Physical Therapist Assistant


Core Courses

  • Medical Terminology
  • Introduction to Health Professions
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • PTA Fundamentals and Fundamentals for PTA II
  • Therapeutic Agents I and II
  • Musculoskeletal I and II
  • PTA Professional Issues
  • Therapeutic Exercise for PTA
  • PTA Neurology
  • PTA Clinical I, II, III, and IV

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.

Program Details

Award: Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Required number of credits: 71
Program Start: Summer

View Suggested Sequence of Study & Course Cost



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 and Program 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 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. 

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

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 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.

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 is accepting Pass/Fail grades as an institution, due to accreditation, Hawkeye is not accepting College or High School Pass/Fail grades for any admission criteria.

Pre-program coursework must be completed by the spring semester prior to summer entry, with the exception of completion of the prerequisite course HSC-108.

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.

Contact Us

Admissions Email us 319-296-4000 Hawkeye Center 114
Pre-Health Advisor Christen Everett Email me 319-296-2329 ext.1079 Hawkeye Center 208
Academic/College Success Advisor Laurie Plum Email me 319-296-2329 ext.1065 Health Education and Services Center 205
Program Director Melissa Schneider Email me 319-296-4434 Health Education and Services Center 228
Program Advisor Cassady Bartlett Email me 319-296-2329 ext.1484 Health Education and Services Center 228
Administrative Assistant Brenda Bartz Email me 319-296-4010 Health Education and Services Center 222
Dean Dr. Gene Leutzinger, DNP Email me 319-296-4457 Grundy Hall 135
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