Program Information

What Does a Physical Therapist Assistant Do?

A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) works as a member of a healthcare team that provides direct patient care. PTAs work under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist to provide hands-on treatment of patients to relieve pain and improve function. Various therapeutic modes of treatment may be utilized, including heat, cold, light, water, electricity, sound, massage, and exercise.

About the Program

The Physical Therapist Assistant program is a 74-credit-hour Associate in Science degree program designed as an integrated 2-year model. There are 29 credit hours of program core courses, including 17 credit hours of general education. Included in the professional courses are three clinical experiences. Graduation from the program qualifies the student for examination for licensure by the Florida Board of Physical Therapy.

Class Size

A new cohort of 24 students is accepted and begins the program each fall semester. Students seeking admission must first be admitted to the College and complete all prerequisite courses, 10 observation hours, and submit an application to the program during the application period (applying to the program does not guarantee acceptance into the program).


The program has developed a list of core standards each student is expected to demonstrate. It is the responsibility of program applicants and those offered admission to the program to carefully review the essential requirements and ask questions if not familiar with the standards and skills listed. The following link represents reasonable expectations for the student enrolled in the PTA Program at Polk State College. If a student cannot demonstrate the following standards and skills without accommodation, it is the responsibility of the student to request appropriate accommodation from the coordinator for the Office of Disability Services.


Program Mission

The mission of Polk State College’s PTA Program is to provide students access to an affordable degree and to graduate students with the knowledge, clinical competency, and behaviors required of entry-level physical therapist assistants. The program will provide education and resources to prepare graduates to deliver evidence-based practice and patient-centered care within their scope of practice under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. Graduates will have a positive impact on the physical therapy profession and demonstrate dedication to lifelong learning.



      1. Graduates will provide patient-centered, evidence-based care in the physical therapy profession.
      2. Graduates will practice within their scope of practice under the direction of a licensed PT and follow the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.
      3. Graduates will pursue lifelong learning opportunities in the physical therapy field.


      1. The faculty of the program will provide up-to-date and evidenced-based education to facilitate student success.
      2. The faculty will act as positive role models and advocates of the physical therapy profession enhancing the student experience.


      1. The program will provide students with the resources and accessibility to succeed in the program and in the profession.
      2. The program will provide a curriculum consistent with contemporary practice.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the PTA Program sequence, the graduate is expected to be able to:

      1. Communicate effectively with all stakeholders using written, verbal, and nonverbal mechanisms.
      2. Provide safe, ethical, patient-centered care with consideration for patients’ differences, values, and preferences in all work-related activities, as consistent with the APTA Guide for Conduct of the Physical Therapist Assistant and APTA’s Core Values for the Physical Therapist Assistant.
      3. Use effective clinical judgment to implement the plan of care established by the physical therapist.
      4. Utilize appropriate evidence-based resources to support clinical decision-making.
      5. Describe and participate in aspects of organizational planning and operation within the physical therapy service facility.
      6. Exhibit professional conduct that reflects a commitment to the profession, an interest in career development, and the desire for lifelong learning in support of continued competency.


The following are estimated costsfor a resident of Florida to complete the PTA Program. These costs are subject to change without notice.

PTA Program Estimated Costs*

*Estimated costs based on tuition in 2020-2021.


PTA courses consist of a total of 57 credit hours, 13 of which are clinical practice in community clinical sites.


All states require licensure for physical therapist assistants to practice; issuance of state licenses is based on passing the Florida Board of Physical Therapy Practice (FSBPT) licensing examination. Graduates need to apply for Florida licensure and to take the licensure exam upon graduation from the PTA Program. Any licensure questions can be addressed by contacting  FSBPT at:

Department of Health Board of Physical Therapy
4052 Bald Cypress Way, BIN C-05
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3255
Telephone: 850.245.4373
Fax: 850.414.6860


According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for physical therapist assistants in 2022 was $62,770 per year.