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Darton State College Health Sciences Division | Physical Therapist Assistant - Frequently Asked Questions

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Physical Therapist Assistant

Frequently Asked Questions

“Can I choose my schedule and also choose how many courses I take during each semester?”
You may choose how many courses you take and when you take them while completing the core/prerequisite coursework. However, once in the program, the schedule is set and the coursework must be taken in sequence. You may not choose your days or times to fit your schedule. Attendance throughout the professional phase of the program is mandatory.
“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 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 4th/last semester the student must attend off-campus clinical rotations that require Monday thru Friday, 40-hours per week for 14 weeks, plus 2 additional weeks of coursework.
“Can I work and still go thru the program?”
Working while in the program is not advised due to the intense nature of the program. It is impossible to work a full-time job while in the program and rarely possible for a student to even work part-time. Each semester, the student will have long days in the classroom which will also require many hours of study outside of the classroom. In addition, 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 during class or clinical.
“How do I go about getting the required hours of observation?”
All applicants must complete a minimum of 40 hours of clinical observation by JUNE 1 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.

The hours must be documented and verified/signed by a PT or PTA. You may use the Observational Hours Form located in the PTA application or simply provide documentation used at the facility.
“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 physical therapy vs. other health care fields, no hours outside of physical therapy will count.
“What are the courses required for admission to the PTA program?”
The following courses are required prior to beginning the PTA program:
  • ENGL 1101 – Composition I
  • MATH 1111 – College Algebra (or a higher MATH is acceptable)
  • POLS 1101 – American Government
  • BIOL 2111K – Anatomy & Physiology I
  • BIOL 2112K – Anatomy & Physiology II
    • (Please note that BIOL 1100K is not acceptable for the PTA program)
  • BIOL 2115K – Essentials of Microbiology
  • PSYC 2103 – Human Growth & Development
  • One 3-credit course under Humanities & Fine Arts must be taken.
    • Must choose one course from: ART 1100, MUSC 1100, THEA 1100, FIAR 2250, ENGL 2111, ENGL 2112, ENGL 2121, ENGL 2122, ENGL 2131, ENGL 2132, and any Foreign Language course of 1002 or higher is acceptable. A communications course is not acceptable to meet this requirement.
“Will Darton accept transfer credits (i.e. courses) from other institutions?”
You may transfer credits from other institutions and in order to determine if your previous coursework is eligible for transfer, simply use the transfer equivalency link to see acceptable transfers/equivalencies: https://banner.darton.edu/pls/PROD/zwsktrna.P_find_state
“A course I took from a different college is not the same name as the one at Darton. How do I know if it is acceptable?”
In order to determine if your previous coursework is an acceptable equivalent, simply use the transfer equivalency link to see acceptable transfers/equivalencies: https://banner.darton.edu/pls/PROD/zwsktrna.P_find_state
“Can I still be in the process of completing the prerequisites at the time of application?”
Yes, a student may be enrolled in the course/s during the spring/summer when they apply. The prerequisite G.P.A. form located within the application must still be completed; however, the student simply leaves the grade blank and indicates the course is “in progress.”

Please note that even though the application is accepted, candidates that have all courses completed by the June 1 deadline are given precedence over those with incomplete applications. Therefore to be more competitive in the selective admissions process, a completed application is highly recommended.
“I already have a degree from another college; 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.
“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.
“What is the TEAS V that is required as part of the application process?”
The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS V), formerly HOBET V, from ATI is a multiple-choice assessment measuring basic academic preparedness in reading, math, science, English and language usage. The objectives assessed in the test are those that allied health educators deem most relevant for measuring entry level skills and abilities of program applicants.

The TEAS V exam is an important factor in the competitive selection process for Allied Health program applicants. There is no minimum set score that is acceptable to apply.
“How many times may I take the TEAS V for admission into the PTA program?”
Applicants may take the TEAS V (Allied Health) two times per year. However, there is a waiting period of 3 months between attempts. The most recent test results will be used for application.
“How do I sign up to take the test?”
When available, the information will be posted on the PTA webpage under TEAS V.
For more information, you may visit the ATI webpage https://www.atitesting.com/solutions/pre-program/teas.aspx
“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 State College PTA program are not used as such.
“Where can I learn more about physical therapy?”
The American Physical Therapy Association (www.apta.org)
Responsible Department: Health Sciences - Physical Therapist Assistant
Program Contact: Kerri Johnson, PT, DPT
Content Contact: Anthony Williams (web representative)
The Darton State College web site is maintained by the Technology Services Division.