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Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

Our Program   How to Apply    Background Preparation    Clinical Experience    Faculty  Program Outcomes  Job Outlook

Physical Therapist Assistant

Become a Physical Therapist Assistant. A physical therapist assistant (PTA) uses a variety of equipment and exercise to help people with conditions limiting their ability to move and perform activities. As a PTA, you’ll work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.

Our Program

Our five-semester associate degree program includes classroom instruction, practice in skills lab and clinical experience. You’ll learn the art and science of therapy treatment. You’ll have the knowledge, skill, and attitudes needed to help physical therapists provide treatment to improve and restore mobility, relieve pain and prevent or lessen physical disabilities.

Graduates are eligible to sit for the Physical Therapist Assistant National Physical Therapy Exam.  Licensure is required in Iowa and most states.

Once you successfully complete this program, you have the opportunity to advance into the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration or Health Science degree programs at Mercy College.

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How to Apply

We accept 14 students into the PTA program each fall semester. Applications to the PTA  program must be received by the Office of Admissions by June 15. Your admission into this program is on a competitive basis, so early application is encouraged. Following general College admission, students may enroll in Liberal Arts and Science (LAS) courses in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences prior to admission into the PTA program.

Background Preparation

You need to successfully complete high school (or college equivalent) algebra I, biology, English and physics coursework before admission. Students are encouraged to take LAS courses at Mercy College to meet any unmet program requirements above.

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Clinical Experience

You will experience direct patient contact during your clinical experience at Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates. You will also receive clinical education at many other leading health care providers in central Iowa to gain hands-on learning throughout your course of study.


Our PTA team includes a full-time program chair and an instructor as well as many licensed physical therapists and licensed physical therapist assistants. As a student, you will receive an exceptional level of personalized instruction.

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Program Outcomes

Outcomes are reported using a three-year average from 2010-2012.

  • Graduation rate: 62%
  • Licensure examination pass rate:  91.30%
  • Employment rate within 6 months of passing the licensure examination: 100%

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Job Outlook

Once you have completed your PTA degree and passed the licensure examination, you’ll have the knowledge and experience needed to become qualified for employment as an entry-level physical therapist assistant. Job prospects for physical therapist assistants are expected to be very good as consumer demand increases. For more details and statistics about specific roles and job opportunities go to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

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