Admission to the
Physical Therapist Assistant Program
: Program Entrance Requirements
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program is a limited entry program. Admission to
the University does not guarantee formal admission to the Technical phase of the Physical
Therapist Assistant Program. For students seeking program readmission, please see the last page of this document. The following steps must be followed for
admission to the Pre-Technical phase (Pre-PTA status) of the Physical Therapist Assistant
Step 1 Admission to PennWest California in Pre-PTA (Major Code 9601).
Step 2 Sit for University Placement tests. As required by the results, complete all developmental
courses with a grade of C or better as needed. [Note: a student who needs to complete
developmental courses may be delayed in entry and/or application into the Pre-Technical
Phase of the Program].
Step 3 If transferring in courses, please consult with a PTA academic advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) to assure your fall schedule is accurate.
During the first week of the Fall semester, attend the mandatory orientation meeting. Typically, this meeting is the first Tuesday or Thursday at 11:00.
Formal admission into the Technical phase of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program
occurs at the completion of the fall semester. This admission is competitive, as
a maximum of 26 students will be admitted into the Technical phase, which will commence
with the subsequent spring term. Students may meet or exceed all of the admissions
criteria and not be formally admitted into the Technical phase due to program size
limitations. A maximum of 26 students will be selected based upon the students’ GPA
in the Pre-Technical phase courses which includes the following:
- PTA 100, Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant (C minimum)
- PTA 101, Basic Physical Therapy Procedures (C minimum)
- HSC 110, Human Anatomy and Physiology I ([B-] minimum).
- CDC 101, Public Speaking
- PSY 100, General Psychology
- UNI 100, First Year Seminar
The minimum acceptable QPA to qualify for ranking is 2.75 in the courses listed above.
If a student meets the minimum 2.75 QPA as well as the minimum grades listed above,
the student is eligible for ranking. Admittance is granted only to the top 26 students
being ranked. Students will be informed of their admissions status within thirty (30)
days of the completion of the fall semester courses in the Pre-Technical phase. Additionally,
students must provide evidence of the following to be admitted to the Technical phase:
- Verification of 10 hours of shadowing in a physical therapy setting.
- Verification of current CPR (adult BLS with AED) certification. Please note that there is a CPR course available for students to take on campus during
the Fall semester to complete this requirement. The cost is approximately $15.
Once a student is formally admitted into the Technical Phase of the Program the student
must provide evidence of all of the following for successful clinical placement:
- Verification of Act 33 (Pennsylvania Child Abuse History), Act 34 (Pennsylvania State
Police Criminal Record), and Act 114 (FBI Federal History Record) clearances. The total cost of clearances is currently $47.50.
- Evidence of physical and emotional health as indicated by submission of a University
Medical Information Form completed by a licensed physician including current immunization
records for DTP, MMR I, MMR II, Hepatitis B vaccine series (3 doses), and chicken
pox titer or history of the disease.
- Evidence of Tuberculin skin test (2-step PPD by mantoux method) during the semesters
prior to clinical internships. Students will have the option of obtaining the 2-step PPD test on campus in the Spring
semester at the University Health Center for a cost of approximately $20.
- Students also may be asked to take a drug screening test prior to clinical placement
if required by the clinical internship site. The test will be arranged by the clinical
internship site requesting the test. Any associated cost incurred for drug testing
is the sole responsibility of the student. (Cost varies per facility but typically
ranges from $35-$75).
- Students must provide evidence of professional liability insurance prior to receiving
a clinical assignment in PTA 150, Physical Therapy Clinical Internship I (currently
a $15 fee). This is arranged by the Academic Clinical Coordinator of Education.
***Academic Requirement for Continued Placement in the Technical Phase***
Students are required to maintain a B- or higher in all Technical Phase PTA coursework
to remain in good academic standing in the PTA Program. In addition, at the end of
the Spring semester, students are required to pass two benchmark criteria to remain
in the Technical Phase of the program: Qualifying Examination and Interview.
Students will be required to take a written Qualifying Examination which will test
the students’ knowledge of content taught in previous and concurrent PTA and HSC coursework.
The Qualifying Examination is designed to be a rigorous test of the students’ academic
knowledge and problem-solving skills to assure that the student is competent to achieve
continued success within the program. Students must successfully pass the Qualifying
Examination with a score of 80% or better. If a student does not meet the 80% benchmark
but scores a 70% or higher, the student will be asked to engage in remediation and
take a new Qualifying Examination within the Spring semester. Students scoring below
70% on the first attempt will not be offered a re-take and will be dismissed from
the Technical Phase of the Program.
Students will complete an interview with members of the PTA Advisory Committee. Students
will be provided with the interview score sheet at the beginning of the Spring semester
to provide adequate time for students to prepare for the interview. The purpose of
the interview is to assure that students are competent in verbal and non-verbal communication
and self-reflection of strengths/weaknesses. Additionally during the interview, students
will be required to demonstrate knowledge of the role of the PTA, convey strong rationale
of why PTA is their career choice, and provide evidence of campus/community service.
Students must successfully pass the interview to continue with program.
In summary, students need to earn an 80% on the Qualifying Examination and PASS the
interview to continue with the Technical Phase of the PTA program. If a student does
not meet these benchmarks, the student will be dismissed from the Technical Phase
of the Program. Dismissed students due to subpar performance on the Qualifying Exam
or interview are eligible to re-apply to the Technical Phase of the program at a maximum
of one time.
Special Notice for Transfer Students:
PennWest California students may apply for entrance to the Pre-Technical PTA program
in the Department of Health Science simply by completing the standard PennWest California
change of major form and indicating Physical Therapist Assistant as their intended
major. These internal transfer students must have an overall quality point average
of 2.50 at PennWest California to meet College of Education and Human Services guidelines
and they must have completed all developmental courses. Students are encouraged to
meet with a PTA Advisor to explain the requirements and admission standards.
Students from other colleges and universities must meet university admissions requirements
and then select Physical Therapist Assistant as their major in order to be admitted
to the Pre-Technical phase of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. does not
set a maximum number of transferable credits. To earn a degree, 30 of the last 45
credits must be taken from PennWest California. In addition, students must complete
at least 50% of the major coursework within their department from PennWest California,
with the exception of intra-system transfer students. This is in accordance with
the graduation policy as well as the Board of Governors degree requirements. Please
see this link for the complete transfer policy. It is strongly encouraged that all transfer students correspond with a PTA advisor
to review admission standards. Transfer students are required to follow the same technical
phase application and continuation procedures.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation
in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association
(APTA), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245;
email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.capteonline.org.
Readmission to the PTA Program
If a student is no longer able to continue in the program due to voluntary withdrawal
or dismissal from the program, the student may re-apply to the Technical Phase of
the program only once. To re-apply, the student must notify the program director,
in writing, of his/her intent to re-apply by August 31 of the academic year and attend
the mandatory orientation meeting held during the first week of classes. At that
point, the student will be granted Pre-Technical status and shall follow the process
outlined for Technical phase admission found on the PTA website. The student will
be considered along with the entire qualified applicant pool for that year. The only
exception to this policy is that if a student is dismissed from the program due to
a professionalism issue, the student may not re-apply to the program.
Readmitted students must also follow these additional criteria if matriculating to
the Technical Phase:
- The student must meet with both the Academic Clinical Coordinator of Education and
the Program Director to determine the necessary steps to determine competence and
preparedness to return to the clinical setting.
- The student must demonstrate competence in clinical skills through completion of laboratory
check-offs that had been completed prior to the departure from the PTA program. For
example, if a student repeats PTA 210 Interventions in Neurological Impairments, he
or she must also perform and demonstrate competence on previously completed technical
phase laboratory check-offs from PTA 230 (Lifespan), HSC 275 (Modalities), PTA 225
(Orthopedics) and PTA 205 (Cardiopulmonary). This is to assure that the student maintains
competency in these areas in preparation for clinical internships. Laboratory check-offs
may be arranged with the course instructor and/or the lab supervisor. Completed check-offs
(with faculty signature) must be provided to the program director at the completion
of the semester. If the student does not successfully perform or pass the check-offs,
the student will not receive a passing score for the course being repeated.
- The student must demonstrate competence in clinical skills through the successful
completion of one or more practical exams that encompass the curriculum that had been
completed prior to the departure from the PTA program and consistent with what is
required of all students to enter the next scheduled clinical education course. The
practical exam(s) will be associated with one course that the student is currently
taking (the course being repeated or another laboratory based course). The practical
exam(s) will be supervised and graded by at minimum of two PTA faculty and follow
the policies outlined previously regarding practical examinations. If a student does
not successfully pass the practical exam(s), the student will not receive a passing
score for the course.