Darton State College

Darton State College Health Sciences Department | Physical Therapist Assistant - Admission Criteria

Home  » Programs  » Health Sciences  » Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical Therapist Assistant

Download/Printable Version
Admission Criteria

Thank you for your interest in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Darton State College. Please note the PTA program has a selective admissions process, therefore due to the competitive nature, careful preparation of the application and all requirements is highly recommended.

The PTA program is made up of 2 phases: (1) the pre-professional phase and (2) the professional phase. The pre-professional phase is considered the time required to complete all prerequisite coursework and application requirements for the program. While in the pre-professional phase, students at Darton State College and students transferring from another institution should list the degree of Health Science as the primary major with pre-PTA listed as the secondary major. Transfer students may find it helpful to utilize the transfer credit equivalency link (found in the far-left column of the DSC Admissions page) to make sure the courses they wish to transfer to DSC are equivalent to the courses required for the PTA program. They may also use the following https address: https://banner.darton.edu/pls/PROD/zwsktrna.P_find_state

After the student has applied and been selected to the professional phase, the primary major will then be changed to the professional phase of the PTA program. The PTA program admits one class of 20 students per year that begins each fall semester. The deadline to apply is June 1 of the year the student wishes to enter the professional phase. The professional phase is completed over a time of 16-months, which is the equivalent of 4-semesters (fall, spring, summer, and fall) with the student graduating in December of the second fall semester. After graduation, the student is then eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination and may apply for licensure in the jurisdiction of choice.

Understanding that the deadline of June 1 occurs during the summer semester prior to the fall semester start date, a student may still submit an application to the program even though they have prerequisite coursework to be completed during the summer semester. This applies only to those that are enrolled or intend to enroll in coursework that will complete all requirements during the summer semester before the fall semester that the professional phase begins.

Please note that due to the competitive nature of the application process and the high volume of applicants, taking the prerequisite coursework, as well as meeting all of the minimum requirements, does not guarantee acceptance into the professional phase of the program.

Admission Criteria

To be considered for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant program, the applicant must:

  1. Be admitted to Darton State College (DSC).

    • You may apply on-line at www.darton.edu/admissions/
    • Please do not send the DSC application or $20 fee to the PTA Program. The two application processes are separate and no additional fee is required when submitting the PTA Program application.
  2. Submit the completed PTA application by the June 1 deadline

    The student must complete a Physical Therapist Assistant Application. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all application material has been completed by utilizing the checklist at the end of the application.

    • Must include two completed G.P.A. Forms. The forms are located within the application packet.
    • Must include verification of a minimum of 40 observational hours.
    • Must include at least one Recommendation Form completed by a PT or PTA.
    • Must include a hand written essay explaining why you have chosen PTA as a career. (no required length for the essay)
    • Must include copies of all transcripts from previous colleges/universities or technical schools.
    • Must include a copy of the TEAS score report.
  3. Must ensure the applicant meets the following minimum requirements.

    1. Must complete a minimum of 40 observational hours of experience in one or more physical therapy settings.
      • The hours must be documented and verified/signed by a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.
      • An Observational Hours Form is located within the application packet; however, documentation from the facility or facilities may be submitted in lieu of the form.
    2. At least one recommendation form must be completed by a PT or PTA. The required Recommendation Form is located within the application packet and may be photocopied for additional recommendations.
    3. Two separate GPAs must be calculated and submitted with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for each
      1. Cumulative grade point average (GPA) (all coursework ever attempted), or you may choose to substitute the cumulative GPA with another GPA by calculating only the last 40 credit hours attempted.
        • The last 40 hrs earned option is a “forgiveness” GPA for those that may have performed poorly in his or her initial college coursework and has since significantly improved.
      2. Prerequisite GPA coursework must be completed with no grade below a C (see required courses below)
Prerequisite Coursework 27 Hrs
ENGL 1101 English Composition I 3
MATH 1111 College Algebra   or   a math higher than MATH 1111 may substitute 3
BIOL 2111K Human Anatomy & Physiology I
(BIOL 1100K is not acceptable for PTA admission)
BIOL 2112K Human Anatomy & Physiology II 4
BIOL 2115K Essentials of Microbiology (BIOL 2112K or BIOL 1108K is required before taking Microbiology at DSC) 4
PSYC 2103 Human Growth & Development (PSYC 1101 is required before taking PSYC 2103 at DSC) 3
POLS 1101 American Government 3
Area C You must choose a Humanities & Fine Arts course from the following: ART 1100, MUSC 1100, THEA 1100, FIAR 2250, FREN 1002 or higher, JAPN 1002 or higher, PHIL 2205, or SPAN 1002 or higher. You may also choose to meet the requirement by taking a literature course (ENGL 2111, 2112, 2121, 2122, 2131, or 2132). (Please note that ENGL 1102 is required before taking a literature course at Darton State College) 3

If you wish to know if a course will transfer to Darton State College, please visit the following transfer credit equivalency address: https://banner.darton.edu/pls/PROD/zwsktrna.P_find_state

Selection Process

After the June 1 deadline, the PTA Selection Committee reviews and scores each application. Applications will be processed and all applicants will be contacted via email no later than June 15. The top 32 applicants will be sent an invitation via email for a personal interview. Scoring is based on the following criteria: prerequisite GPA, cumulative or last 40-hrs GPA, the number of hours observed in one or more physical therapy settings, the hand written essay, the personal interview, appropriate recommendations received, and the results of the TEAS exam.

After completion of interviews, the top 20 applicants will be selected. Correspondence of acceptance or regret will be made through email and should be received no later than July 12. The Darton State College PTA program does not utilize a waiting list and those denied acceptance must reapply the following year.

PTA Program

After acceptance into the program, the student will complete the following coursework as noted below.

Fall Semester(12 credit hours) credit hours
PTAS 1100Introduction to Physical Therapy 1
PTAS 1110 Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology 4
PTAS 1115 Clinical Pathology 3
PTAS 1125 Physical Agents 4
Spring Semester (12 credit hours)
PTAS 1105 Orientation to Patient Care Skills 4
PTAS 1121 Therapeutic Exercise I 4
PTAS 1130 Applied Neurology 3
PTAS 2010 Clinical Practicum I 1
Summer Semester (12 credit hours)
PTAS 1122 Therapeutic Exercise for Special Populations 4
PTAS 1135 Seminar I for the PTA 2
PTAS 2050 Therapeutic Exercise II 3
PTAS 2100 Neurological Rehabilitation 3
Fall Semester (12 credit hours)
PTAS 2020 Clinical Practicum II 5
PTAS 2025 Clinical Practicum III 5
PTAS 2200 Seminar II for the PTA 2

About the Program

Mission: The mission of the PTA program is to graduate knowledgeable, competent, self-assured, adaptable, and service-oriented entry-level physical therapist assistants to meet the needs of the community, State, and profession.

Degree: Upon successful completion of the program, students will earn an Associate of Science degree and will be academically eligible to sit for licensure by examination.

Accreditation: The PTA program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, 111 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703)706-3245. Next Accreditation Visit: 2021

Career Outlook: Starting salaries for licensed PTA’s in Southwest Georgia range from $43,000 to $55,000. Earning potential is higher, depending on clinical setting and career advancement.

Professional Scope of Service: The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is an important member of the dynamic profession of physical therapy. PTAs are licensed health care providers working under the supervision of a Physical Therapist. PTAs use physical agents, rehabilitation techniques, therapeutic exercise, and patient education to help patients whose abilities have been impaired by an accident, illness, or disease. Ages treated include infants to geriatrics. Settings include acute care hospitals, rehabilitation, wound care and geriatric centers, community health (home health and the school systems), industry, sports medicine and outpatient clinics.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Darton College, in compliance with Federal law, does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, handicap, sex, religion, or age in any of its policies, practices, or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services.

The faculty of the Physical Therapist Assistant program acknowledges Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and PL 103-336, The Americans with Disabilities Act and will consider for admission, progression, and graduation candidates who demonstrate the ability to perform the essential abilities listed below. These standards are admission guidelines and are subject to continuing revision and improvement.

Additional Requirements

In addition to specific academic requirements, candidates for admission to the PTA program must have aptitude, abilities, and skills in the following five areas in order to meet the full requirements of the program.

Legal Limitations

Individuals who have a criminal record may not be eligible for licensure. Therefore, it is recommended that he or she contact the Physical Therapy Board in the state where he or she plans to seek licensure to verify eligibility for licensure. All students will be required to complete a national criminal background check prior to placement in clinical externships. Some clinical facilities may also require a drug screen prior to placement (student may be responsible for payment). The clinical affiliate determines whether a student can participate in the clinical rotation based upon the results of the background check and drug screen. Should the student be denied clinical placement, he or she cannot progress through the program and will be dismissed. Careful consideration of any questionable record should be carefully scrutinized prior to application, as eligibility for licensure is at the discretion of the State Board

GEORGIA STATE BOARD OF PHYSICAL THERAPY http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/39

Financial Aid

Financial Aid is available for students who qualify.

Darton State College
Financial Aid Department

Building K, Room 111
Phone (229) 317-6746
Fax (229) 317-6607

Also, visit the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) for information regarding scholarships and financial aid: www.apta.org

Costs (subject to change)

Core Curriculum
(Per Credit Hour)
Hours Resident
Program Fee Textbooks
1 $398.67 $645.60 $242 N/A $ variable
2 $536.34 $1,030.20 $385 N/A $ variable
3 $674.01 $1,414.80 $527 N/A $ variable
4 $841.68 $1,829.40 $652 N/A $ variable
5 $1,030.35 $2,256.00 $877 N/A $ variable
6 $1,119.02 $2,600.60 $1,002 N/A $ variable
7 $1,207.69 $2,936.20 $1,127 N/A $ variable
8 $1,296.36 $3,271.80 $1,252 N/A $ variable
9 $1,385.03 $3,607.40 $1,377 N/A $ variable
10 $1,473.70 $3,943.00 $1,502 N/A $ variable
11 $1,562.37 $4,278.60 $1,627 N/A $ variable
12 $1,651.04 $4,614.20 $1,752 N/A $ variable
13 $1,739.71 $4,949.80 $1,877 N/A $ variable
14 $1,828.38 $5,285.40 $2,002 N/A $ variable
15 $1,917.00 $5,621.00 $2,127 N/A $ variable

Physical Therapist Assistant Program
(costs listed are approximate)
Semester Resident
Program Fee Textbooks
Prices may vary
Fall Semester $1,651.04 $4,614.20 N/A $65 ~$500
Spring Semester $1,651.04 $4,614.20 N/A $65 ~$300
Summer Semester $1,651.04 $4,614.20 N/A $65 ~$200
Fall Semester $1,651.04 $4,614.20 N/A $65 ~$0
Total $6,604.16 $18,456.80 N/A $260 ~$1,000
*Students are responsible for immunizations, goniometer (~$14), gait belt (~$12), blood pressure cuff & stethoscope (~$42), transportation & lodging on clinical rotations (if necessary), appropriate clinical attire, drug screen (if necessary), Student Clinical Rotation ID Badge ($10), Graduation fee ($50), Health insurance (variable). It is also required to become a member of the American Physical Therapy Association & the Georgia Chapter (dues $87).
Licensure Expenses
(subject to change)
Upon graduation, the student will have the following expenses, or similar, related to licensure. Licensing fees vary depending on the State in which the individual intends to work. Prices are subject to change and are not part of Darton State College. All fees related to licensure are the student’s responsibility.
~$75 Georgia Application for Licensing Fee (fees vary by state)
~$35 Georgia Ethics & Jurisprudence Exam (not required for all States)
~$25.60 Prometric Testing Center Fee to sit for the Ethics & Jurisprudence Exam
~$400 National Physical Therapist Assistant Licensing Exam (not required for all States)
~$55.60 Prometric Testing Center Fee to sit for the Licensing Exam
~$600.00 Total

Frequently Asked Questions

“How do I go about getting the required observational hours?”
All applicants must complete a minimum of 40 hours of clinical observation by JUNE 1st in any type of physical therapy setting such as a hospital, skilled nursing facility, out-patient facility, etc. This requirement is designed to give the applicant a better understanding of the role of the physical therapist assistant. Applicants who currently work in a physical therapy setting may complete all hours at that facility, however, they must be directly under the PT or PTA observing patient care and not part of the secretarial staff.

This is not a service performed by the college; the applicant must independently seek out a physical therapy setting and speak with the appropriate staff/personnel regarding observational hours. There are many physical therapy providers to choose from, check out your local yellow pages. Call clinical sites in your area; explain that you are applying to a PTA Program and that you would like to observe either a PT or a PTA at their facility.
“Can I work and still go thru the program?”
It is rarely possible for a student to work part-time while in the program and it is definitely not advised due to the intense nature of the program. Each semester, the student will have a full load of coursework and a grade of 75 or higher must be achieved in order to pass each class. This along with the clinical work that is off-campus (possibly out of town) will not be changed to accommodate a work schedule and a work excuse will not be acceptable for any absence.
“What are the typical hours while in the program?”
The PTA program classes are full-time and vary on days and times each semester. During the first 3 semesters of the technical program, expect to be in class Monday thru Thursday (some Fridays) 8+ hours per day. Typical hours during the first 3 semesters vary and may start as early as 9:00am and end as early as 5:00pm or as late as 9:00pm. Times vary by days and by semester, however the last semester the student must attend off-campus clinical rotations that require Monday thru Friday, 40-hours per week for 14 weeks.
“Can I be guaranteed that all of my clinical rotation sites will be in my hometown?”
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Each student will have 3 clinical rotations. The first clinical experience will occur during the Spring Semester, once a week for six Fridays. The last two are two 7-week clinical rotations completed in the Fall Semester prior to graduation. Because of the limited availability of sites that are in town, we cannot guarantee one student over another that you will not have to travel to complete the clinical rotations.
“Are the costs incurred during clinical rotations covered in our tuition?”
Again, the answer is no. Each student is obligated to cover the expenses out of pocket. However, the clinical coordinator will work with each student on an individual basis to try to place the student in an area that will require the least expense.
“How long is the program?”
The degree is designed to be completed in 2 years; however, will vary per student due to the length of time the individual may take to complete all necessary coursework prior to applying. If the student has already completed the pre-requisite coursework while at Darton or another institution, the professional phase of the PTA coursework can be completed in 16 months. Once accepted into the PTA program, 4 semesters (16 months) of the professional phase must be taken in sequence. The program begins in August of every year and ends the following Fall Semester for graduation in December.
“I already have a degree; do I have to complete all of the prerequisites?”
Yes, all of the prerequisites must be completed. Chances are that you may have already completed most of the prerequisites when completing your degree and those classes may be transferred into Darton State College. You may transfer credits from other institutions, but suitability for transfer will only be decided by the Registrar of Darton State College. In order to determine if your previous college coursework is eligible for transfer, it is recommended that you complete an application to become a student at Darton (http://www.darton.edu/admissions/) and have all of your previous coursework in the form of a transcript/s sent from the other institution/s to the Darton State College Registrar. She will evaluate your transcripts and send you a letter indicating what is eligible and what is not. You may also use the transfer equivalency link to assess acceptable transfers: https://banner.darton.edu/pls/PROD/zwsktrna.P_find_state
“I want to eventually become a PT, but am I right in using the PTA program as a stepping-stone to achieving this goal.”
No, the PTA program is NOT a stepping-stone to PT school and seats in the Darton College PTA program are not used as such. Students wishing to become a Physical Therapist must first complete a 4-yr. B.S. degree and then apply for admission to a Doctoral-level Physical Therapy Program. Obtaining an Associate’s Degree in PTA is not necessary or advised.
“I have observed under an athletic trainer or other health care professional. Can I include these hours and have them count toward the PTA observational hours?”
No, these hours are specifically designed to give the applicant a better understanding of the role of PTs and PTAs in patient care. Although the hours may assist the student in discerning between the paths of physical therapy vs. other health care fields, no hours outside of physical therapy will count.
When is the deadline for application?
June 1st of every year with a new class beginning each Fall Semester.
Where can I learn more about physical therapy?
The American Physical Therapy Association (www.apta.org)
How do I sign up to take the TEAS?
Go to https://www.atitesting.com/Solutions/pre-program/TEAS.aspx and click on “Register for the TEAS V Test” then answer with the following information:

Program Type: TEAS for Allied Health > Country:USA > State: Georgia >

Then click Next and a list of dates/times will appear. You will need to register and pay the $70 fee for testing. May only test twice for the PTA program and repeat test must be scheduled at least 12 weeks apart.

The Health Sciences department is responsible for the information on this page.
To inquire about the Physical Therapist Assistant program, please contact Kerri Johnson, PT, DPT.
For questions regarding content, or for further information, please contact Dr. Kerri Johnson.

Last Update: September 14, 2015 1:34 PM

The Darton State College web site is maintained by the Technology Services Division.