physical therapy practice. 

Professional Licensure/Certification (PLC) Requirements

The curriculum for programs at Dixie State University customarily leading to licensure have been designed to meet the educational licensure/certification requirements in Utah as well as to prepare students to apply for licensure exams in the State of Utah. The licensure boards in each state are responsible for establishing the requirements for licensure/certification for their state. Requirement may vary state to state and may change at any time. Students who intend to use their DSU degree to secure licensure in any state other than Utah will need to review the professional licensure disclosures in that state pertaining to their program and consult with the state professional licensing board.  For more information, visit the State Authorization and Professional Licensure web page and select your program, or speak to the director of your program.


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Dixie State University 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:

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the PTA program, an applicant must first be accepted as a Dixie State University student. Then, the applicant must complete a separate application to the PTA program.

Application information, including deadlines. Each cohort is limited to 16 students; therefore, admission is competitive. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Students are accepted into a “cohort” – a group of students who start the program at the same time, enroll and complete the same program courses, perform clinical education at the same time, and graduate together as a group. The program cannot be taken part-time; it is a full time commitment. Admission requirements include:

  • Be admitted to Dixie State University
  • Minimum GPA of 2.7 in prerequisite courses (no grade below “C”):
    PTA 1010Introduction to Physical Therapy2
    BIOL 2320
    BIOL 2325
    Human Anatomy
    and Human Anatomy Lab
    BIOL 2420
    BIOL 2425
    Human Physiology
    and Human Physiology Lab
    HLOC 1000Medical Terminology2
  • Minimum “C” grade in each required General Education course

  • Observation or work experience (16 hours minimum)

  • Official college transcripts

Upon conditional acceptance:

  • Criminal background check

  • Health/immunization requirements

Once an applicant is accepted into the program but before enrollment, additional health requirements, including selected immunizations, CPR certification, and drug screening, will be required.

Program Curriculum

82 credits

General Education Requirements (can be completed before or during the PTA program)
ENGL 1010Introduction to Writing (EN)3
or ENGL 1010D Introduction to Writing (EN)
ENGL 2010Interm Writing Selected Topics: (EN)3
MATH 1040Introduction to Statistics (MA) (preferred)3-4
or MATH 1030 Quantitative Reasoning (MA)
or MATH 1050 College Algebra / Pre-Calculus (MA)
FSHD 1500Human Development Lifespan (SS, GC)3
or PSY 1100 Human Development Through Lifespan (SS, GC)
COMM 2110Interpersonal Communication (SS, GC)3
Program Prerequisites
BIOL 2320
BIOL 2325
Human Anatomy
and Human Anatomy Lab
BIOL 2420
BIOL 2425
Human Physiology
and Human Physiology Lab
HLOC 1000Medical Terminology2
PTA 1010Introduction to Physical Therapy2

NOTE: Students who have completed BIOL 2320BIOL 2325BIOL 2420, and BIOL 2425 can fulfill GE Life Science and GE Laboratory Science by taking BIOL 1300 Evolution & Ecology (1)

Discipline Core Requirements
Semester I
PTA 2010Kinesiology2
PTA 2011Kinesiology Lab2
PTA 2110Fundamentals Physical Therapy2
PTA 2111Fundamentals Physical Therapy Lab2
PTA 2400Clinical Pathology3
Semester II
PTA 2000Practice Issues2
PTA 2200Physical Agents2
PTA 2201Physical Agents Lab2
PTA 2210Observation & Measurement2
PTA 2211Observation & Measurement Lab2
PTA 2300Orthopedic Rehabilitation2
PTA 2301Orthopedic Rehabilitation Lab2
Semester III
PTA 2605Clinical Practicum (ALPP)4
Semester IV
PTA 2410Special Clientele2
PTA 2411Special Clientele Lab1
PTA 2520Neuromuscular Rehabilitation2
PTA 2521Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Lab2
PTA 2530Seminar4
PTA 3000Clinical Skills2
Semester V
PTA 2705Clinical Affiliation I (ALPP)6
PTA 2805Clinical Affiliation II (ALPP)6

Graduation Requirements

  1. Complete a minimum of 82 college-level credits (1000 and above).
  2. Complete at least 20 lower-division credits at DSU for institutional residency.
  3. Cumulative GPA 2.0 or higher.
  4. Minimum 2.7 GPA in Program Prerequisite courses.
  5. Minimum cumulative GPA 2.75 in Discipline Core Requirement courses.

Graduation Plan

Plan of Study Grid
1st Year
Spring SemesterHours
PTA 1010 Introduction to Physical Therapy 2
BIOL 2320
BIOL 2325
Human Anatomy
and Human Anatomy Lab
BIOL 2420
BIOL 2425
Human Physiology
and Human Physiology Lab
HLOC 1000 Medical Terminology 2
2nd Year
Fall Semester
PTA 2010 Kinesiology 2
PTA 2011 Kinesiology Lab 2
PTA 2110 Fundamentals Physical Therapy 2
PTA 2111 Fundamentals Physical Therapy Lab 2
PTA 2400 Clinical Pathology 3
COMM 2110 Interpersonal Communication (SS, GC) 3
ENGL 1010 Introduction to Writing (EN) 3
Spring Semester
PTA 2000 Practice Issues 2
PTA 2200 Physical Agents 2
PTA 2201 Physical Agents Lab 2
PTA 2210 Observation & Measurement 2
PTA 2211 Observation & Measurement Lab 2
PTA 2300 Orthopedic Rehabilitation 2
PTA 2301 Orthopedic Rehabilitation Lab 2
FSHD 1500
Human Development Lifespan (SS, GC)
or Human Development Through Lifespan (SS, GC)
Summer Semester
PTA 2605 Clinical Practicum (ALPP) 4
3rd Year
Fall Semester
PTA 2410 Special Clientele 2
PTA 2411 Special Clientele Lab 1
PTA 2520 Neuromuscular Rehabilitation 2
PTA 2521 Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Lab 2
PTA 2530 Seminar 4
PTA 3000 Clinical Skills 2
ENGL 2010 Interm Writing Selected Topics: (EN) 3
MATH 1040 Introduction to Statistics (MA) 3
Spring Semester
PTA 2705 Clinical Affiliation I (ALPP) 6
PTA 2805 Clinical Affiliation II (ALPP) 6
 Total Hours82

Physical Therapist Assistant Program Learning Outcomes

At the successful conclusion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate entry-level competency of all required PTA skills.
  2. Administer the intervention goals and plan of care in an appropriate manner.
  3. Produce effective communication with all stakeholders.
  4. Compose accurate client documentation outlining rationale for physical therapy intervention.
  5. Demonstrate sensitivity to cultural, ethnic, gender and lifestyle differences.