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Home >   Academics > Degree & Certificates

nova 2011-2012 college catalog: Programs of Study

Associate of Applied Science Degree MEC

Purpose: The PTA program is designed to prepare students to utilize exercise, specialty equipment and other treatment procedures to prevent, identify, correct, and alleviate movement dysfunction. The program design provides students with the philosophical, theoretical, and clinical knowledge necessary to deliver high-quality patient care. Ultimately, students are prepared as skilled technical health care providers who work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist to provide selected components of physical therapy treatments. Upon successful completion of the program, students must take and pass a licensing examination to begin their career as a physical therapist assistant (PTA). Students are prepared for employment in a variety of health-care settings including acute care hospitals, outpatient clinics, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centers, contract agencies and schools.

Transfer Information: Transfer is not the primary purpose of an A.A.S. program, but NOVA has articulation agreements that facilitate the transfer of this and other career-oriented programs to selected senior institutions. Students interested in transfer should contact a counselor or their faculty advisor early in their program.

Admission Requirements:
Students must:

  • Comply with all General Admission Requirements for Allied Health Programs.
  • Attend a Physical Therapist Assistant Information Session. Call the program office at 703-822-6570 for scheduled dates.
  • Have completed NAS 150 Human Biology with a grade of ā€œCā€ or higher. BIO 141-142 Human Anatomy & Physiology I-II or NAS 161-162 Health Science I-II may be substituted for NAS 150.
  • Have completed HLT 141 Medical Terminology with a grade of ā€œCā€ or higher.
  • Have a minimum 2.5 curricular GPA.
  • Be 18 years of age.
  • Have satisfactory scores on NOVA placement test to qualify for MTH 151 and ENG 111.

Special Accreditation Status: The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

Completion Requirements: Completion of the above steps constitutes a completed PTA Program Application. Completed PTA Program Applications will be accepted in the PTA program office beginning February 14 until the program is full for the following fall semester. Acceptance is determined on a first-come-first-served basis with first priority given to legal residents domiciled in the cities and counties supporting the College. Students are notified in writing of acceptance into the program following submission of a completed application.

Professional Standards Requirements: Students are expected to consistently demonstrate professional behavior in the classroom, laboratory, and during clinical affiliations. Professional behavior must be consistent with the APTA Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant and the Generic Abilities outlined in the PTA Program Handbook. Behavior inconsistent with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant and/or the Generic Abilities will result in dismissal from the program.

Additional Requirements: In addition to the Admission Requirements for Allied Health Programs, students must complete a basic first aid course prior to admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

Transfer Placement: PTA credits earned at other institutions are reviewed by the assistant dean to determine if any course substitutions may be made within the curriculum. Students who wish to transfer to the NOVA PTA program will be required to satisfactorily complete a skill competency assessment prior to acceptance into the program. Transfer students must be in good academic standing and provide a written reference from the director of their program as well as a clinical instructor. Transfer students must meet all PTA program application and admission requirements.

Laboratory Examination Requirements: Each student must achieve a minimum passing score of 75% on each laboratory practical exam. In the event that a lab practical is failed, a maximum of one reexamination, per examination will be permitted. A student who does not achieve a 75% or greater on the second attempt will fail the class and be administratively withdrawn from the program.


  1. Students in good standing may be permitted to re-enroll in the PTA curriculum on a space available basis, with permission of the Assistant Dean.
  2. Students who leave the program for one year or more for either personal or academic reasons are required to demonstrate proficiency in all previously enrolled skills courses prior to re-entering the program. "Practical exams" are administered and scheduled by the program faculty. A written exam will be required.
  3. Students who leave the program for any period of time for medical reasons are required to submit evidence of good physical and mental health, as substantiated by a newly completed Pre-Admission Health History and Physical for Allied Health and Nursing form (NVCC 125-7) signed by the primary physician responsible for their healthcare.

HLT 141 Intro to Medical Terminology 1
*NAS 150 Human Biology 4
Total   5
Two Years Credits
1st Semester
ENG 111 College Composition I 3
PTH 105 Intro to Physical Therapy 3
PTH 121 Therapeutic Procedures I 5
PTH 151 Musculoskeletal Structure and Function 5
SDV 101 Orientation to Health Care 1
Total   17
2nd Semester
1___ ___    Humanities/Fine Arts Elective 3
PED 220 Adult Health and Development 2
PSY 201 Intro to Psychology I 3
PTH 115 Kinesiology for the Physical Therapist Assistant 5
PTH 122 Therapeutic Procedures II 5
Total   18
3rd Semester
2MTH MTH    Elective 3
PTH 131 Clinical Education I 3
Total   6
4th Semester
3___ ___    Social Science Elective 3
PTH 225 Rehabilitation Procedures 5
PTH 231 Clinical Education II 5
Total   13
5th Semester
PTH 210 Psych. Aspects of Therapy 2
PTH 227 Pathological Conditions 2
PTH 232 Clinical Education III 5
PTH 245 Professional Issues 3
Total   12
Total credits for the Physical Therapist Assistant A.A.S.=71 (includes 5 prerequisite credits)

* BIO 141-142 Human Anatomy and Physiology I-II or NAS 161-162 Health Science I-II may be substituted for NAS 150.

1 Humanities/fine arts elective may be selected from the humanities/fine arts courses listed under General Education Electives.

2 Math elective may be selected from any MTH course 151 or above.

3 The social science elective may be selected from the social/behavioral sciences courses listed under General Education Electives.