• Physical Therapist Assistant Program Frequently Asked Questions

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    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What is a limited entry physical therapist assistant program?
    Limited entry means additional steps are required beyond applying for general admission to the college to be considered for the program. A class of 24 students is chosen each year.
    What are the academic prerequisites to apply to the program?
    • BI231 and BI232 must be taken within the last 10 years. BI233, if not yet completed, must be done by the end of spring term of the year you are applying to the program. Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) series must include lab and have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00.
    • WR121/WR121Z
    • MTH065 or higher
    • PSY201 General Psychology
    • MO111 
    If I took both BI121 & BI122, can I use them for my application?
    The last year that BI121 & BI122 A&P series could be accepted for applying was fall term 2023 admission. Applications for fall term 2024 admission require the BI231/BI232/BI233 series.
    If I have taken the prerequisites courses at other colleges, can the courses count toward the selection process or the PTA degree requirements?
    Yes, as long as the coursework is equivalent (or higher level) and you have provided an official transcript for that coursework.
    How do I know what my application status is after I submit my online application?
    Applicants may check on their application status in the MyMHCC student portal at the location where they filled out the application under the "Check application status" link.
    What is the selection committee looking for in a successful candidate?
    Class selection is by lottery system which is a random selection process for determining admission and gives all applicants an equal chance for admission. 
    I have a bachelor’s degree; is that considered as part of the selection process, or can it shorten the time it takes to complete the program?
    Completion of a bachelor’s degree is not part of the selection process itself. It will not shorten the length of time needed to complete the program, as PTA courses are only taught once each year and are sequential. You would have a lighter course load some terms, but it will still take 2 years to complete the program.
    Is there a wait list for those who don’t get accepted?
    Students not selected for admission by the lottery system will be waitlisted if there are more candidates beyond the 24 selected for admission. However, the list dissolves the 1st day of class in the fall. Individuals who remain interested are encouraged to re-apply.
    Can I work while I am in the program?
    Yes, but students are more successful if they limit work to no more than 20 hours per week.
    What’s the difference between a physical therapist and a physical therapist assistant?
    There are significant differences, both in terms of education and responsibilities. It is important that you explore the answer to this question thoroughly and make an intentional choice that is right for you. Talk with both PTs and PTAs, visit/volunteer at various clinics if feasible, and check out the website of our national association.
    If I want to be a physical therapist later, does this coursework transfer into a PT program?
    No, PTA programs are NOT designed to be stepping-stones to PT school; none of the PTA coursework transfers, nor does it help your chances of getting into PT school. MHCC does offer pre-physical therapy coursework for those interested in PT school, but this program is not the route.
    My A&P GPA is less than a 3.00, should I still apply?

    No, do not apply. The application will not be considered for admissions and the application fee is non-refundable. If you are unsure how to calculate your prerequisite GPA (only the courses being used to apply to the program) we recommend googling a GPA calculator and filling in your course credits and grades. In general, if you had any “C” grades you would need “A” grades to come out to a 3.0 (B) average.

    If I am accepted into the program, are there immunization, drug screening or other requirements I must follow?

    MANDATORY ORIENTATION: There will be a mandatory program orientation held after students confirm their spots in the program. Information about completing immunizations, training requirements, and criminal background checks will be distributed at this time.

    IMMUNIZATIONS: Accepted students must complete a Measles Immunization Clearance Certificate for School Attendance Form. Students must provide documentation of Varicella, Hepatitis B, tetanus, COVID-19, and diphtheria immunization status before beginning their first year. In addition, students will be required to have an up-to-date TB test. Prior to clinical participation, students must meet all PTA program immunization requirements. These requirements may change as requested by our clinical sites, and if they do, students will be given adequate notice in order to be compliant for clinical participation.

    TRAINING REQUIREMENTS: Prior to students starting the program in the fall, students must complete a basic first aid course and professional level CPR/AED.

    CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS: You will be required to complete a Criminal Background Check upon acceptance into the program. In addition, some clinical sites retain the right to require an additional criminal background check. (Please note: the criminal background check requires a fee and the applicant's social security number.) Clinical placement may be prohibited for students with a criminal background. Without successful completion of clinicals, students will be unable to complete the program, thus resulting in dismissal. The Health Professions Dean can provide further information on this matter.

    RESTRICTIONS: If you have been convicted of a felony, please be advised that this conviction may prevent you from placement in clinical training and from obtaining a license to practice within the field. A PTA adviser can provide further information on this matter.

    DRUG SCREENING: All students will be required to complete drug screening prior to clinical placement. Please note, this drug screening will check for drugs that contain, amphetamines, barbiturates, opioids, benzodiazepines and marijuana. If you are taking any prescribed medication that may contain these drugs, you will need to meet with the program director before completing the drug screen. Program faculty will provide further information including when to have this done. A positive drug test may exclude you from clinical placement and make it impossible for you to complete the clinical competencies required for graduation from the PTA program. All students will be asked to complete a Consent to Test Form upon acceptance into the program.

    Does the PTA program allow for religious and medical vaccine exemptions?
    No, all PTA clinical sites require full vaccination, including vaccination for COVID-19. Therefore, we are unable to admit students who are unvaccinated for any reason.
    Do I have to be licensed to practice as a PTA?
    You must be licensed to practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant in all states. Successful completion of the PTA program and the licensing exam qualifies you to apply for licensure in the state in which you wish to work.
    Other questions?
    Please e-mail any other questions to the PTA Program Director at Kristin.kjensrud@mhcc.edu and/or plan to attend an information session. For information on the number of applicants, graduation rates, licensure pass rates and employment rates, please see the PTA program website under Admission and Outcome Statistics.