Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dixie State University’s PTA program accredited?

Yes. As of November 9, 2011, Dixie State University of Utah Physical Therapist Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education:

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Who is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

A physical therapist assistant (PTA) is a health care provider who works under the supervision of a physical therapist (PT). They do hands-on care for people who need to recover from injuries to the bones and joints, brain and nerves, problems with pain, developmental complications, and other movement problems. Their main purpose is to assist people with reaching their maximum level of health and function. They help people to recover their ability to walk, to heal from wounds, and to learn to work and live with the effects of injuries and other health problems.

Physical therapists are responsible for evaluating and treating people who need physical therapy care. They identify problems that physical therapy can address, create goals, and decide what treatment the person will receive. PTs supervise all care given by the PTA.

What is the Demand For PTAs? What will I earn when I’m done?

As with all professions, health care worker demand goes up and down. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states, however that the PTA profession is to, “…increase much faster than average…” and that job prospects are, “…very good.” The median wage throughout the country is approximately $42,000.00/year.

Where do PTAs work?

PTAs usually work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, schools, home health – actually, anywhere that physical therapists work. They only work with physical therapists – this is exclusive and required by professional ethics, codes of conduct, and by law.

What degree will I earn?

Once the PTA program is accredited, students will earn the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. The degree will allow graduates to sit for the state board examination and become licensed to practice.

Is there licensure for PTAs in Utah?

As of July 1, 2009 PTA licensure is required for all practicing assistants. In order to receive a license to practice, an individual must graduate from an accredited PTA program and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

Will a PTA degree apply toward a PT degree?

It is important to understand that achieving a physical therapist assistant A.A.S. degree does not prepare students to become physical therapists. These are two separate careers and the degree requirements are not the same.

The physical therapist degree is a Doctorate. Colleges and universities that offer physical therapist degrees are the best sources for more information. A listing of schools that offer the DPT degree can be found at

What are the Prerequisites to the program?

  • BIOL 2320/2325 Human Anatomy/Lab*
    • 4/1 Credit(s)
  • BIOL 2420/2425Human Physiology/Lab*
    • 3/1 Credit(s)
  • PTA 1010 – Introduction to Physical Therapy
    • 2 Credit(s)
  • HLOC 1000 – Medical Terminology
    • 2 Credit(s)

*Must have been taken within the past 7 years.
Observation or Work Experience: Students must arrange for at least 16 hours of observation in a physical therapy care setting. Dixie State University does not arrange this; it is the responsibility of the student. Students who have worked as a physical therapy aide, CNA on a rehabilitation floor or other PT setting, or have been a PT patient may have the observation requirement waived.

Criminal Background Check: Students must have the official criminal background check completed prior to entry into the program. No student will be accepted into the PTA program with a record of criminal activity.

What are the General Education requirements (those courses that are not prerequisites but are necessary to complete the program and the A.A.S. degree)?

Note: The following courses may be taken prior to acceptance into the program or may be integrated while taking the PTA courses. Please see one of the program faculty or the advisor for help in planning your educational path.

  • COMM 1020 or 2110 – Interpersonal Comm.
    • 3 Credits
  • ENGL 1010 or ENGL 1010A or ENGL 1010D- Introduction to Writing
    • 0-4 Credits
  • ENGL 2010 or ENGL 2010A -Intermediate Writing
    • 3 Credits
  • FCS 1500 or PSY 1100 – Human Development
    • 3 Credits
  • MATH 1030 or MATH 1040/1040A or MATH 1050 or higher – Quantitative Reasoning
    • 3-5 Credits

What are the total credits for the PTA degree?

  • Prerequisites/General Education
    • 25-30 Credits
  • PTA Program
    • 51 Credits
    • 76-81 Credits

Can I transfer credits from other colleges?

Yes, Dixie State University will accept many courses from other colleges and universities. Not all courses will transfer and apply to the requirements of the PTA program. Decisions in this regard will be based on each individual case. DSU PTA programs policy on credit transfer is available at: This Link

Is there a time limit for any of the General Education courses? Can I repeat a prerequisite to improve my grade?

Please note that human anatomy and physiology courses must have been taken within the past 7 years. If you took these courses before that, you’ll need to re-take them. This will be beneficial to you as you refresh your knowledge in an area central to physical therapy. This applies only to anatomy and physiology.

Any prerequisite course may be re-taken only 1 time to improve a grade.

How much will the PTA program cost?

Once accepted into the PTA Program, a resident can expect the approximate cost to complete the Physical Therapist Assistant Program to be $11,000.00. Non-resident costs are higher; please see the Financial Aid Office. Please note that this is for information purposes only and is likely to change. The approximate cost includes tuition, lab and other fees, and books. For further information and assistance, please see Dixie State University’s Financial Aid Office.

Students accepted into the PTA Program will be going to school, studying, and attending clinical education for approximately 18 months. Students are advised not to consider employment while in the program. Some individuals are able to work part-time but must have a very flexible schedule that also allows for extended times off. Most students are not employed while in the program.

Where can I find the programs Policies and Procedures and the Student Handbook?

The DSU PTA program Student Handbook & Policies and Procedures are available upon request. To make a request please fill out the form below.

PTA Handbook and Policy Request

How do I get started?

The PTA program will accept 16 students each year. New classes of program students start in the fall semester of each year. Admission is based on the grade point average of the above prerequisite courses (with Human Anatomy weighted more heavily) and scores achieved on the PSB Health Occupations Aptitude Examination. Applicants must have an overall GPA of at least 2.7 in order to apply with a least a 2.5 lecture and lab average in Anatomy.

Other requirements include, but are not limited to, a CPR certificate, drug screen, TB test, immunizations, and other essentials which will be required during the first semester of the program. A criminal background check is required prior to admission and may, depending upon the results, exclude a student from admission to the program.

To download the PTA program student application click here