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Physical Therapist Assistant

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Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) work under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist. PTA's perform various physical therapy services specified in the plan of care developed by the Physical Therapist. These services include data collection, treating patients with exercise and other treatment procedures, administering physical agents/modalities, and reporting patient responses to the Physical Therapist. The 72-credit curriculum consists of: basic science coursework, technical coursework, including laboratory activities and practice, and clinical education experiences in a variety of healthcare settings.

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Program Accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Northland Community and Technical College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virgina 22314; telphone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:

Program Accreditation

College Accreditation

Northland Community & Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Program Specific Requirements

1. Completion of the admissions application to NCTC.
2. Completion of the PTA Program Application.
3. 40 hours of volunteer, observation or work experience in a physical therapy department (Documented on the Clinical Observation Form).
4. All required developmental courses must be completed before applying to the PTA program.
5. TEAS V for Allied Health (AH) adjusted individual total score of at least 50%. FAQ about TEAS V for AH and program admissions.
6. Current CPR certification. CPR for Health Care Providers (American Heart Association) or CPR for the Professional Rescuer (Red Cross) prior to enrollment in PTAS1120.
7. All required courses for the program must be completed with a grade of C or better.
8. Completion of the College Health Screening & Immunization form prior to enrollment in PTAS1120.
9. Completion and approval for clinical participation of the Minnesota Department of Humans Services Licensing Division Background Study prior to entering PTAS 1120. Completion and approval for clinical participation of a National Background Study through Verified Credentials cost $50.


  • Health and Human Services students must comply with both Minnesota law and clinical facility requirements related to immunizations and background screenings.
  • Students who do not comply with the required health and immunization requirements may not be permitted to attend clinical which WILL affect program progression and completion.

Program Course Listings

Required Courses

Course # Course Name Credits
HLTH 1106 Medical Terminology 2 credits
PTAS 1101 Introduction to PTA 3 credits
PTAS 1105 Fundamentals of PTA 4 credits
PTAS 1108 PTA Pathophysiology 2 credits
PTAS 1110 Physical Agents 4 credits
PTAS 1114 Clinical Kinesiology 3 credits
PTAS 1116 Therapeutic Exercise I 2 credits
PTAS 1120 Clinical Introduction 1 credits
PTAS 1130 Clinical Education I 4 credits
PTAS 2101 Orthopedics for PTA 2 credits
PTAS 2105 Neurology for PTA 5 credits
PTAS 2111 Therapeutic Exercise II 3 credits
PTAS 2115 Advanced Techniques 4 credits
PTAS 2125 PTA Ethics and Issues 2 credits
PTAS 2140 Clinical Education II 5 credits
PTAS 2150 Clinical Education III 5 credits
PTAS 2160 Professional Integration 3 credits
BIOL 2252 Anatomy & Phys I 3 credits
BIOL 2254 Anatomy & Phys II 3 credits
ENGL 1111 Composition I 3 credits
PSYC 1105 Intro to Psychology 3 credits
  G1:Communication Elec ( *See Elective Options Listed Below ) 3 credits
  G4: Math/Logical Elective ( *See Elective Options Listed Below ) 3 credits
TOTAL CREDITS: 72 credits

Program Specific Elective Course Options


Electives for this program may be selected from the following list of courses below. Need help? Schedule an appointment with a Northland Academic Advisor for assistance in selecting courses.

Course # Course Name Credits
Communications Electives
SPCH 1101Intro to Public Speaking 3 credits
SPCH 1103Interpersonal Communicati 3 credits

Math/Logical Reasoning Electives

MATH 1102Contemporary Math 3 credits
MATH 1106Trigonometry 2 credits
MATH 1110College Algebra 3 credits
MATH 1113Pre-Calculus 5 credits
MATH 1131Applied Calculus 3 credits
MATH 2203Statistics 4 credits
MATH 2231Calculus I 4 credits
MATH 2232Calculus II 4 credits
MATH 2233Calculus III 4 credits

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Program Learner Outcomes

1. Student will work under the supervision of a physical therapist in an ethical, legal, safe, and effective manner.
2. Student will implement a comprehensive treatment plan developed by a physical therapist promoting optimal outcomes for patients.
3. Student will integrate related concepts and theories of liberal arts and basic science with physical therapy knowledge and practice.
4. Student will demonstrate effective oral, written, and nonverbal communication in a culturally competent manner with patients and their families, colleagues, other health care providers, and the public.
5. Student will interact skillfully with patients across the life span.
6. Student will demonstrate a commitment to professional growth and life-long learning.

Employment Outlook & Opportunities

Northland Career Center

Job Openings

Counselors are available in the Career Center to assist with career advising, job search resources, employer connections, occupational descriptions, employment outlook, earnings, education/training requirements and sources.

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PTA's are employed in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, physical therapy clinics, rehabilitation centers, pediatric facilities, home health agencies, schools, and long-term care facilities.

The employment outlook for graduates of the Physical Therapist Assistant program is excellent. From 2008-2018 there is a projected 33% increase in employment for PTA's nationwide. The median income for PTA's was $46,140 in 2008.

The employment outlook for physical therapist assistants in the state of Minnesota from 2010 to 2020 is 34.5%, a very high growth career.

Program Faculty

East Grand Forks Campus

  • Justin Berry
  • Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director
  • (218) 793-2565
  • Shelley Koerber
  • Physical Therapist Assistant Instructor
  • (218) 793-2598