2022-2023 Olympic College Catalog 
    Mar 20, 2023  
2022-2023 Olympic College Catalog

Physical Therapist Assistant - Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

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Olympic College offers a two-year curriculum designed to prepare graduates to be employed as Physical Therapist Assistants. The curriculum is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program utilizes a selective admission process to enroll 24 students annually. The deadline for application to the program is April 30th, for Fall Quarter admission.

The program offers a balance of general education courses, physical therapy theory, and physical therapist assistant practice. Students accepted into the program will complete 560 hours of clinical education as part of the professional curriculum. Following acceptance, the professional phase of the program can be completed in six consecutive quarters. PTA program courses require a minimum 2.7 grade point or above to progress in the program. Clinical education courses are pass/fail.

Graduates are prepared for immediate employment as physical therapist assistants (PTA) in various health care settings including hospitals, long-term care and skilled nursing facilities, private outpatient practice, school settings and home health. Students are prepared to take the national licensing examination for physical therapist assistants (NPTE).


  • Same tuition as other OC students;
  • Accuplacer Next Generation test prior to admission ($20 Accuplacer)

Additional Costs:

  • Laboratory fees (maximum $35/course);
  • PTA student malpractice and liability insurance;
  • Proof of health insurance;
  • NPTE and WA State licensure exam fees;
  • Washington State Patrol (WSP) background check ($10)
  • Transportation to and from clinical facilities not located on campus.

Admission Requirements

Completion of Prerequisite Courses with a 2.0 grade or higher in each course: BIOL& 175  or BIOL& 241 /BIOL& 242 *, and CHEM& 121  or PHYS 110  .

Note: Either BIOL& 175 , PHYS 110 , CHEM& 121 , or BIOL& 242  may be taken in spring quarter of the year the student anticipates entry to the PTA program. Such applicants may receive a ‘provisional admission’ if they have met all other requirements and have an adequate number of factor points. A grade of 2.0 or higher must be achieved or the provisional admission will be revoked.

Reading Comprehension level score on the Accuplacer Next Generation reading comprehension test. a score of 260 or higher must be achieved. Students with a previous Bachelor level degree or higher from an accredited college are not required to take the Accuplacer assessment.

Completion of Required Support Courses, with a required grade of 2.0 or higher, is recommended: PSYC& 100 , MATH 099  (or higher), and ENGL& 101 .

Note: Support courses must be complete by the end of the spring session of the first year of the program.

Completion of 40 Total Hours of observation in at least two different physical therapy facilities. Hours must be documented on the Observation/Work Verification form.

*To meet graduation requirements, all prerequisite science courses must have been completed no more than ten years prior to admission to the PTA program. If completion of the specified courses exceeds the time limit, the student may repeat the course(s) or challenge the course content through the Excelsior College Examination.

All first-time applicants are restricted in the number of retakes for prerequisites and required support courses. For the purpose of factoring, if an applicant has retaken a course multiple times, only the second attempt will be considered.


Former Olympic College PTA students must submit a PTA application for admission and all credential requirements to be eligible to re-enroll. Upon the first academic or voluntary withdrawal, a student is granted priority for readmission the following year, but must reapply to the program. Students with a second academic or voluntary withdrawal must reapply as a first year (new) student.

Program Outcomes

Olympic College Physical Therapist Assistant Program graduates will:

  1. Demonstrate occupational skills necessary to obtain employment as a physical therapist assistant. Outcome:  90% of the graduates will be employed as physical therapist assistants within 6 months after program graduation from Olympic College.
  2. Function under the supervision of the physical therapist in a safe, legal, ethical, and effective manner.  Outcome: 90% of the employers of Olympic College physical therapist assistants will report via satisfaction survey that the Olympic College graduates provide competent, safe, legal and effective care to a diverse client base one year after hire date.
  3. Demonstrate professional behavior, diversity, and communication skills necessary to effectively interact with clients and family members, members of the health care team, and other professional colleagues. Outcome: 90% of the clinical instructors of Olympic College physical therapist assistant students will report that OC students demonstrate entry level ratings for communication skills with clients, families, and other health care team members by the end of the final clinical internship.
  4. Demonstrate critical problem solving and incorporate knowledge of basic sciences, basic patient care skills, assessment techniques and application of treatment and to assist the supervising physical therapist in monitoring and modifying plan of care within the knowledge and limits of practice.  Outcome: 100% of Olympic College PTA graduates will score at or above entry level using the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) upon the last clinical internship.
  5. Identify career development and lifelong learning opportunities. Outcome: Eighty percent (80%) of Olympic College PTA graduates will report they contributed to the advancement of the profession through a participation in continuing education programs, teaching, research, or serving in professional or community organizations concerned with health care within the first year after graduation. 
  6. Demonstrate academic and clinical knowledge necessary to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for physical therapist assistants.  Outcome:  90% of program graduates will receive a passing score on the NPTE for physical therapist assistants within six months after program graduation from Olympic College.


Required Courses (111.5 - 118.5 Credits)


Students must choose one of the two designated prerequisite pathways.

Program Courses (85.5 Credits)

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