The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) works with patients under the direction of a licensed physical therapist and implements therapeutic programs which could include the application of physical agents (such as heat, cold, water, electricity) as well as massage, exercise, and functional activities. The PTA also observes the patients during treatment and reports progress to the physical therapist.
Physical therapy patients are those who have not developed or have lost the ability to carry out everyday life skills due to disability, accident, injury, or illness. The goal of physical therapy is to assist patients in learning and improving life skills such as walking and moving about with braces, artificial limbs, and other assistive devices.
Degree and Certificate Programs
The Kapi‘olani CC Physical Therapist Assistant program offers an associate in science (AS).
- Associate In Science, Physical Therapist Assistant (72-73 credits)The purpose of this curriculum is to prepare students for licensure and employment as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) in Hawai‘i and the United States with the knowledge and abilities to provide care in the variety of settings requiring the rehabilitation of patients who were born with a disability or are disabled as a result of illness, injury, or accident. The Physical Therapist Assistant works under the direction and supervision of Licensed Physical Therapists (PTs). PTAs implement the plan of care developed by the PT following the standards in the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, APTA Core Values, individual state practice acts and the APTA policies. The PTA program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
A graduate of the program is allowed to practice as a PTA in Hawai‘i and is eligible to take the examination for a license in states that require a PTA to be licensed.
Aptitudes and interests that may be helpful include a desire to make a difference in people’s lives, interest in science and technology, compassion, sensitivity, problem-solving and communication skills, and the ability to follow instructions.