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Physical Therapist Assistant

Program Pathway

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite Courses Details

Credits 12
Enrollment Full-time, Part-time
Program Start Fall, Spring, Summer
Number of Terms 1
Time to Complete 4 months

Prerequisite Courses

  • Composition I
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Medical Terminology

See the Suggested Sequence of Study for cost and additional course details.

Next step: Complete the program admission requirements then continue to Term 1 of the Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science (AAS) degree program.

Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science (AAS) Degree

Program Details

Award Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Credits 53
Enrollment Full-time
Program Start Spring
Number of Terms 5
Time to Complete 1½ years
Admissions Application Select Academic Program:
Physical Therapist Assistant – AAS
See Program Admission

Program Costs

See the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Financial Fact Sheet [pdf] for estimated annual program costs including tuition, fees, and other program costs.

Program Notes

Physical Therapist Assistant program technical coursework begins Term 1 — Summer and will take 19 months to complete.

Term 2 — Summer requires students to be on campus three days per week. Students will also have a clinical education assignment occurring during the last two – three weeks of the summer term.

Clinical experiences are completed off-campus. Sites may be local, in-state, or out-of-state.

Criminal background, sex offender, and child and adult/dependent abuse background checks are required prior to clinical education coursework. Failing a background check will result in dismissal from the program.

Getting a physical exam and updated immunizations, including a seasonal influenza immunization, are required before beginning clinical education.

The program requires a dress code for clinical education experiences and on-campus coursework.

Suggested Sequence of Study and Cost

Program Courses

Term 1 — Spring
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Introduction to PTA
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathophysiology
Term 2 — Summer
  • Cardiopulmonary and Integumentary Rehab
  • PTA Clinical I
  • PTA Fundamentals
Term 3 — Fall
  • Adult Neurology
  • Musculoskeletal I
  • PTA Clinical II
  • Therapeutic Agents I
  • Therapeutic Exercise
Term 4 — Spring
  • Fundamentals for PTA II
  • Musculoskeletal II
  • Pediatric Neurology
  • PTA Clinical III
  • Therapeutic Agents II
Term 5 — Summer
  • PTA Clinical IV
  • PTA Professional Issues

See the Suggested Sequence of Study for the full list of courses, cost, and additional course details.

You have completed the Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science (AAS) degree program. Check out the Health continuing education courses to keep up to date in your profession.



Physical therapist assistants work in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, pediatric settings, home health settings, skilled rehab and residential care facilities.

Example Careers and Average Wages

Entry Average Experienced
Physical Therapist Assistants $44,500 $54,200 $59,000

Source: 2022 Iowa Wage Report, Iowa Workforce Development

Also see PTA Salary in Iowa for additional wage information.


The following is a partial list of employers who have hired graduates from this program:

Business Location
Athletico Locations throughout Iowa
MercyOne Waterloo, IA
Millennium Therapy Locations throughout Iowa
Northern Iowa Therapy Locations throughout Iowa
Reliant Rehabilitation Locations throughout Iowa
UnityPoint Health Waterloo, IA

Program Admission and Requirements

In order to be considered for the Physical Therapist Assistant program, students must provide the Admissions office with the appropriate documentation showing completion of all requirements. Appropriate documentation consists of:

  • Official high school or GED/HiSET transcript
  • Official college transcript (if applicable)

It is the student’s responsibility to:

  1. Monitor his/her progress towards meeting admissions requirements
  2. Notify the Admissions office when requirements have been met
  3. Provide the Admissions office evidence of meeting the requirements
  4. Keep their contact information up to date and to routinely check their Hawkeye email

Step 1: Apply at Hawkeye

  1. Apply for admission at Hawkeye.
  2. Send official transcripts to Admissions.
  3. Demonstrate college readiness.

You can check the status of your application by logging into your Admissions Account.

Hawkeye's Equal Opportunity Statement

Step #2: Program Admittance Score Requirement

In order to be eligible for the Physical Therapist Assistant program, all students must meet the minimum score requirement in math. For appropriate college success course placement, work with your program advisor.

Minimum score requirements
Math 30 259 Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics (QAS)
227 Advanced Algebra and Functions
85 Elementary Algebra 42 al 19

The ALEKS Placement Assessment can be taken online. ACCUPLACER Next Generation and ACT can be taken at Hawkeye. ACCUPLACER Classic and COMPASS are no longer offered, but if you've taken either in the past your test scores can be used for program admittance.

Step 3: Prerequisite Coursework / Observation Hours

Please work with an Academic/College Success Advisor to assure understanding of academic expectations.

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite coursework may be completed at Hawkeye Community College or at any accredited transfer institution. See the suggested sequence of study for a list of prerequisite courses and grade and cumulative GPA requirements.

Once all prerequisite coursework is completed, contact the Admissions office immediately.

While Hawkeye Community College does issue Pass/Fail grades for some courses, accreditation requirements of the Physical Therapist Assistant program will not accept college or high school pass/fail grades for any admission criteria.

Observation Hours

Pre-program Physical Therapist Assistant students must complete their observation hours by the end of Term 0.

A minimum of 16 observation hours are required: 8 observation hours in an inpatient setting and 8 observation hours in an outpatient setting.

All observation hours must be complete and submitted to the director of the Physical Therapist Assistant program by December 1. Please plan your observation hours well in advance of this deadline as a courtesy to the physical therapy companies in our communities.

Please see the Physical Therapist Assistant Pre-Admission Observation Hours form [pdf] for more details.

Step 4: Program Admittance

  • The Physical Therapist Assistant program registers 20 students each spring.

  • Applicants who successfully meet all admission criteria will be given an Eligible-Start Date to be Determined (ETBD) application status.

    • The Eligible-Start Date to be Determined status date is according to the student’s prerequisite completion date. If students share the same prerequisite completion date, the registration date for the final prerequisite course will be used.
  • The Admissions Office admits Eligible-Start Date to be Determined candidates ongoing for the next available term. Once seat capacity has been reached the remaining Eligible-Start Date to be Determined candidates will continue to be considered and contacted accordingly, should a seat become available.

Background Screening

Changes are taking place within healthcare facilities nationally. These changes directly affect all health programs at Hawkeye Community College. The Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO), which accredits healthcare facilities across the country, enforced background screening September 2004 and has set requirements mandating that students in a healthcare field must now complete the same background check as hospital employees. As a Health student of Hawkeye Community College, you will be required to complete a criminal background check which includes fingerprinting that searches the following databases of sex offender, child abuse and dependent adult registry, and Medicare/Medicaid Fraud. The outcome could possibly affect your opportunities to participate in the clinical setting

Equal Opportunity Statement

Program Contacts

Email Admissions 319-296-4000 Hawkeye Center 114
Academic/College Success Advisor
Lisa Wright Email Lisa Wright 319-296-4014 ext.1068 Hawkeye Center 208G
Program Director / Faculty Advisor
Last Names A – M
Melissa Schneider, PTA, M.Ed., ACCE Email Melissa Schneider 319-296-4434 Grundy Hall 110P
Faculty Advisor
Last Names N – Z
Cassady Bartlett, PT, DPT Email Cassady Bartlett 319-296-2329 ext.1484 Grundy Hall 110N

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