Physical therapy assisting students learn to work with physical therapists to assist patients who are recovering from injury or living with a disability. In Michigan, there are several public and private not-for-profit colleges and universities that offer training in the field. Most physical therapy assistant (PTA) programs are offered at the associate degree level, though one school listed in this article offers a bachelor's degree for those students who already possess an associate degree. In addition to classroom studies in such topics as kinesiology, exercise practices, therapeutic rehabilitation techniques and orthopedics, students complete clinical learning experiences.
Baker College has 13 campuses located throughout Michigan, including in Allen Park, Flint, Muskegon and Auburn Hills. The college's Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant program is offered at these four locations and can be completed in 110 hours. Coursework provides students with the knowledge and techniques to assist in physical therapy treatment. In addition to general education requirements, course topics include motor control, therapeutic exercise, functional mobility, PTA techniques, kinesiology, and pathophysiology. Clinical experience is also part of the program.
Located in University Center, Delta College offers both a regular and accelerated physical therapy assistant associate's degree program. The regular option allows students to complete general education requirements at their own pace, while the accelerated option requires students to complete them in one semester. Students in both programs take courses in patient mobility, orthopedic rehabilitation, neuro-rehabilitation techniques, occupational wellness, and other courses.
Located in Hancock, Finlandia University's Physical Therapist Assistant Associate in Applied Science program can be completed in two or three years. Students earn 73 credits by earning 38 credits in the major, 26 in general education courses and 9 credits in classes outside of the major. Along with clinical practice and clinical education courses, students take other major classes, such as anatomy, clinical orthopedics, therapeutic modalities and geriatric physical therapy assisting. Students develop skills in communication and critical thinking, and, upon graduation, have the ability to work in various settings.
Henry Ford Community College
Henry Ford Community College is located in Dearborn and awards an Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant. To earn the degree, students are required to complete 77 credits and take courses in therapeutic techniques, exercise techniques, kinesiology, orthopedics and neurological conditions. Two clinical externships are also part of the program.
Kellogg Community College
Kellogg Community College is located in Battle Creek, and students can complete an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant program in five semesters. While the program is 70-71 credits, 42 of those credits are within the major. In addition to clinical experience requirements, students take courses in kinesiology, neurology, orthopedics, and physical therapy techniques.
Macomb Community College
Located in Warren, the PTA associate's degree program at Macomb Community College is 65.5 credits in length and features three clinical internships. Courses cover topics in joint structure and function, physical therapy procedures, kinesiology, life span development, rehabilitation techniques, and musculoskeletal physical therapy.
Mott Community College
The Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Applied Science program at Mott College, located in Flint, requires 63 credits to complete. Students in the program learn about musculoskeletal conditions and interventions, rehabilitation procedures, healthcare management, and data collection. Clinical practice is also part of the program.
Sienna Heights University
Sienna Heights University is located in Adrian and features a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy Assisting program. Applicants are required to earn an Associate of Applied Science before applying and can transfer up to 90 credits from another college. In order to accommodate students, courses are available during the day, evening, weekend and online.
Washtenaw Community College
Located in Ann Arbor, students at Washtenaw Community College can pursue a physical therapy assistant associate's degree. The program is 65 credits long and features courses in physical therapy fundamentals, therapeutic exercise, soft tissue management, and clinical education. The school has an articulation agreement with Eastern Michigan University for those who want to continue their education at the bachelor's degree level.
Individuals who want to work as PTAs in the state of Michigan must graduate with an associate's degree and earn licensure by passing the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). Graduation from all the programs profiled below can lead to taking the licensing exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Physical Therapy Assistant Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Baker College||4-year, private, not-for-profit; various campus settings||Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant||$9,800*|
|Delta College||2-year, public; rural fringe||Associate in Applied Science - Physical Therapist Assistant|| $4,010 in-district,
|Finlandia University||4-year, private not-for-profit; remote town||Physical Therapist Assistant Associate in Applied Science||$22,758*|
|Henry Ford Community College||2-year, public; small city||Physical Therapist Assistant Associate in Applied Science|| $3,124 in-district,
|Kellogg Community College||2-year, public; small city||Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant|| $3,928 in-district,
|Macomb Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant|| $3,375 in-district,
|Mott College||2-year, public; midsize city||Physical Therapist Assistant Associate in Applied Science|| $4,080 in-district,
|Sienna Heights University||4-year, private not-for-profit; distant town||Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy Assisting||$27,124*|
|Washtenaw Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant|| $2,520 in-district,
Source: *NCES College Navigator.