Degrees and Programs

Physical Therapist Assistant

Program Information

Physical Therapist Assistant

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at Northeast will prepare students to work as valuable healthcare providers who are employable in any physical therapy setting. The program is an intense, academically challenging program that requires hard work and dedication. Engaged teaching and learning experiences promote an interactive learning environment in both lab and lecture. Students are trained with current technology and innovative exercise equipment to simulate realistic clinical settings. In order to complete the training, students must be able to perform the PTA Essential Functions and Physical Demands. Additionally, students are required to complete a physical exam, required vaccinations, tuberculosis test, a criminal background check, and a drug screen in order to perform clinical experiences during the second year of the program. Program graduates will be well prepared to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program Statistics

Enrollment in the program is limited and based on a selective admissions process. Details for applying to the program can be found on the PTA Application page.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Northeast Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 402-844-7326 or email .

Career Information

Physical Therapist Assistant

What is a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)?

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), “physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are the only licensed/ certified health care providers that deliver physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of physical therapists (PTs) as part of the PT/ PTA team. PTAs are responsible for providing, progressing, and, where appropriate, modifying physical therapy interventions to maximize patient/ client safety, comfort, and response within the plan of care established by the supervising physical therapist. PTAs are clinical decision makers who use data collection methods to measure the patient’s response to the interventions provided. Additionally, PTAs use value-based behaviors in carrying out the plan of care, including communication with the supervising physical therapist regarding patient status, treatment outcomes, and any other information that may impact the plan of care. PTAs are graduates of Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited PTA education programs and must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination-PTA as a minimum requirement for licensure/ certification in all jurisdictions. PTAs comply with all legal requirements of jurisdictions regulating the practice of physical therapy and with the American Physical Therapy Association’s Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant.”

Pagliarulo, M. A. (2016). Introduction to Physical Therapy - fifth edition, page 44. St. Louis: Elsevier.

Where do PTAs work?

“Physical therapist assistants provide care for people in a variety of setting, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.”

APTA. (2016, 4 15). Role of a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)

How does a PTA become certified?

Upon successful completion of an accredited PTA program, graduates are eligible to take that National Physical Therapy Examination-PTA (NPTE). Graduates will also be required to complete a state law examination specific to the state in which they choose to practice. A licensed/ certified PTA may gain advanced proficiency in a selected area of work. The Advanced Proficiency Pathways (APP) program increases the “PTAs’ knowledge and skill in a chosen area of physical therapy. Content areas are Acute Care, Cardiovascular/ Pulmonary, Geriatrics, Oncology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, and Wound Management. Additional content areas will be added as they are completed."

APTA. (2016, 12 12). PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways (APP).

What is the national job outlook?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of physical therapist assistants is projected to grow 40 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is above average compared to other occupations. The demand for physical therapy services is expected to increase in response to the healthcare needs of an older population and individuals with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.”

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016, 3 30). Occupational Employment Statistics.

Salary Information

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national mean pay for all physical therapist assistants was $55,250 per year, and $26.56 per hour in 2015. In Nebraska, the annual mean pay for all physical therapist assistants was $49,750 per year, and $23.92 per hour.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016, 3 30). Occupational Employment Statistics.

Northeast Community College PTA graduates of 2015 earned an average starting wage of $19.75 per hour for first time employment positions, according to the Graduates Employment Report.

Northeast Graduate Employment Report.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the national median salary for physical therapist assistants is $53,360.

Courses and Program Options

Physical Therapist Assistant

You have one option available when enrolling in this program of study.