Skip Nav

Physical Therapist Assistant


Core Courses

  • Medical Terminology
  • PTA Fundamentals and Fundamentals for PTA II
  • Kinesiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • 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 Phase II 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.

A dress code for clinical education exists and may be required by the clinical site.

Program Details

Award: Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Required number of credits: 80
Program Start: Fall only

View Suggested Sequence of Study & Course Cost



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

Example Careers and Average Wages

Entry Average Experienced
Physical Therapist Assistants $32,700 $46,000 $52,600

Source: 2016 Iowa Wage Report, Iowa Workforce Development


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

Business Location
Millennium Therapy Many Iowa locations
Northern Iowa Therapy Many Iowa locations
Reliant Rehabilitation Many Iowa locations
UnityPoint Health Waterloo, IA
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Waterloo, IA

Explore local data on wages, employment, job postings, and more!

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 program evaluation/degree audit 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: Placement through appropriate assessment scores or completion of success courses

In order to be eligible for the Physical Therapist Assistant program, all students must meet minimum entrance requirement scores and/or complete required success coursework.

Students who a placed into one or more success courses will be admitted to the Physical Therapist Assistant pre-program until all success courses are completed. Once these courses are completed, students must advise the Admissions office to be moved into Phase I standing.

Students must meet the minimum assessment score of the ACT, ACCUPLACER, or COMPASS assessment 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

STEP #2: Phase I

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Hawkeye is considered a 1+1 model and has specific admissions requirements.

During Phase I, students must complete general education courses, which can be completed full-time in as little as one year, or part-time.

Phase II contains Physical Therapist Assistant technical courses and clinical experiences, which are completed on a full-time basis in slightly over one year.

All students are also required to have a minimum of one semester of high school, or college level, physics with a grade of “C” or higher.

Completion of Phase I coursework does not guarantee admission in to Phase II.

Observation Hours

While completing Phase I coursework, students will also complete three different observations with a minimum of eight hours observed at each location, totaling 24 hours.

All observation settings must be different from one another and no more than two of the three site locations may be the same, although the program prefers all sites be different if possible.

All observations must be complete prior to the interview for Phase I and must be submitted to Physical Therapist Assistant faculty. Please see the Physical Therapist Assistant Pre-Admission Observation Hours form [pdf] for more details.


All students must schedule an interview with the Physical Therapist Assistant program director and faculty.

The interview may be scheduled any time after the first semester of Phase I course work is successfully completed.

Students are strongly encouraged to schedule their interview in the early part of the spring semester prior to the desired fall semester start date of Phase II.

To schedule an interview contact Carole Ostendorf or Melissa Schneider.

Phase I Coursework

Phase I 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 must be completed with a solid “B” grade or higher and must be completed no more than five years prior to beginning Phase I.

All additional Phase I coursework must be completed with a “C” grade or higher with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher. See the suggested sequence of study for Phase I courses.

STEP #3: Phase II Acceptance

Phase II begins each fall semester.

Applicants who meet the program admission requirements for entrance into Phase II will be placed on the Eligible for Acceptance list. Placement on the list is determined by the GPA attained from the required general education courses with the highest GPA being at the top. If more than one applicant shares the same GPA, the second criteria used will be a file completion date, which is the date the applicant completed all required general education courses for Phase II or provided documentation of all required courses being met from another accredited institution.

Equal Opportunity Statement

Contact Us

Student Success Specialist Darla Palmer Email me 319-296-2329 Health Education and Services Center 205
Program Advisor Melissa Schneider Email me 319-296-2329 ext.1484 Health Education and Services Center 228
Pre-Health Student Success Specialist Kay Wenzel Email me 319-296-2329 ext.1063 Grundy Hall 285
Pre-Health Advisor Heidi Hudson Email me 319-296-2329 ext.1079 Hawkeye Center 208
Administrative Assistant Linda Butler Email me 319-296-4013 Grundy Hall 135
Dean Dr. Gene Leutzinger, DNP Email me 319-296-4457 Grundy Hall 135
Take a closer look. Learn the fun side of college.
Check out what Hawkeye has to offer you!