Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are licensed healthcare providers who assist in delivering high-quality physical therapy services under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist (PT). A combination of clinical practicum rotations and other learning experiences including use of technology and online instructional enhancements, lectures, discussions, small group activities and guided laboratory practice prepares graduates to be employed in a variety of clinical settings. This multidimensional educational approach fosters development of individual responsibility and professional behaviors leading to successful lifelong learning.

Read more about careers in physical therapist assisting at the American Physical Therapy Association.

Accreditation 

(Compliance with Accreditation Requirements Policy)

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Elgin Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100,  Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: www.capteonline.org.

CAPTE is the only recognized organization providing accreditation for physical therapist assistant and physical therapist programs in the United States.

Program accreditation provides students, graduates, and employers with information pertaining to the program’s skill, knowledge, value, and competency. These are the goals the program intends to impart to the student, to prepare them to enter the PTA profession. Graduation from an accredited program also provides the capability to apply for licensure in each of the states. By requiring programs to meet specific criteria and standards for accreditation, students have access to the best curriculum available in their field.

Accreditation of educational programs assures patients that students, who perform procedures, have appropriate supervision during the educational process. It also indicates that graduates will have met the minimum level of competency as defined nationally by the profession.

Through the process of programmatic accreditation and program review, educators are assured that their educational programs are remaining current with the profession and with standards developed through national consensus.

Entrance Requirements

Must complete all steps listed below.

  • Apply with ECC - how to apply
  • Complete and submit your health professions application by March 15, the annual application deadline for the following fall admission.
  • Create an account for PTACAS and complete the application process. The application cycle starts on September 25 for admission into the fall cohort of the following year. ($25 fee)
  • Complete PTA Program Mandatory Information Course online. Self-Service. You should see "CHP-900- PTA Information Course." Next, select the class, register, and provide verification of completing this information session with a Certificate on PTACAS. Read more about how to register for a non-credit course.
  • Completed prerequisites BIO 110, BIO 245, (BIO 246 strongly encouraged) ENG 101, PSY 100, and Liberal Arts (3 credit) course elective with a grade of C or better. Submit unofficial transcripts to PTACAS.
  • Provide three references on PTACAS to support your application. The ECC PTA program will accept references from PTs, PTAs, faculty, teachers, coaches, and employers.
  • Provide official transcripts from the college or university you have attended to ECC Records Department. You must request a formal evaluation of your college course transcript.
  • Please note: You must be 18 or older to sit for the state licensure examination.

If you have any general questions about the application process, please get in touch with the Program Director: Barbara Ostrowska, at bostrowska@elgin.edu or 847-214-7289.

If you have questions related to submitting college transcripts, please get in touch with the Records department. Transferring college credit to ECC, please make sure you have applied for admission before submitting this request. Please remember that it is the student’s responsibility to request official transcripts for all colleges, universities, or the military and contact records at records@elgin.edu or 847-214-7386 to confirm all transcripts have been received before requesting the evaluation.

Note: All health professions programs require criminal background checks and drug testing. Students demonstrating a positive background check or positive drug test will be denied admission to health professions programs. Students demonstrating a positive background check or positive drug test while enrolled in health professions programs will be dismissed from the program.

Admission Procedures

The ECC PTA Program strives to be recognized as the preferred educational institution in Northwest Chicago suburbs. The PTA Program promotes professional behaviors, critical thinking skills, and competencies consistent with the physical therapy profession and essential for a career in physical therapy and the healthcare industry.

Before you start, make sure to visit the ECC PTA website to review details on the application requirements, degree plan, and ECC Health Professions Programs requirements. Below is an overview of what is needed to apply to the PTA program:

March 15, is the annual application deadline for the following fall admission.

If you have never taken a credit class at ECC, you must complete an ECC application for admission before submitting Health Professions Application. Get more information on how to apply

  • Develop the knowledge and skill to provide accurate, appropriate, and safe interventions under the supervision of a physical therapist. 
  • Demonstrate proficiency in problem-solving and critical thinking skills regarding patient care
  • Practice effective communication skills in the clinical setting with members of the healthcare team, patients, and their families and provide an appropriate education
  • Develop a professional code of conduct regarding their roles as a PTA which includes ethics, safety, and lifelong learning. 
  • Discuss and apply concepts of multicultural awareness in professional behaviors in the classroom and clinical environment

Effective 2024 Summer: Physical Therapist Assistant - Associate of Applied Science

Plan of Study Grid
Entrance RequirementsCredit Hours
BIO 110 Principles of Biology 4
BIO 245 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4
ENG 101 English Composition I 3
PSY 100 Intro to Psychology 3
Required Humanities/Fine Arts Course 3
 Total17
First Semester
PTA 110 Therapeutic Exercise 1
PTA 112 Documentation Communication 3
PTA 120 Physical Therapist Assisting I 4
BIO 246 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4
ENG 102 English Composition II 3
 Total15
Second Semester
PTA 114 Pathology 3
PTA 122 Physical Therapist Assisting II 4
PTA 123 Clinical Practicum I 3
PTA 125 Kinesiology 4
 Total14
Third Semester
PTA 231 Physical Therapist Assisting III 5
PTA 232 Clinical Practicum II 5
CMS 215 Intercultural Communication 3
PSY 218 Human Growth and Development 3
 Total16
Fourth Semester
PTA 241 Physical Therapist Assisting IV 5
PTA 242 Clinical Practicum III 5
PTA 250 Physical Therapist Assistant Seminar 2
 Total12
 Program Total74

Current 2023-2024: Physical Therapist Assistant - Associate of Applied Science

Plan of Study Grid
Entrance RequirementsCredit Hours
BIO 110 Principles of Biology 4
ENG 101 English Composition I 3
HUM 216 Ethics 3
MTH 098 Intermediate Algebra 4
 Total14
First Semester
BIO 245 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4
PTA 110 Therapeutic Exercise 1
PTA 112 Documentation Communication 3
PTA 120 Physical Therapist Assisting I 4
PSY 100 Intro to Psychology 3
 Total15
Second Semester
BIO 246 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4
PTA 114 Pathology 3
PTA 122 Physical Therapist Assisting II 4
PTA 123 Clinical Practicum I 3
 Total14
First Summer Semester
PTA 125 Kinesiology 4
ENG 102 English Composition II 3
 Total7
Third Semester
PTA 231 Physical Therapist Assisting III 5
PTA 232 Clinical Practicum II 5
CMS 215 Intercultural Communication 3
PSY 218 Human Growth and Development 3
 Total16
Fourth Semester
PTA 241 Physical Therapist Assisting IV 5
PTA 242 Clinical Practicum III 5
PTA 250 Physical Therapist Assistant Seminar 2
 Total12
 Program Total78

Physical Therapist Assistant Courses

All PTA courses numbered 100 and above may be applied to the major field and elective requirement for the Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees.

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session For more details, go to elgin.edu/visitecc.

A criminal background check, and drug test are required for the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program. For more information please refer to elgin.edu/physicaltherapy.

PTA 110 Therapeutic Exercise (1)(.5,1)

Instruction in a variety of therapeutic exercises will be performed, for example: ROM, flexibility, stretching, strengthening with a variety of exercise equipment. The student will learn proper body alignment and posture during performance of exercises. Topics include basics of the exercise prescription to improve patient goals and outcomes while integrating postural concepts and safety awareness. Other topics will include safety related to guarding and monitoring physical status and physiological responses during exercise. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $282 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into Physical Therapist Assistant program

Semester(s) Offered: Fall

PTA 112 Documentation Communication (3)(3,0)

This course introduces forms of documentation with emphasis on the SOAP format. Medical terminology related to physical therapy and the healthcare environment is an integral part of the course. Legal and ethical procedures regarding documentation are discussed. Students will be able to document an accurate and effective SOAP note utilizing appropriate medical terminology at the conclusion of this course. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $466 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Physical Therapy Assistance Program

Semester(s) Offered: Fall

PTA 114 Pathology (3)(3,0)

This course will provide the student with the scientific study of the nature of various diseases and related causes, processes, development and consequences. Clinical application of knowledge will be expected in concurrent and following physical therapist assistant courses. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $446 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in PTA 122

Semester(s) Offered: Spring

PTA 120 Physical Therapist Assisting I (4)(3,2)

This course introduces the student to the history and principles of physical therapy; standards of practice and conduct for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants; the PT/PTA preferred relationship and respective roles and responsibilities; state and federal laws governing the practice of physical therapists and assistants; overview of the structure and organization of the U.S. health care system; general information about the professional organization and its impact on practice; principles and concepts related to patient practitioner interactions including psycho-social issues and cultural awareness; principles of patient education; documentation standards; basics of patient care services including transfers, assistive devices, patient instruction; data collection including vital signs, arousal, mentation and cognition; infection control measures; concepts of professional communications; basic clerical functions; and expected professional behaviors. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $828 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into PTA program; Grade of C or better in BIO 110 or BIO 113 or concurrent enrollment in BIO 110 or BIO 113 and concurrent enrollment in PTA 110 and PTA 112

Semester(s) Offered: Fall

PTA 122 Physical Therapist Assisting II (4)(2,4)

This course further develops and refines patient care skills acquired in PTA 120, with additional emphasis on range of motion, functional training, professional behavior and compliance with professional guidelines. Areas of study will include joint range of motion and measurement, basic pharmacology, introduction to soft tissue mobilization and massage, lymphatic drainage, study and practice of physical and electrotherapeutic agents, mechanical and manual traction. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $728 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in PTA 114 and PTA 123 and Grade of C or better in PTA 110, PTA 112, PTA 120 Grade of C or better in BIO 240 or BIO 246 or concurrent enrollment in BIO 240 or BIO 246

Semester(s) Offered: Spring

PTA 123 Clinical Practicum I (3)(0,9)

This clinical experience provides an opportunity to apply skills from PTA 120 and concurrent PTA 122 in a clinical setting under direct supervision of a clinical instructor. This first of three affiliations meets two eight hour days per week for nine weeks (144 hours total). Weekly academic projects will be completed with supervision of the clinical instructor emphasizing and utilizing the knowledge gained and correlating with PTA 122 classroom knowledge and skills. Completion of a 15 minute oral presentation, including educational supplemental materials, to the clinical staff members on a topic approved by the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) and Clinical Instructor (CI) is required. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $446 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in PTA 122

Semester(s) Offered: Spring

PTA 125 Kinesiology (4)(2,4)

Kinesiology is the study of human movement. The neuromuscular and musculskeletal systems and their function in relation to activity is presented. Instruction in biomechanics, kinetics, osteo- and arthrokinematics assists in understanding joint structure and muscle function. Each major joint of the musculoskeletal system is studied and accompanied by palpation and observation during laboratory activities. Topics also include pathomechanics, muscle physiology, physical laws and principles of leverage, posture and gait. All course information will be related to the application of clinical practice. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $628 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in PTA 114, PTA 122 and PTA 123

Semester(s) Offered: Summer

PTA 231 Physical Therapist Assisting III (5)(3,4)

This course further develops and refines patient care skills acquired in PTA 120 and PTA 122 with additional emphasis on fundamental orthopedic management and the musculoskeletal system. Participants will become familiar with interventions in rehabilitation of orthopedic surgeries and injuries commonly seen in physical therapy, associated interventions and data collection techniques. Specialized topics include wound care, burns, and considerations for specific and varied patient populations including orthopedics, sports injury, geriatrics, and joint replacement, uncomplicated pregnancy and post-partum status. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $960 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in PTA 125; concurrent enrollment in PTA 232

Semester(s) Offered: Fall

PTA 232 Clinical Practicum II (5)(0,15)

This clinical experience provides an opportunity to apply skills acquired in all previous PTA curriculum courses and concurrent PTA 231 in a clinical setting under direct supervision of a clinical instructor. This second of three affiliations meets three eight hour days per week for 10 weeks (total of 240 hours). The affiliation will try to be varied from the previous clinical experience and may be in one of the following settings: acute care, out patient, rehabilitation, pediatrics, skilled nursing facility, neuro or orthopedic setting. Completion of an oral presentation, including educational supplemental materials, to the clinical staff members on a topic approved by the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) and Clinical Instructor (CI) is required. Emphasis on utilizing the knowledge gained in current and previous PTA courses with safe demonstration of skills in the clinical setting. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $710 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in PTA 231

Semester(s) Offered: Fall

PTA 241 Physical Therapist Assisting IV (5)(3,4)

This course includes the theory and practice of skills needed in clinical practice as a PTA regarding interventions for patients needing amputation & prosthetic training, neurological deficits due to disease or trauma, common pediatric disorders, cardiac and pulmonary conditions. Other topics of study will include the psychosocial issues related to rehabilitation, environmental barriers and adaptive modifications, prescription wheel chair seating systems, a study of normal and abnormal motor development, neurotherapeutic rehabilitation techniques, and the effects of aging on functional movement across the lifespan. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $910 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in PTA 231 and PTA 232 and concurrent enrollment in PTA 242

Semester(s) Offered: Spring

PTA 242 Clinical Practicum III (5)(0,15)

Supervised clinical practice in a physical therapy department or facility. Students will have the opportunity and be expected to apply skills and knowledge learned in all prior PTA classroom and clinical courses, including knowledge and skills concurrently taught in PTA 241. This third rotation is a full time, 40 hours per week, for six weeks clinical experience for a total of 240 clinical hours. Completion of an oral presentation, including educational supplemental materials, to the clinical staff member on a topic approved by the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) and Clinical Instructor (CI) is required; as well as a project for the clinical site. Emphasis on utilizing the knowledge gained in the PTA program with demonstration of critical thinking and problem solving abilities related to the clinical setting expected. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $710 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in PTA 241

Semester(s) Offered: Spring

PTA 250 Physical Therapist Assistant Seminar (2)(2,0)

Course explores current issues in Physical Therapy, including career options, professional organizations and governmental regulations. The role of the PTA as an integral member of the health care team is discussed. Students prepare for the physical therapist assistant licensing exam. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and come to an information session .

In-District Tuition/Fees: $414 (effective 2023/24 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in PTA 241 and PTA 242

Semester(s) Offered: Spring