Physical Therapist Assistant

Program Pathway

Prerequisite Coursework

Prerequisite Courses Details

Credits 15
Enrollment Full-time, Part-time
Program Start Fall, Spring, Summer
Number of Terms 1
Time to Complete 4 months

Prerequisite Courses

  • Composition I
  • Fundamentals of Oral Communication
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Introduction to Health Professions
  • Introduction to Psychology

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 56
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 2 — Summer and will take 15 months to complete.

Term 2 — Summer requires students to be on campus one day per week. Students will also have a clinical education assignment occurring during the last 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 the first day of Physical Therapist Assistant courses. 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 — General Education Coursework — Spring
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Math for Liberal Arts
  • Medical Terminology
Term 2 — Summer
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • PTA Clinical I
Term 3 — Fall
  • Musculoskeletal I
  • PTA Clinical II
  • PTA Fundamentals
  • Therapeutic Agents I
  • Therapeutic Exercise for PTA
Term 4 — Spring
  • Fundamentals for PTA II
  • Musculoskeletal II
  • PTA Clinical III
  • PTA Neurology
  • 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 $41,500 $53,700 $59,800

Source: 2021 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:

  • Updated assessment scores. -AND/OR-
  • A transcript or academic evaluation showing successful completion of course requirements (i.e. developmental coursework).

It is the student’s responsibility to:

  • Monitor his/her progress towards meeting admissions requirements,
  • Notify the Admissions office when requirements have been met, and
  • Provide the Admissions office evidence of meeting the requirements.

Step 1: Apply at Hawkeye

  1. Apply for admission at Hawkeye.

  2. Send official transcripts to Admissions.

Step 2: Pre-Program

Minimum Entrance Requirements

In order to be eligible for the Physical Therapist Assistant program, all students must:

  1. Meet minimum entrance requirement scores and/or complete any required success coursework.

  2. Have a minimum of one semester of high school or college level physics class with a grade of “C” or higher. The physics course must be completed by the end of Term 0 to be considered for transition from pre-program to in-program status. If the pre-program student is registered for the Hawkeye Physics for Everyday Life course in the fall term and the course is cancelled for any reason, the student will be allowed to take their physics requirement during Term 1 — Spring.

Students who have placed into one or more success courses will be admitted to the Physical Therapist Assistant pre-program.

Demonstrate College Readiness

Students must meet minimum score requirements and/or successfully complete the required college success courses in English, reading, and math with a C- grade or higher at Hawkeye Community College or comparable courses at another accredited college. For appropriate college success course placement, work with your program advisor.

Math 85 Elementary Algebra 42 Algebra 19 259 Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics 2.80 MAT-063 Elementary Algebra
Reading 76 82 19 251 2.80 RDG-040 College Preparatory Reading III
Writing 82 Sentence Skills 65 19 253 2.80 ENG-061 College Preparatory Writing II

Pre-Program Coursework

Pre-program coursework may be completed at Hawkeye Community College or transferred in from an accredited educational institution.

BIO-168 must be completed with a grade of “B” or higher within the last ten years prior to starting the Physical Therapist Assistant Term 2 coursework.

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.

Completion of pre-program coursework does not guarantee admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant program.

See the suggested sequence of study for pre-program coursework.

Please work with the pre-health advisor to assure understanding of academic expectations. The pre-program PTA student must maintain a 3.0 GPA with all pre-program prerequisite coursework to progress to In-program which occurs after Term 0.

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 3: Physical Therapist Assistant Program Acceptance and Advising

Students who have completed Term 0 coursework and all observation hours can register for Term 1 coursework with the assistance of the pre-health advisor or Academic/College Success Advisor.

After progression into Term 1, students will be advised by the Academic/College Success Advisor.

As the student transitions into Term 2, the program director and program faculty will provide academic advisement.

Equal Opportunity Statement

Physical Therapist Assistant In-Program Requirements

Physical Therapist Assistant program technical coursework, Terms 3–5, begins summer term and will take approximately 15 months to complete.

Terms 3–5 require students to be on campus or in an assigned clinical site on a full-time basis.

Prior to entering an assigned clinical site, the student must:

  • Have a physical examination with updated immunizations recorded on the Hawkeye Community College form. The form and instructions will be provided to all eligible students during the in-program orientation.

  • Pass a criminal background, sex offender, and adult/dependent abuse background checks. Instructions will be provided during program orientation. Failing a background check will result in dismissal from the program.

  • Complete Mandatory Reporting, Workplace Safety training, and HIPAA training. This training is part of the HSC-108 Introduction to Healthcare Professions course.

    Basic Life Support CPR level is also required and can be obtained through the Hawkeye Community College Business and Community Services department.

    All of these opportunities can be coordinated through communication with the Physical Therapist Assistant program director.

Students must achieve a minimum grade of "C" or higher in all program coursework.

You may only fail one program course; failing more than one course will be grounds for dismissal from the program.

Clinical Experience Requirements

Clinical experiences are completed off-campus. Sites may be local, in-state, or out-of-state. You are responsible for transportation to and from clinicals, as well as any associated housing costs. You will not be allowed to select specific clinical sites, but may make requests for special needs or geographical locations.

The program has a dress code for both on-campus coursework and clinical education.

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 Health Education and Services Center HESC228C
Faculty Advisor
Last Names N – Z
Cassady Bartlett, PT, DPT Email Cassady Bartlett 319-296-2329 ext.1484 Health Education and Services Center HESC 228A
Administrative Assistant
Vickie Bogart Email Vickie Bogart 319-296-4010 Tama Hall 110
Troy Moran Email Troy Moran 319-296-4457 Tama Hall 110B

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