School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety (HWPS)
Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a six-term program during which the student will attain the knowledge, skills and professional behaviors necessary for employment as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Physical therapist assistants work as part of a team to provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. PTAs help people of all ages who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.
See Recommended Sequence of Courses
Care provided by PTAs may include teaching patients exercises for mobility, strength, and coordination; training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers; massage; and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy.
The hours and days worked vary by practice setting. A PTA must use critical thinking and problem solving skills on a daily basis. A PTA must also possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills to interact appropriately with patients, families, co-workers, and other healthcare providers.
Students are prepared to sit for the national board exams administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Central New Mexico Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: (703) 706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org.
Please check with an Academic Coach for more information.
Program Entry Registration Screening
This is a “Coordinated Program Entry” program; students must complete a pre-registration screening process administered through the Coordinated Program Entry Office before being eligible to register for program courses.
Most of the health programs in HWPS require students undergo the New Mexico Department of Health caregivers criminal history screening program. This involves state and federal felony criminal background checks with fingerprints. This must be completed prior to starting their program or prior to beginning their clinical experiences. Students with a disqualifying conviction can appeal some of those convictions through the New Mexico Department of Health. Depending on the program, students may or may not be allowed to remain in the program pending appeal. Students who do not successfully appeal a disqualifying conviction will not be allowed to start or remain in the program. A successful appeal does not guarantee eligibility for licensure after graduation in professions that require licensure.
Other Compliance Requirements
Many of the health programs in HWPS require students to undergo a routine urine drug screen, provide documentation of current immunizations, have a current Healthcare Provider Basic Life Support (CPR) certificate and other training prior to beginning the program or beginning clinical education, all of which, along with the criminal background check, are verified through the Office of Verification and Compliance.
Approximate Costs of this Educational Option
Financial Aid Considerations
Many of the courses in this program are transferable and some may be applied to four-year degree programs at other institutions. CNM currently has transfer agreements with many colleges and universities in New Mexico and elsewhere.
There is currently a nationwide demand for physical therapy assistants. Graduates will be employed as physical therapy assistants in hospitals, outpatient clinics, long term care facilities, home health, and rehabilitation facilities.