The Physical Therapist Assistant is a skilled, licensed healthcare worker who performs delegated interventions and data collection under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist. The Physical Therapist Assistant provides physical therapy services to decrease pain, increase mobility, and increase function. The Physical Therapist Assistant Program (PTA) consists of general education and physical therapy courses which are designed to fulfill the objectives of the program. Concurrent theoretical and clinical experiences enhance the relation of theory to practice for the student. Clinical experience is provided in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, and nursing homes. The freshman year consists of thirty-four (34) semester hours of general education prerequisites. Physical therapy course work begins in the sophomore year and totals thirty-nine (39) cumulative hours. Students must make a minimum grade of 77 for advancement. Students may repeat a course once if the 77 grade point average is not earned.
Special Note: HIV/HBV
As members of the healthcare team, students are at risk of exposure to blood and body fluids. The exposure to blood or body fluids carries with it the potential to be infected with pathogens that cause HIV, which can become Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and/or Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). To date, no vaccine is available to prevent HIV/AIDS, and no antiviral drugs are available to cure HIV/AIDS. A safe and effective Hepatitis B Vaccine used in the prevention of HBV infection is available. This vaccine is recommended for health care workers and can be obtained from the Public Health Department or a private physician for a fee.
Clinical Affiliating Agency Policies
Clinical affiliating agencies require Bishop State Community College physical therapist assistant students to consent to a drug screen and criminal background check. Physical therapist assistant students enrolled in the College PTA program are required to abide by all policies of the assigned affiliating clinical agencies including, but not limited to, security checks, ID badges, orientations, parking regulations, smoking, and dress code policies. Clinical affiliating agencies have the option of denying clinical access to a student based upon criminal background check and or drug screening. The cost of the background checks and drug screen is the responsibility of the student.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, 1111 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, telephone 1-703-706-3245
Legal Limitation of Licensure/Practice
The Alabama Board of Physical Therapy shall refuse to issue a license to any person and after notice and hearing in accordance with its regulations and rules shall suspend or revoke the license of any person who has: (1) practiced physical therapy without a referral, (2) used drugs or intoxicating liquors to an extent which affects his or her professional competency, (3) been convicted of a felony or of a crime involving moral turpitude, (4) attempted to gain a license by fraud or deception, (5) been adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction, (6) been convicted of violating any state or federal narcotic law or (7) other behaviors unbecoming or illegal of a PT or PTA. Any questions regarding the legal limitations of licensure/practice should be directed to the Director of the PTA program immediately before pursuit of the PTA degree.
The Admission Process
Admission Point System for selection to the second year of the program is posted on the website at www.bishop.edu. Students are advised to check the website periodically for updates prior to contacting the PTA Program.
Admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program is limited to students chosen by the Selection Committee. The number of students admitted to the class is based on the availability of space, faculty, equipment, and clinical placement sites. Minimum requirements for consideration are the following:
- Application to the College;
- Application to the PTA Program (all components);
- Official transcripts of all previously completed college work submitted to the Admissions and Records Office;
- Applicants with transfer credits are required to have a transcript evaluation completed in the Counselor’s Office on the Baker-Gaines Central Campus prior to submitting the application to the PTA program.
- Completion of all prerequisites with a grade point average of 2.75 or better. No D’s are accepted by the PTA program;
- Fifty (50) hours minimum volunteer or work experience in a physical therapy department is required. Students are required to observe/volunteer for at least twenty-five (25) hours in two different clinical practice settings (for example, hospital, outpatient clinic, or skilled nursing facility). At least twenty-five (25) hours must be in a hospital (acute care) setting. Home Health hours are not accepted. Volunteer hours and verification forms must be completed within one (1) year of the application deadline. A representative from each setting shall document the number of hours the student completed.
- Physical Therapist Assistant Program forms will be provided by the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.
- Admission requirements and number of admissions per year are subject to change without prior notice.
- Three letters of recommendations should be emailed directly to the PTA department. Please check the website for details and requested format.
- All applicants must achieve a minimum composite score on the ACT, SAT or college placement tests. These scores must be within five (5) years of the application deadline. There are no exceptions.
- An essay must be submitted with the application the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Essay topics are on the application. Please check the website for details.
- Admission points are awarded for maintaining a 3.0 or better for one (1) semester with thirteen (13) or more credit hours. These hours must reflect one (1) science course and two academic courses required for admission. Students must submit a copy of the semester on an unofficial transcript to the PTA Program with the application for consideration.
- Admission points are awarded for prerequisite courses taken at Bishop State Community College. Please see the program website for admission point scale.
- Admission points are awarded for graduates of Mobile and Washington County High Schools.
- Admissions points are awarded for students with an earned bachelor’s degree in a related field. Applicants should visit the PTA Program website at https://www.bishop.edu/programs/health-science-professions/physical-therapist-assistant, for applications, verification forms, and other information. If you have additional questions, please contact the PTA Program Office on the Baker-Gaines Central Campus for program information. Please check the program website for updates and changes to program requirements.
Admission Requirements - Updated April 2020
- Please submit an application for general admission to Bishop State Community College. This may be done Online.
- Request official copies of all transcripts from each college or university attended. Confirm that all spring semester course transcripts have been received at Bishop State Community College prior to the June 1st deadline. They should be sent to the following address:
Office of Student Development Services
Central Campus, Room 106
1365 Dr. Martin Luther King Ave.
Mobile, AL 36603
- Students must request ACT or SAT scores to be sent to Bishop State Community College by the deadline. Documentation of scores must also be attached to the application. Students who have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher may be exempt from having ACT or SAT scores.
- Students are required to complete a minimum of 50 volunteer hours or paid time at TWO different types of clinical settings (hospital, nursing home, or outpatient clinic). Hours of observation must be performed under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant and documented on the verification of work/volunteer hours form. A minimum of 25 hours is required at each location. These forms should be mailed/brought to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program office (Room 122) by May 15th.
- A proctored College Entrance Essay is required. The essay is to be between 450 - 500 words. Applicants will be able to call the Program office to schedule a time for the essay in the months of April and May prior to the application deadline. Students will be given a choice of topics to choose from. The Program phone number is (251) 405-4441.
- PTA students are required to pass a drug screen and a background check prior to attending clinical education experiences. Students may need to contact the Alabama Board of Physical Therapy regarding regulations for licensure if there is a history of drug dependency, mental or emotional disorders or conviction of a criminal offense.
- Students are required to submit the names of references on the application which should include a 1. Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant, 2. College Instructor in a prerequisite course, and 3. Employer or person you have worked with either for pay or as a volunteer. Please inform the reference that you have selected them to complete the reference form.
There are 2 options for submitting a completed application:
- Applications may be mailed to the PTA Program on Central Campus (Be advised this option requires reference letters to be in a separate sealed envelops, with the signature of the reference across the seal.)
- Applications (including voluntary & reference forms) may be submitted electronically via firstname.lastname@example.org
It is the student’s responsibility to verify the Program’s receipt of a completed application.
Special Program Requirements
Prior to beginning the first clinical affiliation, students must have successfully completed the requirements for the Basic Life Support Certificate for the Healthcare Provider (BLS-C) and basic first aid.