Physical Therapist Assistant
About the Program
Train in selected physical therapy interventions under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. Our classroom instruction, hands-on practice in simulated laboratory activities and live experiences on real patients at clinical education facilities will prepare you to work in a variety of settings to assist individuals who have lost function so they can live more active lifestyles.
Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination in order to be designated as a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant.
Interested in Applying? Take the Self Assessment for PTA.
Special Admissions Requirements
A criminal background check, drug screen, physical, immunization record, proof of first-aid training and CPR certification through the American Heart Association is required before beginning the program. Please note that students who have prior convictions of a crime – excluding minor traffic violations – and/or have had disciplinary action against them may not be allowed to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination.
- PLEASE READ THE “ADMISSIONS OVERVIEW”: PTA Admissions Overview
- If you need to take any of the courses requirements listed in the Overview, you can start those now. Visit our Health Science and Nursing Prep page for more information.
- Due to the limited availability of slots in these programs, admission is competitive.
- OCtech seeks to identify students who can achieve at an appropriate level in the curriculum and diversity among its student population.
Health Information Program
Note: To receive an application for this program, you must first complete a Health Information Program (HIP). HIP Sessions are currently being updated. Please check back for updated session information. To be notified when HIP Sessions are available, please submit the following form:
This program requires the use of a laptop computer.
Students may purchase one from the OCtech Bookstore or provide their own device. A laptop may be purchased using financial aid or scholarship funds. Students are also encouraged to purchase a support package, extended warranties and/or accidental coverage for their device.
If you have your own laptop, it must
• have a USB port
• be capable of adding a second browser, such as Chrome, Edge or Firefox
• be capable of downloading a free Office 365 license provided by OCtech
• be capable of playing and recording audio and video
Successful PTA graduates are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapist Assistance Examination.
OCtech has approved articulation agreements with Columbia College, MUSC, and Coastal Carolina University.
Explore physical therapist assistant careers at CareerOneStop.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 2020 PTA-Admissions-Overview for further details on requirements to apply.
Refer to the PTA Curriculum Model for a sample layout of the 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.
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.
Any student making below a “C” in a pre-requisite course will need to retake it. There is no limit to the number of times a pre-requisite course can be taken and students are not penalized during the application process for repeating a course.
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.
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
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
PTH 101: Physical Therapy Professional Preparation
This course introduces the purpose, philosophy, and history of physical therapy and medical/legal documentation.
PTH 102: Introduction to Physical Therapy
This course prepares the student to provide skilled basic patient care and data collection in a physical therapy setting.
PTH 115: Pathology for Physical Therapist Assistants
This course is a study of basic pathophysiology of the human body with an emphasis on management of diseases and injuries commonly seen in physical therapy.
PTH 202: Physical Therapy Modalities
This course introduces patient care techniques and patient preparation for the implementation and use of therapeutic modalities to include superficial hot/cold agents, deep heating agents, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, mechanical and light modalities.
PTH 205: Physical Therapy Functional Anatomy
This course introduces the basic concepts and principles of muscles, joints, and motion, including traditional testing procedures.
PTH 206: Therapeutic Procedures
This course introduces the rationale and skills for patient therapeutic procedures, including basic exercises, gait training, and other skills necessary to patient treatment.
PTH 226: Therapeutic Exercises
This course provides a study of the rationale, contraindications and exercise skills needed to develop appropriate exercise programs.
PTH 235: Interpersonal Dynamics
This course introduces the dynamics of the health professional/patient relationship and includes communication and the principles of respectful interaction throughout the life cycle.
PTH 242: Orthopedic Management
This course introduces basic orthopedic assessment skills and application of treatment techniques for the trunk and extremities.
PTH 244: Rehabilitation
This course introduces neurological principles, pathology, and specialized rehabilitation techniques for pediatric and adult care.
PTH 266: Physical Therapy Practicum I
This course includes patient treatment under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist and/or a licensed physical therapist assistant.
PTH 270: Special Topics in Physical Therapy
This course provides opportunities for specialized study of selected topics in physical therapy.
PTH 275: Advanced Professional Preparation
This course is the study of the skills needed to enter the professional arena, including resume writing, interviewing, professional decision making, and preparation for the PTA National Board Examination.
PTH 276: Physical Therapy Practicum II
This course includes a practicum experience in a clinical setting using advanced skills under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist and/or physical therapist assistant.
- NHS Program Appeal Application
- ATI TEAS Exam Taking Tips
- PTA Student Handbook 2019-2020
- PTA Program Policies and Procedures
For general public questions or concerns about the Physical Therapist Assistant program, please contact Lynn Fralix, Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Detailed information regarding outside concerns can also be found on page 11 of the PTA Student Handbook.
Students who wish to share a concern or file a compliant should follow the steps outlined in OCtech Procedure 4.049.01: Student Grievance Procedure. OCtech faculty, staff, or clinical educators who wish to share a concern or file a complaint should follow the steps in OCtech Procedure 8.002.04: Employee Complaints.
Dear Prospective Student,
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 that allows you the possibility to earn a competitive salary in a profession with employment projections that are above average. Opportunities are endless in this profession as you will be prepared to work in a variety of different practice settings, treat patients of all ages, engage with other health care professions, and assist patients with any body system dysfunction improve their quality of life.
The program employees 3 faculty members who are devoted to student learning. With small class sizes of 22, students are afforded a low faculty to student ratio for more individualized instruction and feedback. Further, faculty are dedicated to ensuring instructional methods effective for meeting needs of all learning styles. With a curriculum focused on contemporary practice, evidenced based research, professional behaviors, and treatment approaches appropriate for rural healthcare, faculty ensure students are prepared to treat patients with simple or complex diagnoses upon entering the workforce.
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.
Lynn Fralix, MS, PT
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program (PTA) at Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College (OCtech) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: email@example.com; 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
To review accreditation status, please visit the OCtech Program Accreditation/Approval page.
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Meet a Graduate
“I wish I had known about OCtech’s PTA program before earning an exercise science degree from the University of South Carolina. You get into the workforce so much faster with a degree from OCtech.”