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Physical Therapist Assistant

Where to road to recovery meets the road to success.

Associate Degree

We are the hand.
We are the hand in
need.

People need help everyday.

"Seeing someone take their first steps on their own in long time is a good feeling. Knowing I helped them get there means a lot."

Our students learn the how and why of physical therapy. We strive to extend that learning to include the "people factor."

We teach
knowledge.
skills.
confidence.
Radiology students in lab
The Program
physical therapist assistant
THE PROGRAM
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The graduate
physical therapist assistant
THE GRADUATE
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The employer
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THE EMPLOYER
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Program Models
Exercise your brain.
These classes will get you in shape for the career you want.

We've designed our PTA program around what matters: a solid foundation, practical experience, and a determination to see our graduates and their clients succeed.

The OCtech PTA program has limited enrollment. Please see the Special Admissions Information below.

Click below to see the typical breakdown of classes you will take and the official college catalog information.

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Tutition
money bag
Program Cost*

Paying for college is not as hard as you may think. Many of our students attend for little to no tuition cost.

Physical Therapist Assistant

$3,042 per semester

The cost of books, supplies, and fees may vary. Please see the appropriate Special Admissions Overview for more information.

*Based on 2021-22 full-time / in-county tuition

HIP Sign up
Get Started.
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We are currently updating our HIP schedule. You can sign up to be notified when this schedule is published so you can register to attend.

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Take a look at the Special Admissions Overview criteria for more information about program requirements.

Overviews No HIP

Please use the links below to access the Admissions Overview information for the program you want to apply to. These sheets contain vital information concerning required courses, detailed costs and rating sheets that will benefit you throughout the application process.

If you would like to better prepare for the special admissions process for one of these programs, our Health Science and Nursing Preparation Programs are a good place to start.

Lynn Fralix

Lynn Fralix

Physical Therapist Assistant Program Coordinator

I am excited about your interest in the PTA program at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and welcome any questions you might have. The physical therapy profession is a rewarding one with endless opportunities. We will prepare you to work in a variety of different practice settings, treat patients of all ages, engage with other health care professions, and assist patients to improve their quality of life.

If you choose to pursue a career as a PTA, I wish you the best and encourage you to look further into what OCtech can offer. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like more information about the program.

Additional Information

What is the role of a Physical Therapist Assistant?

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a skilled healthcare professional qualified to perform selected treatments under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist. PTAs can treat individuals of any age with health conditions that limit the ability to perform functional movement. Practice settings available to licensed PTAs include hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, school systems, long-term care facilities, rehab units, sports and fitness facilities, and work hardening programs. The goal of physical therapy intervention is to prevent or improve the loss of mobility, so people can live lifestyles that are more active.

PTAs demonstrate professional and ethical practice as stated in the American Physical Therapy Association’s Value-Based Behaviors and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant. Through required bi-annual licensure renewal and continuing education requirements, the PTA will stay current on evolving health care trends. By using contemporary practice and evidenced based research, the PTA can be an active member of the PT/PTA team in the delivery of physical therapy services.

Where can a PTA work?

A PTA can work in a variety of practice settings. Some common settings include acute care hospitals, inpatient rehab units, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient clinics, private practice clinics, sports medicine facilities, school systems, home health care, and academia.

Job outlook for a PTA is much faster than average with an expected growth in the need for PTAs in the workforce of 30% from 2016-2026. Employment rates for graduates of OCtech have been 100% since the start of the program. Many graduates are offered jobs and begin work as soon as they pass the National Board Exam for licensure.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is the salary of a PTA?

Salary for PTAs will vary based on location and practice setting. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average salary for a PTA is $48,090.00 with the average salary for a PTA in SC being $56,880.00. According to Career One Stop, the average salary for a PTA in SC is $57,230.00.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career OneStop

What are OCtech's PTA program requirements?
  • Attend a Health Information Program (HIP) Session
  • A minimum 2.5 GPA from the last college attended where 12 or more credit hours were earned
  • Complete prerequisite courses with a “C” or better prior to Phase II of the PTA program
  • Take required admission and/or placement tests as outlined in the HIP Session
  • Meet standardized test criteria
  • Complete a minimum of 40 observation hours in 2 different practice settings
  • Submit a completed application packet

Refer to the  PTA Admissions Overview above for further details on requirements to apply.

What course should I take to apply?

Refer to the PTA Curriculum Model for a sample layout of th 10 pre-requisite courses needed to apply. These courses are listed in the first 2 semesters, which are considered Phase I of the program.

All pre-requisite courses must be completed with a “C” or better or will need to be repeated.

Does OCtech accept transfer credits?

The program will accept transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions based on OCtech’s policy for the general education courses, but no credit transfers will be accepted for specific PTA courses. Any course in OCtech’s Phase II PTA Program taken previously at another College will have to be retaken at OCtech. Any questions about course equivalency should be directed to Student Records at 803-535-1224.

What are the physical requirements for the PTA program?

Prospective students should consider the physical challenges of the program to help determine if he or she can successfully complete job duties required of a PTA. Refer to the list of Technical and Core Performance Standards for OCtech’s PTA program. All students enrolled in the program must be able to complete these standards with or without reasonable accommodations.

Will I have to complete clinical affiliations?

All students enrolled in the program are required to complete an integrated and terminal clinical affiliation. The first clinical affiliation is completed the last 7 weeks of fall semester and the terminal affiliation is completed the final 7 weeks of spring semester. Students are required to complete one inpatient and one outpatient clinical experience with one of the two being in an area where rural healthcare is provided. Clinical education composes 14 weeks of the PTA program. Students are exposed to supervised clinical experiences where they treat real patients from different socioeconomic backgrounds with a wide array of diagnoses. Students will treat patients from any age group while gaining experience with interprofessional collaborative care through engagement with various health care professionals and PT/PTA teams. While on clinical, students are required to work the schedule of their Clinical Instructors, which may vary among facilities.

The PTA program has contracts with clinical facilities across the State of South Carolina. The Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education is responsible for placing students at clinical sites that meet program requirements and upon which active agreements exist between the College and clinical site. Multiple factors are considered when making clinical assignments. Examples include:

  • A student’s prior experiences before entering the program and strengths/weaknesses identified during coursework and previous clinical rotations
  • Program policy to place each student in one institutional dwelling and one community dwelling facility with one being in a rural area
  • Location of the clinical facility
  • Communication and learning style of the student
  • Environment and teaching style of the facility/clinical instructor(s)
  • Educational and personal goals of the student
  • Consideration of student requests
  • Proximity to OCtech
What is a typical day like for a PTA student?

On-campus classes begin at 8:00 am and end between 2:30 and 4:30 pm Monday – Thursday of each semester, except for the last 7 weeks of fall and spring semesters when clinical affiliations occur. Students should plan to stay after normal scheduled hours to practice lab skills and prepare for projects. Classes include lectures, group activities, role play, simulation, debate, presentations, and many other instructional methods appropriate for adult learning.

Students enrolled in Phase II of the program take all classes together and become very close as they spend many hours practicing skills and serving as simulated patients.

Program faculty are readily available to assist students with needs and work diligently to provide a stimulating and engaging environment for student learning. Due to the large amount of information that must be learned, students are actively involved in the learning process throughout each day with the exception of a lunch break.

Can I work while I complete the PTA program?

Due to the rigor of the program and time required to learn material and complete assignments, it is not recommended that students work while enrolled in the program. While some students have been able to manage a light work schedule, others have found the need to devote their time to the program for success.

Faculty recommend students speak to Financial Aid Counselors to discuss financial assistance, if needed, while enrolled in the program.

Why choose OCtech's PTA program?
  • Small class size of 22 students
  • Low faculty to student ratio
  • 3 semesters once accepted (Begin Phase II in May and graduate the following May)
  • Low financial obligation for the pending salary upon graduation
  • 100% employment rates for program graduates
  • Above national averages for licensure pass rates at 100%
  • State-of-the Art-Equipment
  • Variety of clinical sites across the State of South Carolina
  • Engagement with students in other Health Science, PT and PTA programs
  • Involvement with Advocacy and Community Service Learning
Program Mission and Philosophy

Mission

The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College is to provide a comprehensive and engaging curriculum to graduate competent PTAs who are capable of progressing movement in rural health care settings by delivering professional, ethical, and evidenced-based services.

Philosophy

The philosophy of the PTA Program at OCtech is congruent with the College’s mission. Faculty will dedicate themselves to instilling high standards of ethics, professionalism, and clinical expertise by providing a stimulating, challenging, and comprehensive educational experience. Students will be offered a wide array of opportunities and experiences focused on a flexible, comprehensive and engaging curriculum. Faculty will be committed to professional development efforts to cultivate the unique qualities of each student. Program faculty will actively provide support and opportunity for growth to support student success. They will devote time to ongoing assessment and revision of the curriculum to accommodate student needs and ensure excellence in education. By using innovative and contemporary practice, faculty will dedicate themselves to quality instruction using various assessment methods aimed at reaching all learning styles to confirm entry-level competence. This will allow students a multitude of opportunities upon graduation.

The PTA Program will embrace the culturally diverse population served by the College’s rural community and will commit to mutual respect between faculty, students, and the community as a whole. Faculty, students, and those served in the community compose a variety of individuals who span various age groups, cultural backgrounds, and value systems. The program is committed to providing students with the tools necessary to deliver services with consideration of human dignity and the needs of the patient, unrestricted by age, sex, race, creed, social or economic status, handicap, personal attributes, or the nature of the health problem. The faculty will strive to graduate respectful, professional, and ethical students who are dedicated to personal development as well as progressing movement in rural health care settings.

It will be the responsibility of the student to be an active and committed participant in the program. The student will have to critically examine concepts and reflect upon them in a safe, ethical, efficient, and competent manner to restore optimal function in the patients they serve. Only through the engagement of faculty and students can transformation into successful and self-reliant individuals occur. Ultimately, this will make a positive impact on citizens of rural communities served by graduates of the program.

Additional Resources for Information

American Physical Therapy Association
http://www.apta.org

South Carolina Physical Therapy Association
http://scapta.org

Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
http://www.fsbpt.org

South Carolina Board of Physical Therapy
http://www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/PhysicalTherapy

Policies

Accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program (PTA) at Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College (OCtech) 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: http://www.capteonline.org.  If needing to contact the PTA Program at OCtech directly, please call Program Coordinator, Lynn Fralix, at 803-535-1305 or email fralixlw@octech.edu.

To review accreditation status, please visit the OCtech Program Accreditation/Approval page.

 Graduation RateFirst Time NPTE
Pass Rate
Ultimate NPTE
Pass Rate
Employment Rate
201682.4%100%100%100%
201782.4%100%100%100%
201885%100%100%100%
201960%100%100%100%
202077.7%100%100%100%
Two Year Averages
2016-1782.4%100%100%100%
2017-1883%100%100%100%
2018-1972%100%100%100%
2019-2068.8%100%100%100%