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Home >   Academics > Degree & Certificates

NOVA 2012-2013 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 academic advisor early in their program.

Admission Requirements: 

  • 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 "C" 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 "C" 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.
  • Submit the NOVA PTA Program Clinic Observation form documenting the minimum requirement of 4 hours of observation in a PT clinic.

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 via certified mail in the Student Services Center beginning February 14 through April 15 for the following 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
1NAS 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
PED 220 Adult Health and Development 2
2PSY 200 Principles of Psychology 3
PTH 115 Kinesiology for the Physical Therapist Assistant 5
PTH 122 Therapeutic Procedures II 5
Total   15
3rd Semester
2MTH Elective 3
PTH 131 Clinical Education I 3
Total   6
4th Semester
4___ Humanities/Fine Arts Elective 3
PTH 225 Rehabilitation Procedures 5
PTH 231 Clinical Education II 5
Total   13
5th Semester
PTH 210 Psychological Aspects of Therapy 2
PTH 227 Pathological Conditions 3
PTH 232 Clinical Education III 5
PTH 245 Professional Issues 3
Total   13
Total credits for the Physical Therapist Assistant A.A.S.=69 (includes 5 prerequisite credits)

1BIO 141-142 Human Anatomy and Physiology I-II or NAS 161-162 Health Science I-II may be substituted for NAS 150. Although students who have graduated with a transfer-oriented A.A., A.S., or A.A. & S. degree or any baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited United States institution of higher education will have most of their general education considered as met, they must meet the math and science requirements specified for this program. Exceptions must be approved by the division dean responsible for the student's curriculum.

2 PSY 201-202 may be substituted for PSY 200.

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

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