Physical Therapist Assistant



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 $36,500 $47,600 $53,100

Source: 2018 Iowa Wage Report, Iowa Workforce Development


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

Business Location
Athletico Many Iowa locations
MercyOne Waterloo, IA
Millennium Therapy Many Iowa locations
Northern Iowa Therapy Many Iowa locations
Reliant Rehabilitation Many Iowa locations
UnityPoint Health Waterloo, IA

Admissions 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. Complete Hawkeye's online admissions application to apply and be considered for the Physical Therapist Assistant program.

  2. Request to have your transcripts sent to the Admissions office.

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 with a grade of “C” or higher.

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

Students must meet the minimum assessment score or have completed the required success course in each math, English, and reading.

Math 19 85 Elementary Algebra 42 Algebra MAT-063 Elementary Algebra
English 19 82 Sentence Skills -OR-
06 Essay
65 ENG-061 College Preparatory Writing II
Reading 19 76 82 RDG-040 College Preparatory Reading III

Pre-Program Coursework

Pre-program coursework may be completed at Hawkeye Community College or transferred in from an accredited educational institution, with the exception of HSC-108 which must be completed at Hawkeye.

BIO-168 and BIO-173 coursework must be completed within five years of the Physical Therapist Assistant program start date and must be completed with a grade of "B" or higher.

Pre-program coursework must be completed the spring semester prior to fall entry.

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.

Observation Hours

While completing pre-program coursework, students are required to obtain observation hours from three different physical therapy settings. The student must obtain a minimum of eight hours at each setting, totaling 24 hours. It is preferred the site locations be different as well, but two of the three site locations may be the same. The setting refers to the type of therapeutic setting and the site refers to the location.

All observations must be complete and submitted to Physical Therapist Assistant faculty by February 1 of the spring semester prior to being eligible for the Physical Therapist Assistant program.

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


Students who meet admission consideration by February 1 will be contacted and asked to complete a proctored essay. The Physical Therapist Assistant faculty will provide the assigned topic for the essay as well as details pertaining to the essay and the date the essay will be proctored.


After February 1, all pre-program students meeting eligibility requirements will be contacted by the Physical Therapist Assistant program director for an interview.

Step 3: Physical Therapist Assistant Program Acceptance

After completion of the essay and interview, each student will receive a Total Admission Score based on cumulative pre-program coursework GPA, essay, and interview rankings. The Total Admission Score is weighted as follows: 70% GPA, 20% essay, 10% interview. The combination of these three areas with calculations based on percentages formulate the Total Admission Score. If more than one student shares the same Total Admission Score, the second criteria used will be a file completion date, which is the date the student completed all required general education courses or provided documentation of all required courses being met from another accredited institution.

Candidates who meet the Physical Therapist Assistant program admission requirements will be placed on the Eligible for Acceptance list. Students placed on the Eligible for Acceptance list will be listed from the highest ranking down.

Students will be able to register for PTA courses once they are accepted to the Physical Therapist Assistant program and have attended a program orientation session.

The Physical Therapist Assistant program begins each fall semester.

Equal Opportunity Statement

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