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Academics

Union County College

Physical Therapist Assistant FAQs

Q: How can I decide if becoming a PTA is right for me?

A: The best way is to observe and/or volunteer in Physical Therapy Departments in a variety of settings, i.e. hospitals, rehab centers, private practices. This should give you a good idea of the work involved.

Q: Can I complete the program as a part-time student?

A: You can complete the prerequisite courses as a part-time student. Once you are accepted into the PTA professional courses, it becomes a full-time day program.

Q: Can I work during the program?

A: Course work is 21 to 40 hours per week, depending upon the semester.  Past student performance has indicated that it is extremely difficult to work more than 4 6 hours per week. We recommend that you contact the financial aid office to discuss other options.

Q: What is the difference between an assistant and a Therapist?

A: The physical therapist evaluates the client, plans and implements treatment programs. They have in-depth knowledge of the physiological effects of treatments. At present, entry level is a Masters degree or a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

The physical therapist assistant, according to NJ state law, implements basic treatment programs under the direct supervision of a physical therapist. Entry level is an Associate degree.

Q: If my career goal is to become a physical therapist, is it best to enter the PTA program first?

A: No, our program is considered a career program.  Since professional course work generally does not transfer, you will not save any time by first becoming a PTA. Entry into a PT program is extremely competitive. If you are strong academically and want to be a PT, you should pursue that goal.

Q: How do I contact the State Board of Physical Therapy?

A: The State Board of Physical Therapy is responsible for the regulation of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in New Jersey. Inquiries or complaints may be forwarded to Ms. Lisa Affinito, Board of Physical Therapy, PO Box 45014, Newark, NJ 07101, (973) 504-6455 or email.