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Physical Therapist Assistant

Program Requirements: 

Gateway Technical College is not accepting applications for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at this time. Please continue to check the website for any future updates.*

A career as a physical therapist assistant (PTA) can be very rewarding. PTA’s help patients with injuries or debilitating diseases become more functionally independent. A physical therapist assistant can work in a variety of settings to treat patients of all ages who have movement problems due to weakness, pain, disease, stroke, or injury to muscle, nerves, or bone. Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of a physical therapist. The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Gateway Technical College is a two-year associate degree program offered at the Kenosha Campus. Students learn to treat patients with exercise programs that include stretching, strengthening, posture, balance and coordination, using techniques like massage and manual therapy, and equipment like ultrasound, electrical stimulators, and heat and cold treatments. Gateway’s PTA classes are held during the day and consist of both lecture and lab. During the second and third semesters, students will spend time in local clinics and hospitals working with real patients. The fourth and final semester will include a full-time, eight week student internship providing students with hands-on learning opportunities in a clinic setting. The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Gateway Technical College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Strett, Alexandria, VA 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:

CAPTE Accreditation

What does a physical therapist assistant do?

Physical therapist assistants may find jobs in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and outpatient clinics, treating patients of all ages who suffer from movement problems due to injury, illness or surgery. PTA’s help patients learn to sit, stand, run, climb stairs, throw and perform work, home and recreational activities properly. The ultimate goal is to help patients become as functionally independent as possible. Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of a physical therapist. Graduation rates for the program in previous years include  81.2% in 2011, 68.8% in 2012 and 61.5% in 2013.

Learning by doing

Labs, classes, clinical work and internships will provide hands-on training for Physical Therapist Assistant students at Gateway. Labs will teach students how to use equipment and techniques that are used with real patients. Students practice these techniques with classmates, to gain confidence and competency in their skills. Many classes will include actual patients with specific conditions that volunteer to come to lab giving students practical, real-life experience. Gateway’s lab is equipped with the latest in physical therapy treatment devices, including: ultrasound, iontophoresis, TENS units, neuromuscular electrical stimulation units, whirlpools for hydrotherapy, traction devices, exercise equipment and assistive devices like crutches, canes and walkers, for gait training. Lab experiences will help students as they progress to their clinical rotations, where they will work under the supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapist aide, treating patients. Initially, students will observe their clinical instructor and will progress to hands-on patient care as appropriate. By the end of the final full-time clinical rotation, students are expected to be independently providing care under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.

Job and salary outlook

There is an increasing demand for physical therapist assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapist assistants is expected to increase 46 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations, due to the healthcare needs of a growing elderly population. Gateway has seen a 100 percent employment rate for all program graduates. PTA’s can earn a very competitive salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of PTA’s was $49,690 in 2010.

Certification and Licensing

Graduates will be required to take the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy national licensing exam after graduation to be qualified to practice in the particular state they will be working. Upon passing this exam, certified physical therapist assistants can work in various settings including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and outpatient clinics under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. The 3-year average licensure pass rate is 92.3% for the exam (graduating classes 2011-2013).


Additional Requirements

After acceptance AND prior to petitioning

  • Login and order Medical Document Manager ONLY (health forms/records, CPR) AND Drug Test ONLY. Upon completing your order, the required health forms and CPR requirement will be listed on your To-Do List. Download, print, and upload the completed forms to your CertifiedProfile. You will only need to upload your CPR Card prior to being selected for a clinical seat. You will be notified via email within 24-48 hours explaining the next steps to complete the drug test and your results will be sent to Certified.

Background and Health Information requirement questions?
Please contact Natashia Hanson


Traci Gotz

Megan Zingelman


Cynthia Beltran   (A-L)

Yoceline Vargas   (M-Z)

Program Administration

Mike O'Donnell, Dean