Sep 25, 2021  
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-2021 
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physical Therapist Assistant

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Chair: Christopher Stewart

Faculty: Mandy Sharpe, Christopher Stewart

Program Director: Christopher Stewart

Mission Statement

The mission of the PTA Program is to develop competent and professional physical therapist assistants able to work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist through a comprehensive curriculum based on contemporary physical therapy practice. Graduates will meet the needs of the community; perform duties in an ethical and culturally competent manner while reflecting traditional Christian values; and will understand the values of lifelong learning and service.

Program Outcomes

The graduate will:

  1. The Physical Therapist Assistant Program will graduate competent entry-level physical therapist assistants able to work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.
  2. Program faculty will provide students with a positive learning environment and a comprehensive curriculum based on contemporary, evidence-based physical therapy.
  3. The PTA Program will prepare graduates to effectively communicate in a culturally competent manner with patients and caregivers from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
  4. The PTA Program will promote the importance of personal and professional development through life-long learning, service opportunities, and membership in professional organizations.

Professional Accreditation

Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; phone, 703-706-3245; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Effective April 30, 2019, Southern Adventist University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email:  If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 423-236-2858 or email

Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in technical/professional courses.  Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.

Associate Program

The enrollment and completion of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Southern Adventist University will result in the acquisition of an associates of science in Physical Therapist Assistant degree. Upon achievement of this degree, the individual can seek approval to sit for the national PTA licensing examination. This is an online, computer-based test which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Along with this process, candidates must apply to the state board of physical therapy within the state of practice and pass the state practice law exam (Jurisprudence exam).

Admission Requirements

Enrollment in the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program is highly competitive. Therefore, participants are selected through a selection process contained in the admission requirements listed below. Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program. The admissions committee consider science GPA, non-science GPA, completion of course requirements, interview, essay, recommendations, and work experience.

Minimum requirements for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program are as follows:

  1. Acceptance to Southern Adventist University.
  2. Satisfactory completion of all required academic prerequisites (science and non-science minimum GPA of 2.50).
  3. Minimum grade of C+ in BIOL 101 , BIOL 102 , PHYS 137 , and MATH 215 .
  4. Application must be submitted by April 1 for consideration.
  5. Documentation of observation hours completed in a PT clinic setting (minimum 80 hours).
  6. Work experience in a PT setting is recommended but not required.
  7. Signing an agreement to uphold the university mission statement.
  8. Letters of recommendation (minimum 3).

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