Physical Therapist Assistant (AAS)
A healthcare field on the move.
- Available as
- Associate of Applied Science
- 2 years
- Fort Wayne
Why Become a PTA?
Physical therapy changes lives. It promotes healing and brings comfort; it helps people to regain independence or achieve health and fitness goals. Witnessing these physical changes in patients — seeing the effects of your care — makes working in this field incredibly rewarding.
With an associate degree and certification, you can begin a career as a physical therapy assistant. Often referred to as PTAs, these professionals provide a range of patient care services under the direct supervision of a physical therapist (PT).
PTAs are in extremely high demand.
Physical therapist assistant lands at #7 on the U.S. Department of Labor’s 20 Fastest Growing Occupations list for 2019-2029.
Median annual salary for physical therapist assistants
Expected increase in physical therapist assistant positions from 2022 to 2032 (much faster than average for all occupations)
Number of jobs for physical therapist assistants in the U.S. in 2022
Why Saint Francis for Physical Therapist Assistant?
The University of Saint Francis is recognized as a leader in health sciences education around our region and beyond. Our strong academics and skilled faculty prepare future healthcare professionals for the practical aspects of the job, while our deeply held Franciscan values prepare our students to practice compassionate patient care.
As you explore physical therapy assistant schools, be mindful that licensing and certification boards require degrees from accredited PTA programs; Saint Francis is proudly accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Hands-On Learning: Four Clinical Rotations
In a field as hands-on as physical therapy, practical experience is critical — and you’ll get plenty of it at Saint Francis. Starting in your first semester, you’ll learn by doing: performing tests, taking measurements, making observations and practicing other real-world PTA tasks.
Then you’ll bring that knowledge to your four clinical rotations:
- Acute patient care/in-patient care
- Out-patient care
- Skilled nursing
The fourth rotation can be a subspeciality of your choice, such as:
- Home health
Saint Francis has more than 100 clinical site partners throughout Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and beyond; we’ll help you find the options that best fit your schedule, location and career goals.
“My favorite part about the Physical Therapist Assistant program at USF was the quality education alongside diverse outside clinical experiences. Seeing what was learned in class be put into real-life experiences helped to fortify my desire to be in this career path.”Katie Melcher ’23 Physical Therapist Assistant at Steppin’ Up Physical Therapy
“The Saint Francis PTA program offers a variety of hands-on learning experiences to prepare us well to go into the field. From countless hands-on lab hours, access to an array of equipment, guest speakers, simulation labs and the variety clinical settings that the program allows us to be in, I felt prepared to enter both the inpatient and outpatient settings as a clinician upon graduation and passing the boards.”Savannah Norwood ’23 Physical Therapist Assistant at Jackson Hospital (inpatient) and Rehab Associates (outpatient) in Montgomery, Alabama
“The PTA Program here at USF places their students in a position to succeed. The combination of engaging professors and clinical experiences led me to feel prepared to take my first job!”Colin Hahn ’22 Physical Therapist Assistant (prn) at Community Memorial Hospital in Hicksville, Ohio
Expert Faculty and Innovative Facilities
You will spend a lot of time in the Doermer Center for Health Science Education, a state-of-the-art facility with specialized laboratories, research spaces, and collaborative work areas. The Saint Francis Simulation Laboratory — SIM Lab for short — is home to life-like simulators that allow you to work with “blinking, breathing” patients in a safe, non-threatening environment.
As a PTA student, you’ll work through real-world scenarios and health challenges with your classmates in our physical therapist assistant labs. You’ll be guided by expert faculty members, many of whom are practicing PTs, PTAs and other health professionals; they bring valuable real-world experience — and professional connections — to our program.
Campus and Community
You can get involved on campus and serve others through campus ministries, student groups, and service-learning projects. Of special interest to physical therapist assistant majors might be:
- PTAs in Motion
- Intramural sports (a range of options!)
What Can You Do With a Degree in Physical Therapy Assistant Studies?
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, most PTAs work in hospitals. However, you can assist PTs and care for patients in a range of other settings, including:
- Outpatient surgery centers
- Private PT practice
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Social service organizations
- School districts
Before they become PTAs, some of our current students or graduates first gain experience as physical therapy aides.
Where You’ll Find Our Graduates
Saint Francis physical therapist assistant graduates are using their skills and knowledge to make a difference at places like:
- American Senior Communities
- Athletico Physical Therapy
- ATO Physical Therapy
- Bona Vista Programs
- DeKalb County Eastern School District
- Hand in Hand Comprehensive Therapy Specialists, Inc.
- Heritage Park
- Indiana Physical Therapy
- Lutheran Health Network
- Parkview Health
- Partners in Autism
- Steppin’ Up Physical Therapy
- Wellbrooke of Wabash
Beyond PTA Programs: Graduate School and DPT Opportunities
Many Saint Francis students use their PTA education and experience as a stepping stone toward a bachelor’s degree. Some go on to pursue a health-related master’s degree or even a doctorate in physical therapy (DPT). On the list of stops after Saint Francis for physical therapy assistant, schools include:
- Briar Cliff University
- Indiana Institute of Technology
- Indiana State University
- Indiana Northwest University
- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
- James A. Rhodes State College
- Manchester College
- Midwestern University
- Trine University
- University of Evansville
- University of South Florida
- Vincennes University
Learn more about what makes life at Saint Francis so special.
Call 260-399-7700, ext. 6916 for additional program information.
To reach Mark Fransen, PTA program director, call 260-399-7700, ext. 8548 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at the University of Saint Francis is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100
Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085
View the Financial Fact Sheet below:
2-Year Graduation Rate* Average: 80%
|Class of 2021
|Class of 2022
2-Year Employment Rate (those seeking employment)**: 97%
|Class of 2021
|Class of 2022
2-Year Licensure Pass Rate***: 76%
|12/18 – 66.7%
|15/18 – 83%
|11/19 – 57.9%
|16/19 – 84%
* Graduation rate is defined by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) Graduation Rate: The percentage of students who are matriculated in the first technical course in the program after the add/drop period and who complete the program.
** Employment Rate: The percentage of graduates who sought employment that were employed (full-time or part-time) as a physical therapist assistant within 1 year following graduation.
*** The source for the program First -Time and Ultimate Pass Rate for the 2019 and 2020 classes is the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).