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Physical Therapist Assistant

Overview Degrees/Certificates Courses Faculty

Associate Degree

A.S. in Physical Therapist Assistant

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program is at the Associate in Science Degree level, which requires completion of the required program plus general education requirements. These include prerequisite courses (14.5 units), PTA courses (36.5 units), Allied Health courses (3 units), and specific general education courses required for the program (9 units). Students must also take additional courses to meet graduation requirements of the college (10-19 units). PTA and Allied Health courses are offered Monday through Thursday in the evening and are scheduled sequentially for four semesters and one summer session. Supervised clinical experiences are integrated throughout the program. Introduction to Clinical Practice (PTA 122) is a 3-week full-time clinical practicum during the summer session. Clinical Practicum I and II (PTA 142 and 152) are each full-time 6-week clinical experiences at the end of fall and spring semesters of the second year. Clinical sites are located throughout the greater Sacramento and Northern California region.

Recommended Preparation:

High school college preparatory courses including algebra, biology, chemistry, and physiology are recommended. Volunteer work or observational experience in a physical therapy facility is recommended in order to assist students in making a career decision. Medical Language (AH 311) is advised prior to enrollment in the program.

Additional Information:

Informational meetings are held several times each semester and provide prospective students with information on program prerequisites, enrollment processes, and other facts about the program and the field of physical therapy. Current information on program policies and procedures, clinical sites, and data on graduation rates, licensure, and employment may be obtained through the program coordinator. Call (916) 558-2298 or visit the PTA program website at for more information.


Graduates of this program are eligible for the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination and the California Physical Therapy Laws and Regulations Exam. After successful completion of the examinations and all requirements of the Physical Therapy Board of California, graduates may be licensed to work as physical therapist assistants in California.

Cost of the Program:

The cost of the program includes enrollment fees, which are subject to change. Other estimated costs include: books and supplies $1200.00; physical examination, immunizations, drug screen, background check, and other clinical requirements $500.00; malpractice insurance $30.00; uniforms $50.00; and application for licensure after graduation $900.00. Students must also plan for travel costs to and from the clinical facilities, many of which are outside the Sacramento area. Some students may need to arrange for housing during full time clinical experiences.


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Sacramento City College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:

Transfer Students:

Students from other accredited PTA programs may apply to transfer to the Sacramento City College PTA program. Enrollment depends upon evidence of completion of equivalent academic and clinical course work and on space available in the program.

Catalog Date: January 1, 2023

Degree Requirements

Course Code Course Title Units
Prerequisite Courses:
BIOL 430 Anatomy and Physiology 5
BIOL 431 Anatomy and Physiology 5
ENGWR 300 College Composition (3) 3 - 4
   or ESLW 340 Advanced Composition (4)
   or ENGWR 488 Honors College Composition and Research (4)
PTA 100 Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant 1.5
First Year, Fall Semester:
AH 100 Professional Ethics of Health Team Members 1
PTA 110 Kinesiology for PTA Students 3
PTA 111 Kinesiology Laboratory for PTA Students 2
First Year, Spring Semester:
PTA 120 Beginning Procedures - Physical Therapy Modalities and Procedures 3.5
PTA 121 Disorders I - Selected Disorders Commonly Seen in Physical Therapy 3
Summer Session:
AH 106 Communication for Allied Health Careers 2
PTA 122 Introduction to Clinical Practice 3
PTA 130 Intermediate Procedures, Physical Therapy Modalities and Procedures 1
Second Year, Fall Semester:
PTA 140 Therapeutic Exercise - Exercise Programs, Protocols and Procedures 3
PTA 141 Disorders II - Nervous System Disorders 2
PTA 142 Clinical Practicum I 4.5
Second Year, Spring Semester:
PTA 150 Functional Activities & Gait - Activities of Daily Living and Gait Training Techniques 3
PTA 151 Advanced Procedures-Advanced Modalities and Treatment Procedures 1
PTA 152 Clinical Practicum II 4.5
PTA 153 Professional Issues in Physical Therapy 1
General Education Courses:
NUTRI 300 Nutrition (3) 3
   or NUTRI 480 Nutrition Honors (3)
   or HEED 300 Health Science (3)
PSYC 370 Human Development: A Life Span (3) 3
or FCS 324 Human Development: A Life Span (3)
SOC 300 Introductory Sociology (3) 3
   or SOC 480 Introductory Sociology - Honors (3)
   or ANTH 310 Cultural Anthropology (3)
   or ANTH 481 Honors Cultural Anthropology (3)
Total Units: 61 - 62

The Physical Therapist Assistant Associate in Science (A.S.) degree may be obtained by completion of the required program, plus general education requirements, plus sufficient electives to meet a 60-unit total. See SCC graduation requirements.

Enrollment Eligibility

To be eligible for enrollment in the program, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • Enrollment in the Physical Therapist Assistant program is based on completion of prerequisite courses. Grades of "C" or better and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 are required in the prerequisite courses. Credit earned for courses taken as Pass/No Pass will be calculated into the GPA as "C" grades. Applicants must submit applications online and official transcripts to the Office of Admissions & Records. Approximately 30 students are enrolled in the program annually. Prerequisite courses include:
  • PTA 100 (Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant) with a grade of "C" or better
  • BIOL 430 and 431 (Anatomy and Physiology), or equivalent courses, with grades of "C" or better within 10 years. If students have completed all other prerequisites, but have BIOL 431 (or equivalent) in progress at the time of application, they will be considered eligible, pending receipt of final grade report.
  • ENGWR 300 (College Composition) or ENGWR 488 (Honors College Composition and Research) or ESLW 340 (Advanced Composition) with a grade of "C" or better

Enrollment Process

Eligible students are selected for the program according to the following steps:

  • Students apply for enrollment to the Physical Therapist Assistant program during each spring semester for entry in the following fall semester. Students wishing to apply for enrollment must submit an online application to the PTA program during the application period. The application form and the dates of the application period can be accessed via the PTA program website at
  • In the event there are more applicants than spaces available, students who meet the enrollment eligibility requirements will be entered into a random selection pool.
  • Students accepted for enrollment in the Physical Therapist Assistant program will be required to provide documentation of a) capability to perform essential job-related functions of a physical therapist assistant; b) completed physical examination and immunizations; c) TB test; d) current professional level CPR certification; e) first aid certification, f) blood-borne pathogen certification, and g) HIPAA training certification. Prior to assignment to a clinical experience, students will be required to undergo a criminal background check and an 8-panel drug screen test.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  • perform the duties of a physical therapist assistant in a safe manner that minimizes risk to patients, self, and others.
  • demonstrate professional behavior.
  • practice under the supervision of a physical therapist in a manner consistent with legal standards, ethical guidelines, and standards of the profession.
  • perform interventions of therapeutic exercise, therapeutic techniques, physical agents, mechanical modalities, electrotherapeutic modalities, and functional training in a competent manner consistent with the plan of care established by the physical therapist.
  • gather data effectively to measure and report patient response to treatment.
  • demonstrate clinical problem-solving skills.
  • demonstrate effective verbal and non-verbal communication with patients, family, staff, other health care providers, and members of the community.
  • adapt delivery of care with recognition and respect for individual differences within the plan of care established by the physical therapist.
  • produce quality documentation in a timely manner to support the delivery of physical therapy services, and that adheres to standards of state practice acts, the practice setting, and other regulatory agencies.
  • use resources effectively for the efficient delivery of physical therapy services.
  • demonstrate preparation for employment in a variety of settings to meet the health care resource needs of the community.
  • assess own performance and engage in self-directed learning activities to enhance clinical performance.

Career Information

This program prepares the student for employment as a physical therapist assistant. Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of physical therapists in a wide variety of health care settings. These include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private practices, and skilled nursing and extended care facilities. Physical therapist assistants treat clients with mobility, strength, and coordination disorders in order to improve function, decrease pain, and increase independence. Physical therapist assistants perform interventions that include therapeutic exercise, therapeutic techniques, physical agents, and mechanical and electrotherapeutic modalities. They assist patients in performing transfers, ambulation, and other types of functional activities. Physical therapist assistants collect and document data in order to assess whether patients are progressing appropriately within the plan of care determined by the physical therapist.

More About the Program

PTA Program Details

Accredited By

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Sacramento City College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100
Alexandria, VA

Phone: (703) 706-3245

CAPTE Website

If needing to contact the program directly, please call (916) 558-2271 or email

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Health and Health Professions

Health and Health Professions meta major

This program is part of the Health and Health Professions meta major.

Health and Health Professions