The program outcomes were developed, using the Normative Model for Physical Therapist Assistant Education (2006) as reference. The program outcomes outline the terminal behaviors expected from each student when completing the program sequence. The following program outcomes were developed to support the missions of the institution and the program, and to meet the educational standards set by the American Physical Therapy Association and CAPTE.

Upon completion of the program sequence, students are expected to be able to demonstrate the following:

  1. Communication: Communicates verbally and non-verbally with the patient, the PT, health care delivery personnel, and others in an effective, appropriate, and capable manner.
  2. Individual and cultural differences: The student demonstrates an understanding of the major differences between individuals and cultures with sensitivity.
  3. Behavior and Conduct: Exhibits conduct that reflects a commitment to meet or exceed the expectations of members of society and the profession.
  4.  Clinical Problem Solving and Judgments: Demonstrates clinical problem solving skills and professional judgment.
  5.  Education: Instructs aides, volunteers, peers, and coworkers using established techniques, programs, and instructional materials commensurate with the learning characteristics of the audience.
  6. Data Collection: Demonstrates competence in performing specific data-collection techniques as delegated by the supervising PT.
  7. Plan of Care: Understands the plan of care written for the individual patient and implements delegated interventions to achieve the short- and long-term goals and outcomes identified in the plan of care.
  8. Intervention: Implements the delegated inventions within the plan of care established by the PT, monitor the patient’s response, and responds accordingly.
  9. Outcomes Measurements and Evaluation: Uses data collection and communication to participate in determining a patient’s progress toward specific outcomes as established in the plan of care by the PT.
  10. Health Care Delivery Systems: Provides services under the direction of the PT in primary, secondary, and tertiary settings.
  11. Administration: Supervises the physical therapy aide in patient-related activities as delegated to the aide by the PT and in non-patient care activities, as defined by the policies and procedures of the practice setting.
  12. Social Responsibility: Demonstrates social responsibility, citizenship, and advocacy, including participation in community and service organizations and activities.
  13. Career Development: Participates in career development based on self-assessment, performance appraisals, work setting, and special interest.

Curricular Threads

Nine professional competencies necessary for a successful career in PTA were identified and incorporated into the curriculum as conceptual threads. These threads support the program outcomes and provide a cohesive presentation of content within the technical courses. The nine conceptual threads include the following:

  1. Structure and function of the human body
  2. Normal and abnormal conditions across life span
  3. Logical and critical thinking
  4. PT theory and practice
  5. Professional roles and behaviors
  6. Patient screening and data collection
  7. Treatment interventions and implementation
  8. Written, oral, and non-verbal communication
  9. Management of PT services