Physical Therapist Assistant AS Degree Program

Physical Therapist Assistant
Programs: AS-25540
As an integrated two-year curriculum, the program offers the students the opportunity to earn an Associate of Science degree with immediate entry into a rewarding career upon successful completion of the licensure exam.

What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

The PTA Program prepares students for careers as members of the health care team who provide direct patient care under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist. The PTA provides treatment to patients with various diagnoses to relieve pain and/or improve function via therapeutic application of heat, cold, light, water, electricity, sound, massage, exercise, gait, and functional activity.

Polk State’s Vision for the PTA Program

Polk State College’s Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program will be the number one program of its kind through innovation, value, and engagement. Its graduates will be the top choice for employers to hire and the program will be recognized for its excellence.

Our Mission

The mission of Polk State College’s PTA Program is to graduate students with the knowledge, clinical competency, and integrity to positively impact their patients, the physical therapy profession, and to transform their lives. The program provides students access to an affordable degree with immediate entry into a rewarding career upon successful completion of the licensure exam.

Our Philosophy

The following philosophy reflects the beliefs of the academic and clinical faculty and Advisory Committee of Polk State College’s PTA Program.

Role of the Physical Therapist Assistant: The physical therapist assistant is an active participant of the health care team and provides direct patient care under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. The physical therapist assistant may be employed in a variety of settings in which his or her role is to actively assist the physical therapist in the treatment of patients with various injuries, diseases, and functional limitations. The physical therapist assistant is involved in promoting awareness of the profession and an interdisciplinary approach to health through education of the patient, family, and community.

Conduct: The physical therapist assistant adheres to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct set forth by the American Physical Therapy Association and abides by the laws set forth by the Florida State Board of Physical Therapy Practice. The program is committed to instilling in its students a sense of professionalism and pride in clinical excellence.

Equal Access/Equal Opportunity: Polk State College’s PTA Program supports cross-cultural diversification within the program and profession and advocates equal opportunity for all students regardless of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, genetic information, disability*,  or pregnancy.

*Keeping in mind patient and therapist safety issues, the PTA Program has adopted a list of core performance standards that address cognitive, sensory, affective, and psychomotor performance requirements for the program, which are detailed in the “PTA Program Core Performance Standards.”

Community: The PTA program is dedicated to utilizing community resources and values active input from the community it serves. The clinical component of the program will provide a variety of clinical experiences both within and outside of the community in order to broaden vocational options and enhance students’ personal, social, cultural, and intellectual growth.

Education Pursuit: The program adheres to the belief that education is a lifelong pursuit and that continuing education is essential for professional development.

Accreditation

On April 27, 2021, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) placed the program on temporary Probationary Accreditation status due to two out of eight Standards/Required Elements being out of compliance. A compliance report was submitted to CAPTE on September 3, 2021.  On December 2, 2021, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education placed the program on Show Cause – Continue Probationary Accreditation.

Show Cause is a notice of impending Withdrawal of Accreditation if evidence of sufficient improvement is not submitted prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of CAPTE. Probationary accreditation indicates that there are conditions of the program that place the program’s accreditation in jeopardy and provides notice to the program and the public that if the program does not address the identified conditions, accreditation will be withdrawn.  CAPTE’s decision to Show Cause and Continue Probationary Accreditation is based on clear evidence of continuing circumstances that jeopardize the ability of the institution to sustain an accredited program as well as the program’s inability to demonstrate compliance with the Standards and Required Elements. The program was found to be out of compliance with the following element(s): 1C2, 4A, 4D, 4G.

The College takes this situation very seriously and it is confident in meeting all CAPTE accreditation standards. Polk State’s PTA Program was created consistent with those standards when it first received accreditation in 1996. Polk State’s accreditation history can be viewed on the CAPTE website: www.capteonline.org.

Polk State is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure ongoing accreditation for this program. The College has hired a new Program Director who began on June 1, 2021 and a new Clinical Coordinator who began on July 15, 2021. The program director and clinical coordinator are making numerous program modifications to enhance the curriculum and to prepare students for the licensure exam. Polk State will continue to provide students with the high-quality education and training required to become a licensed, practicing physical therapist assistant.

What does this mean for the Polk State Physical Therapist Assistant Program?  Polk State’s PTA Program remains accredited. Polk State is committed to demonstrating and maintaining compliance with the standards of CAPTE and is confident that the corrective measures being implemented will lead to removal of the probationary status.

The decision to place a program on probation may not be appealed. The program has been asked to file a Compliance Report due March 1, 2022 that addresses the issues identified by the Commission. The Commission will review the Compliance Report at its April 22-26, 2022 meeting. Upon review of the report, the Commission may remove probation if the report satisfies the Commission’s concerns, or continue probation if the report satisfies some but not all of the Commission’s concerns, or withdraw accreditation if the report does not satisfy the Commission’s concerns and the Commission believes that the program is not making a good cause effort to do so.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Polk State College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703.706.3245; email: accrediation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org. The program’s current status is probationary accreditation; for more information see www.capteonline.org/WhatWeDo/RecentActions/PublicDisclosureNotices. The Polk State PTA Program can be contacted by calling 863.297.1010 x5751 or emailing pta@polk.edu.

If you need to contact the program directly, please contact:

Mary Krell, MPT
Program Director, Physical Therapist Assistant
Phone: 863.669.2904
Internal Extension: 5751
Email: mkrell@polk.edu

Regina Tino, CCI
Coordinator, Clinical Education, Physical Therapist Assistant
Phone: 863.669.2906
Internal Extension: 5754
Email: rtino@polk.edu

Accredited status was achieved on May 2, 2012.