Individuals in Georgia who are interested in becoming a physical therapy assistant (PTA) may complete requisite training at one of 10 area schools. Such training programs lead to the award of an associate's degree in the field and may usually be completed in about two years' time. In addition to traditional classroom learning, PTA students will complete practicum requirements, often in the form of clinical rotations.
Athens Technical College
Located in Athens, this technical college offers a physical therapist assistant associate degree program that can be completed in 5 semesters and requires 80 semester hours for graduation. The program blends classroom, lab and clinical instruction. The coursework covers anatomy and physiology, patient care, rehabilitation, pathology and kinesiology. Students must receive a minimum grade of C in the PTA courses. The program prepares students to take the National Physical Therapy Exam for physical therapy assistants required for licensure.
Atlanta Technical College
The 5-semester associate degree program offered at this technical college in Atlanta trains aspiring physical therapist assistants. Applicants must pass a background test and drug screen for admission, and are also required to have a valid CPR card. This program provides 27 hours of general courses and 53 hours of PTA courses. Topics covered include computers, functional anatomy and kinesiology, physical therapy procedures, medical terminology and clinical education.
Chattahoochee Technical College
Chattahoochee Technical College offers a physical therapist assistant program at its North Metro campus located in Acworth. A full-time student who has already completed the prerequisites can graduate in 4 semesters. This program requires 82 credit hours for completion and includes courses in kinesiology, rehabilitation, pathology and patient care skills. Students must also complete 3 clinical education courses.
Darton State College
Albany's Darton State College has an Associate of Science program that requires students receiving physical therapist assistant instruction to earn 76 credit hours for graduation. Students must complete at least 29 credit hours of prerequisite courses in the first 3 semesters before beginning coursework in the major; completion of the prerequisites does not guarantee admission to the program. The PTA courses cover topics like applied neurology and gait analysis, orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation, personal growth and development, clinical pathology and therapeutic exercise.
A license from the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy is required to work as a physical therapist assistant (PTA) in Georgia. Candidates must complete a physical therapist assistant program, pass the national licensing exam and pass the Georgia Jurisprudence Exam to receive the license.
An overview of each of the 4 Georgia public schools offering physical therapist assistant programs is provided below.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Athens Technical College||2-year, public; midsize city||Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Applied Science||$2,684 in-state; $4,820 out-of-state*|
|Atlanta Technical College||2-year, public; large city||Physical Therapist Assistant Associate Degree||$2,746 in-state; $4,882 out-of-state*|
|Chattahoochee Technical College||2-year, public; large suburb||Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Applied Science||$2,682 in-state; $4,818 out-of-state*|
|Darton State College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; small city||Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science||$3,395 in-state; $9,470 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.