Physical Therapist Assistant Program

A Physical therapist assistant student working with a client.

Elgin Community College’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program can be completed in five semesters over two years, including a 10-week summer semester. If you’re passionate about physical fitness, wellness, and helping others, becoming a physical therapist assistant (PTA) could be your ideal career. Graduates of the program earn an Associate in Applied Science degree (AAS) in Physical Therapist Assisting and are eligible to take the required PTA state licensure examination, which prepares you for entry-level employment in the physical therapy environment.

As a physical therapist assistant, you will work under the direction and supervision of licensed physical therapists (PT) to help people of all ages address a variety of health issues and medical diagnoses. Your understanding of kinesiology and biology will inform how you use exercise and movement to help your patients reduce pain and gain mobility, with the ultimate goal of restoring optimal function. Successful PTAs have exceptional communication skills and enjoy working with people of all ages and abilities. ECC’s program teaches you how to move your patients safely, operate treatment and mobility equipment, problem-solve effectively, and work collaboratively with other members of a healthcare team.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program Accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Elgin Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org ; website: capteonline.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call the Health Professions Office 847-214-7956.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program Curriculum


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program consists of 71-74 credit hours. It can be completed in two years. The curriculum consists of classroom components as well as laboratory components. PTA students complete three clinical rotations, in which they learn under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist (PT).

Get additional information, including course listings and course descriptions.

Careers in Physical Therapy

A successful PTA exhibits empathy and understanding for patients with all types of illnesses and disabilities while demonstrating competency in knowledge and clinical skills. A career in physical therapy is challenging but extremely rewarding. Common areas of employment include:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Outpatient sites
  • Home health
  • Private practice
  • Pediatric
  • Long-term care settings

Find out more about PTA careers and work settings from the American Physical Therapy Association.

Planning to Transfer


Interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree after completing your Physical Therapist Assistant associate degree? Learn more about pursuing a bachelor’s degree, earning summer credits for transfer, or dual admissions with one of our partner universities by visiting University Transfer & Partnerships.

Learn more about the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at ECC!

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