Skip to Content Skip to Navigation


The Physical Therapist Assistant program is a selective admission, limited enrollment program.  Admission to Gulf Coast State College does not imply acceptance into the Physical Therapist Assistant program.  Before beginning this program of study please review the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Application, which contains a current listing of admission and course requirements.

PLEASE NOTE:  General education courses may be taken during the PTA Program; however, applicants are strongly encouraged to begin work on the general education courses prior to entry into the program.

Completion of Anatomy & Physiology I (BSC 2085 & BSC 2085L) prior to starting the PTA program is suggested but not required.  Extra points will be awarded for earning a "C" or better in Anatomy & Physiology I & II.  Extra points will also be awarded for  earning a “B” or better in Medical Terminology if completed prior to the application deadline.

Observation/Work Hours:  Observation hours of a licensed PT or PTA are optional but highly encouraged.  There is a form in the application for documentation of the hours, which will count toward extra points on the admission rubric provided a minimum of 40 hours are obtained.

Once accepted into the program the following is required:

  • Satisfactory Criminal Background Check
  • Satisfactory Drug Screening
  • Documentation of Immunizations
  • Physical Examination with clearance to perform technical standards listed below:

Physical Therapist Assistant Program Technical Standards

A physical therapist assistant is a health care professional whose primary responsibility is to work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist and perform duties in a clinical setting. In addition to the duties of the profession, the physical therapist assistant must always be aware of the patient's condition and needs and be able to interact appropriately. 

(Not All Inclusive)
Cognitive Qualifications Sufficient Reading, Language and Math Skills; Ability to collect and  integrate information to make a decision for patient care

Able to comprehend and interpret written material. Follow and deliver written and oral direction

Able to comprehend & apply new
knowledge within  scope of work
Critical Thinking Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment; synthesize information from written material and apply knowledge to clinical situations

Identify cause-effect relationships in clinical situations

Read and comprehend relevant information in textbooks, medical records and professional literature

Make rapid decisions under pressure

Handle multiple priorities in stressful situations

Assist with problem solving
Interpersonal Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, educational, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds

Establish rapport with individuals. Cope effectively with stress

Can exchange ideas in a group (work
effectively as part of a team)

Cope with confrontation

Demonstrate a high degree of patience

Graciously admit mistakes and accept constructive  criticism
Communication Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and non-verbal form (speech, reading, and writing)

Explain treatment procedures 

Give effective instructions to patients and families

Demonstrate active listening skills. Recognize, interpret and respond to non-verbal behavior of self and others

Keep accurate, ethical logs and records of treatment and  charges with correct spelling and grammar
Mobility Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room, to maneuver in small spaces and to perform procedures necessary for emergency intervention

Maintain positions including sitting, standing, squatting, kneeling, reaching
(above shoulder level), walking, stair  climbing, and movement of trunk and
neck in all directions for an extended amount of time. (up to 4  hours)

Able to push, pull, and/or lift a minimum of 50-70 lbs., and push/ pull, or move such weight a minimum of 50 feet.

Safely and effectively transfer a 200-300lb patient with assistance

Able to lift up to 10 lbs. above head

Able to endure and successfully complete a 40 hour work week during clinical education courses
Motor Skills Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective patient care

Handle and use equipment

Position patients

Perform repetitive tasks

Able to grip
Hearing Normal, corrected or aided - Auditory ability sufficient to interpret verbal communication from patients and health care team members

Hear monitor alarms, emergency signals,  and cries for  help

Hear telephone interactions
Visual Normal or corrected  -  Visual acuity sufficient for observation and assessment necessary for patient assessment

Observe patient responses

Identify and distinguish colors
Tactile Tactile ability sufficient for gross and fine motor coordination necessary for manual assessment of tissues

Perform palpation, functions of physical
examination  and/or those related to therapeutic intervention

Tactile abilities needed to palpate pulses, detect changes in texture, body contour, muscle tone, and  joint movement
Professionalism Ability to demonstrate professional behaviors and a strong work ethic

Demonstrate respect, moral and ethical behaviors in all  academic and professional settings

Demonstrate time management skills that promote punctual attendance to class, lab and clinical settings

Recognize personal limitations and request assistance as appropriate

Present professional appearance and maintain personal hygiene
Gulf Coast State College does not discriminate against any person in its programs, activities, policies or procedures on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, marital status, religion, age, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. All questions or inquiries regarding compliance with laws relating to non-discrimination and all complaints regarding sexual misconduct or discrimination, may be directed to Lee Wood, Executive Director, Human Resources/Title II/504/Title IX Coordinator and Employment Equity Officer, Gulf Coast State College, 5230 W. US Highway 98, Panama City, FL 32401.