Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Q. When can I apply to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program?

Applications are accepted at the PTA Program office from April 1-15 for the next Fall semester class.

Q. How many students are accepted each year to the PTA Program?

The PTA Program accepts up to 24 students each Fall semester.

Q. What are my chances of getting into the PTA Program?

Upon fulfilling the requirements for admission and successfully completing and submitting the PTA application packet, Ohlone College is required to conduct an admission by lottery process. This means that all applicants who qualify have an equal chance of being admitted. The lottery process is only conducted in years in which there are more than 24 qualified applicants for the next incoming class.

Q. What is the ACCUPLACER Test?

The ACCUPLACER Test evaluates English competency. This is an assessment test with two sections (reading and sentence structure). ENGL-101A or equivalent is required for admission to the PTA Program. The English reading comprehension requirement is met through passing of ENGL-163.

Students take the test at the Placement Testing Center in Room 7205, Building 7, second floor, Fremont campus.

The schedule for ACCUPLACER Testing for applicants to the PTA Program is listed on the Health Sciences Division website.

Students must schedule a testing date through the Placement Testing Center's reservations page. Space is limited to 30 students. Students must bring a photo ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) and know their Ohlone College student ID number.

Sample questions and study guides are available.

If you have questions about the exam, contact the Placement Testing Center at (510) 659-6126. Be sure to specify that you are an applicant to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

Q. Do I have to take the ACCUPLACER Test before entering the PTA Program?

If you have already received a four year degree from an accredited College or University in the United States, you do not have to take the ACCUPLACER Test. All other students must take the Reading portion of the ACCUPLACER Test. Some students may have already taken an English Composition course that is equivalent to the ENGL-101A eligibility requirement (such as completion of ENGL-151B at Ohlone College with a grade of "C" or better). Students who do not "clear" ENGL-163 must take the courses indicated to meet the requirement. The math test is not required for students entering the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

Q. Do I have to take Anatomy and Physiology?

Students must complete, at the very minimum, the first semester of the two part series of BIOL-103A and BIOL-103B (or an equivalent course at another institution) with a grade of "C" or better. The second semester of the series may be "in progress" at the time of the application, but must be completed by the end of that semester with a grade of "C" or better. A second option requires you take BIOL-104 Basic Human Anatomy and Physiology (or equivalent) and then enroll in an additional 4-unit Anatomy course with a lab. If the course work was not completed at Ohlone College, check with the PTA Counselor (Maria Ramirez) to make sure the courses are equivalent to the Ohlone College courses. Anatomy and Physiology prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or better within the past five (5) years.

Q. What other courses are required for admission to the PTA Program?

Introduction to Physical Therapy (PTA-101) is a required course prior to admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.* Ohlone College's PTA Program requires any transferable "Intro to Physical Therapy" course be 3 units, with 1 unit of laboratory, if taken at another institution.

Students must also meet the requirements for an Associate in Science degree to graduate [see PTA Curriculum Guide].


* Unless you have a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study (i.e., Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, etc). If you do have a B.S. degree in a related field, you may apply without the PTA-101 pre-requisite completed. If you are admitted into the PTA Program, you will then be registered to take PTA 101 during the first semester in the program.

Q. What grade point average (GPA) is needed to apply to the PTA Program?

A college GPA of 2.7 is required.

Q. Do I need any special supplies for the PTA Program?

The students are required to purchase an APTA Kit for Physical Therapist Assistants. This kit contains a gait belt, goniometer, reflex hammer, Thera-band material, and other items typically used in the field. The kit may be purchased during the PTA-101 course or at the beginning of the Program in the Fall semester from the APTA. Students are also required to possess a lab coat and an identification badge.

Q. How long is the PTA Program?

The PTA Program requires that the students be involved in class and clinical work for two full years. There are no classes held during the summer.

Q. Are there jobs as a graduate from the PTA Program?

In the March 10, 2006 USA Today, one of the 10 top jobs on the rise is Physical Therapist Assistants. Eight of the twenty fastest growing occupations are in health care, with a 44% increase in the number of PTA jobs expected through 2014. ("As baby boomers become baby geezers, we'll need more help, especially with new medical advances.")

With the pressures of managed care and HMO's influencing the field of health care and particularly physical therapy, the PTA is one profession that appears to becoming even more valuable and the projected demand is for an even larger work force. The Occupation Outlook Handbook (PDF file), published by the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics has this to say about PTAs:

“Employment of physical therapist assistants … is expected to grow much faster than the average through the year 2015. Federal legislation imposing limits on reimbursement for therapy services may adversely affect the job market for physical therapist assistants … in the near term. However, over the long run, demand for physical therapist assistants … will continue to rise, with growth in the number of individuals with disabilities or limited function. The rapidly growing elderly population is particularly vulnerable to chronic and debilitating conditions that require therapeutic services.”

Q. Does Ohlone College offer its Physical Therapist Assistant Program on-line?

No. While all of the courses in our curriculum have on-line information (course syllabi, schedules, general information, etc.) and some of our courses have an on-line component (assignments, lecture handouts, self-tests, etc.), the nature of the physical therapy profession demands that our curriculum have hands-on, laboratory-based content in addition to clinical education experiences. Therefore, we cannot put our entire curriculum on-line.

We currently offer one fully on-line course, PTA-140 PTA Licensure Exam Preparation and one hybrid course, PTA-102 Pathology.

Q. Is the Physical Therapist Assistant Program accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)?

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program is a two calendar year course of study leading to an Associate in Science Degree and eligibility to take the National PTA licensing examination. The degree requirements include general education, supporting courses, and Physical Therapist Assistant theory and clinical courses. Successful completion of the PTA major field courses and supporting courses meet the Information Competency graduation requirement.

Q. What are the success rates for Ohlone's PTA Program?

Matriculation rates are 75% for the first year, 90% for the second year. Graduation rates are as follows:

  • 2007: 63.20%
  • 2008: 61.10%
  • 2009: 47.60%
  • 2010: 61.10%
  • 2011: 65.21%
  • 2012: 52.63%
  • 2013 (projected): 73.68%

Employment rates vary between 90% and 100%. Licensure exam pass rates are 100% for the past 6 years (2007-2012).

Q. What is cost of Ohlone's PTA Program per year?

Tuition, books, parking, health screen, background check, CPR certification, lab coat are approximately $2,000 per year.

Q. I still have questions. Who can I contact for more information?

For general program information or PTA Program admission materials, please contact Zelma Hunter in the Health Sciences and Environmental Studies Division at (510) 742-3103 or at zhunter@ohlone.edu.

For counseling information or information about prerequisites or equivalencies for courses taken at other colleges or universities, please make an appointment to see Maria Ramirez in Counseling at (510) 742-2346 or mramirez@ohlone.edu.*

For information regarding admission to Ohlone College (not specifically the PTA Program), please contact Admission and Records.


* Applicants from out of state or out of the area will be eligible to apply and must have a PTA Academic Evaluation form filled out by the PTA Counselor attached to their application. Contact Maria Ramirez, PTA Academic Counselor at mramirez@ohlone.edu.

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