Image of students in a physical therapy class at Hodges University.
Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
Program Delivery: On Campus
This is a hands-on program offered on the Naples campus.

Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Associate Degree

Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code: 51.0806O*NET OnlineBureau of Labor Statistics

The Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program is designed to provide students with entry-level skills and knowledge to work under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist in the rehabilitation of patients with musculoskeletal and/or neuromuscular deficits, disease or disorders. 

Graduates of the program will be eligible to take the national licensing board exam required to practice in the field of physical therapy. Students will be considered biomedical sciences majors prior to applying and being accepted to the PTA Program. Students not accepted into the PTA program may continue toward a degree in biomedical sciences or other related majors.

The Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant program at Hodges University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:


Is a Career as a Physical Therapist Assistant Right for Me?

If you have a desire to help people, are looking for a position in health care and are looking for a career that includes a component of physical activity, a position as a physical therapist assistant might be right for you.

Physical therapist assistants typically exhibit the following qualities:

  • Compassion - You will work with people who are in pain and should be able to empathize.
  • Dexterity - You should be comfortable working with your hands to provide manual therapy like massage and therapeutic exercises.
  • Physical Stamina - You will spend much of your time on your feet and should enjoy physical activity.
  • Strong Interpersonal Skills - Working with people is the most important part of a physical therapist assistant position. You should be able to communicate treatment programs, listen to patients concerns and educate your patients.
  • Strong Analytic and Observational Skills - A physical therapist assistant should be able to think critically and make appropriate decisions in order to provide safe and effective care. 

Check out our blog post, Build Your Future as a Physical Therapist Assistant for more information on this rewarding career.

What is the Physical Therapist Assistant Career Outlook?

Employment of physical therapist assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.


What Can I Do with This Degree?

Physical therapist assistants help licensed physical therapists provide care to patients. Under the direction and supervision of physical therapists, they treat patients through exercise, massage, gait and balance training, and other therapeutic interventions. Physical therapist assistants record patients’ progress and report the results of each treatment to the physical therapist.

Physical therapist assistants typically do the following:

  • Observe patients before, during and after therapy, noting patient status and reporting it to a physical therapist.
  • Help patients do specific exercises as part of the plan of care.
  • Treat patients using a variety of techniques, such as massage and stretching.
  • Use devices and equipment, such as walkers, to help patients.
  • Educate a patient and family members about what to do after treatment.

What Will I Learn?

A full-time student, 12 semester hour credits per term or typically three courses per term, can complete this program in approximately two years.

The Associate in Science in the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program is a hands-on program offered on the Hodges University Naples campus only and is a day program – Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The PTA program also includes two internships consisting of 40 hours a week for seven weeks in Summer Term B and eight weeks in Fall Term B.

The PTA Core is a full-time, day program. Students will attend class or internships five days a week for three consecutive semesters and must complete the coursework together as a cohort. 

View the Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant 

Program Curriculum Guide and Optimum Sequence of Course Work

Find more detailed information in the University Catalog

How is Hodges University’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program Different?

Our Program is Accredited

The Associate in Science in Physical Therapist Assistant program at Hodges University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; Phone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:


You Can Complete the Program in Two Years or Less

Our PTA program is the only one in the area that can be completed in two years or less.

Our Professors and Program Chair

Our instructors have practical experience and are dedicated to providing individualized personal attention. Dr. Cynthia Vaccarino, the PTA program chair, has worked as a physical therapist in a variety of settings including acute care, outpatient, neurology, orthopedics, trauma, skilled nursing facility and home health. She has designed, developed and taught the annual Post-Acute Stroke Symposium for Lee Memorial Health Systems and continues to be a resource to the health system and the community. She is an active member of the Florida Physical Therapy Association (FPTA) and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Get Started Today and Apply Now!

Complete a Hodges University Application

PTA Admissions Requirements

  • Prerequisites must be completed or in process at the time of application deadline to the entry-level PTA program.
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.75 and a science GPA of 2.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Twenty-four (24) hours of observation hours under a licensed PT or PTA must be documented and submitted by application deadline.
  • Official transcripts must be on file from all other educational institutions attended.
  • Application and acceptance to Hodges University.

PTA Admissions Procedures

Applications will be accepted beginning June 1, 2017 through October 31, 2017* for January 2018 admission.

*Please note, the application deadline has been extended from September 30 to October 31 due to the effects of Hurricane Irma.

Step 1:  Complete Hodges University Application (above).

Step 2:  Complete PTA Application.

Step 3:  Submit official transcripts by mail to 2655 Northbrooke Drive, Naples, FL 34119 or submit online.

Step 4:  Fax completed PTA Observation Verification Form to 239-236-1453.

If qualifications are met, students will be invited to an interview in October.

Need More Information?

You may also contact us to speak to an admissions coordinator who will guide you through the application and admissions process. To speak to an admissions coordinator call us at 1-800-466-8017 (Naples) or 1-800-466-0019 (Fort Myers), use our contact form, email or schedule a one-on-one visit to tour one of our campuses.

Your Admissions Coordinator will:

  • Help you complete the applications, obtain necessary transcripts and schedule your admissions test (if necessary).
  • Coordinate the Financial Aid process with a Financial Aid Professional and refer you to your Academic Advisor for class scheduling.
  • Give you information regarding your orientation. 

    We look forward to welcoming you to the Hodges family!

    PTA Program Graduate Goals:


    1. Demonstrate the ability to provide professional, safe, competent physical therapy services required of the entry level PTA.
    2. Demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking skills and research ability to comply with evidenced based practice methods and current healthcare standards.
    3. Demonstrate the ability to recognize and treat a variety of patients in a professional and culturally sensitive manner while using evidenced based practices and application.
    4. Demonstrate the ability to communicate both written and verbally in an effective and profession manner.


    Hodges PTA Program Graduate Data:

    Number of students accepted into the PTA Program  10 111919
    Graduation rate 100% 91% 95%  81%
    Percent of students who sat for the national boards and passed  88.8% 87.5% 100%  100%
    Number of graduates licensed as PTA's 8 7 17 11
    Percent of licensed PTA's employed 100% 100% 100%  100%

    Your Faculty Members

    Cynthia Vaccarino
    Program Chair, Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
    Jeanne Csuy
    Adjunct Faculty
    Spotlight on Success
    Lisa Perry 300x200
    Lisa Perry , Physical Therapist Assistant 2016
    I am thankful for the quality of education I receive at Hodges and the caliber of instruction I have received.

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