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Start Your Career at a Well-Established and Affordable Physical Therapist Assistant Program

The associate in applied science program in the physical therapist assistant (PTA) program trains students to work with physical therapists in managing movement dysfunction, restoring physical function and assisting people of all ages to regain their lives after illness or trauma. St. Louis Community College's PTA program was established in 1984 and is the oldest PTA program in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Upon completion of this program students earn an associate in applied science degree and are eligible to sit for the national licensure examination for the physical therapist assistant administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Licensure is required in Missouri and most states.

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What is Physical Therapist Assistant at St. Louis Community College?

The physical therapist assistant is involved in supporting physical therapists in providing rehabilitative care to patients. Physical therapist assistants help patients perform exercises, use therapeutic equipment and monitor progress,  helping improve mobility, reducing pain and enhancing overall physical function and wellness.  

Completion of the program requires two full academic years beginning in the fall and including a summer semester. In the first year, students take general education and related science courses. During the second year, students concentrate solely on core PTA courses, some of which involve full-time clinical work that provides valuable, real-world experience to prepare for a professional career.

Once admitted to the program, science and professional courses must be taken, as outlined, in the proper sequence and within the prescribed time frame. See the semester-by-semester plan.

Because of the heavy academic and clinical load, students should not anticipate holding full-time jobs while enrolled in the program.

PTA Technical Standards

Program Financial Fact Sheet

Pathways Illustration

What Can You do with a Physical Therapist Assistant Associate Degree? 

With a physical therapist assistant associate degree, you can become a licensed physical therapist assistant. In this role, you'll work under the direction of physical therapists, assisting patients with therapeutic exercises, administering treatments and monitoring progress to facilitate recovery and improve physical function. 

Clinical Experience

The program includes 15 weeks of full-time clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant:

  • STLCC has clinical contracts with several facilities in the St. Louis area, Missouri, Illinois and other surrounding states.
  • Clinical contracts include hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient facilities and schools.
  • There are three different clinical courses in the last year of the program for a total of 15 weeks. All clinical assignments are full-time, 40 hours per week.
  • The student does not establish clinical placements, which are administered by the PTA program department. 

AAS in PTA

  • Degree Offered: Associate in Science 
  • Locations: Forest Park
  • Hours to Complete: 68
  • Program Contact Name: Christie Cohoon, PT, DPT, OCS
  • Program Contact Email: ccohoon1@stlcc.edu
  • Accreditation:
    The PTA program at St. Louis Community College is accredited by the  Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) 
    3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100 
    Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085 
    Telephone: 703-706-3245 
    Email: accreditation@apta.org 
    Website: capteonline.org
  • This program meets the educational requirements for state licensure in the following states: Missouri, Illinois and California. Students interested in pursuing licensure in a different state should contact the program coordinator for more information.

Cost of Attendance

Tuition for district residents is $122 per credit hour. Find out more about our straightforward and low-cost tuition structure.

The student can expect to incur some fees/expenses while enrolled in the PTA program and upon graduation. While enrolled these fees include, but are not limited to:

Maintenance fees for prerequisite, general education and PTA courses:

  • In District - $122/credit hour
  • Out of district - $171/credit hour
  • Out of state - $233/credit hour

Textbooks and course materials: Students are required to purchase the required textbooks and course materials each semester. These can cost anywhere from $300-$800 per year.

Health insurance: All PTA students are required to carry personal health insurance during the second year of the program at your expense. Students are also required to have liability insurance each semester for clinicals, which is covered by the College through tuition fees.

CastleBranch compliance tracker: Students must upload PTA program paperwork. The cost is $27.50.

Family Care Safety Registry: Students much register for placement at clinical sites. The cost is approximately $15.

Criminal background check: Students are required to complete for placement at clinical sites. The cost is approximately $14, depending on the number of states you’ve lived in.

Drug screen: Students are required be screened for placement at clinical sites. The cost is approximately $35.

PTA program shirt, lab coat and uniform: PTA program shirts are strongly recommended for off-site labs, field trips, skills practical checkouts, etc. The cost is approximately $25. Some clinical sites require a lab coat, uniform or scrubs that you would be responsible for acquiring.

Clinical education expenses: Students are responsible for potential expenses related to of clinical activities, such as fuel, transportation, housing, etc.

APTA membership: Student membership in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is a requirement for the final semester of the program. Joining the organization entitles you to journals, communications, special conference, programs, etc. It will keep you informed of important legal, ethical and practical issues and guide you in your professional growth. The cost is $100.

For 2022, the total cost of the program was estimated at $9,288 in-district and $12,620 out of district for two years taking all courses in the curriculum.

After graduation:

Licensure examination: Examination and processing costs are approximately $600.

Licensure fees: Maintaining your license is approximately $50 every two years. 

Admission Requirements

Each year, 32 students are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Of those 32, five slots are available for potential priority admission for students with a bachelor’s degree.

In order to facilitate the entry of students in the available spaces, a waiting list is used. A student is placed on the waiting list once program application prerequisites have been met and a program application has been submitted. Placement on the waiting list is based solely on the date of application. Students on the list will be sent a letter each fall asking their interest to pursue admission to the program. Failure to respond to this letter by the deadline will result in removal from the waiting list. Letters will be sent in the spring to those being offered admission to the program in the fall semester. All those receiving letters must attend a mandatory program orientation scheduled in late April/early May.

The PTA program is a selective admission, college-level program. Students must have successfully completed specific requirements prior to application, including:

  • High school or college cumulative grade point average of 2.5
  • Minimum placement test scores or successful completion of specific courses
  • Successful completion of anatomy & physiology I or biology 207 within the last five years

The associate in applied science degree for physical therapist assistant is not equivalent to the first two years of a doctoral degree in physical therapy.

Credits that transfer: STLCC’s physical therapist assistant program has an articulation agreement with Maryville University for the benefit of students who wish to continue their education and earn a bachelor of arts in practice management or organizational leadership.

PTA Program Admission Requirements

In compliance with St. Louis Community College policies, the PTA program is committed to nondiscrimination with respect to race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran.

Program Outcomes

Graduation Rates

Graduation Year Graduation % Rates
2020 87%
2021 88%
2022 91%
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Two-year averages for 2021-2022 = 89.5%

 

Licensure Rates

Graduation Year Licensure Pass Rate
2020 92.3%
2021 100%
2022 95%
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Two-year averages for 2021-2022 = 97.5%
First-time pass rate average for graduation years 2021-2022 = 78%

 

Employment Rates

Graduation Year Employment Rate
2020 100%
2021 100%
2022 100%
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Two-year averages for 2021-2022 = 100%

Check All Program Requirements

Why You Should Choose STLCC's PTA Program

Instructor demonstrating physical therapy technique

Developing Professionals

Students from the STLCC PTA program routinely earn the Outstanding Missouri Student Physical Therapist Assistant award. This affirms the quality of the STLCC program and its students.

Student performing physical therapy

Ramp Up High-Wage Skills

STLCC offers career-focused programs for high-wage, high-skill and in-demand jobs. STLCC provides opportunities for college transfers, career development and workforce training. 

Patient stretches arms with help of physical therapy student

Caring for Students

STLCC goes beyond academics with support services, ranging from stress and anxiety management to grants for childcare, emergency crisis support, clothing and free meals through the Archers' Market and Brown Bag Cafe food pantry. We also offer free tutoring on campus or online.

Student helping patient extend leg

Helping Students Overcome Barriers

STLCC partners with the U.S. Department of Education to offer TRIO, supporting first generation and other students from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO helps students earn more credits, obtain a higher GPA, gain valuable skills all while building a stronger community.

Come as you are. See what you become.

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