2015 To 2017 Physical

Revision Date: July 27 2015
2015-2017 New Student Orientation Manual
Table of Contents
Welcome ................................................................................................................................................... 2
Important websites .............................................................................................................................. 4
Working in a Health Profession ....................................................................................................... 5
What is Physical Therapy? ................................................................................................................. 5
What is the Physical Therapist Assistant...................................................................................... 6
The Roles of the Physical Therapist Assistant ............................................................................ 6
Employment Opportunities for the Physical Therapist Assistant ....................................... 8
Highlights Of The Program ............................................................................................................................ 8
Gaining Admission and Staying in the Program ......................................................................... 9
Program Specifics................................................................................................................................ 10
Graduating from the PTA Program and State Licensure ....................................................... 13
Program Philosophy .......................................................................................................................... 14
Important People Involved in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program ..................... 16
What does the student need to know before enrolling in PTHA courses? ...................... 16
What external entities is the program responsible to? ......................................................... 16
Learning Format .................................................................................................................................. 17
Some success strategies .................................................................................................................... 19
Dress code .............................................................................................................................................. 19
Examinations of Didactic and Clinical Skills. ............................................................................. 19
General Program Policies ................................................................................................................. 26
2015-2017 New Student Orientation Manual
Welcome to the profession of physical therapy and the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
program. Awaiting you is an exciting, creative and rewarding career, with many different types
of employment opportunities.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at El Paso 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: [email protected];
website: http://www.capteonline.org.
The program currently employs three full time faculty;
Professor Debra Tomacelli-Brock, PT, MS Instructional Coordinator, 831-4172
Assistant Prof. Michele H. Biernacki PTA, Coordinator of Clinical Education, 831-4090
Rhonda Wesson PTA , Instructor , 831-4174
The Program counselor is Argelia Duarte 831-4040
The curricular design includes four long semesters and one summer session in 18 months of full
time day classes which are sequentially organized courses. Course offerings are available for
students upon formal admission into the program from the Office of Specialized Admissions.
Prior to formal admissions students should be taking all of the general education courses listed
in the degree plan, AND work on the requirements for Specialized admissions. Included in this
comprehensive program, are educational components which meet or exceed the minimum
competencies outlined in the APTA Minimum PTA Competencies document.
Course hours: Most courses are taught between 6 AM and 6 P M however there are several
part-time instructors some of whom teach at night or on the weekends. The final semester
includes a course on professional development and licensure preparation (PTHA 2239) and a
final full-time clinical experience (PTHA 2267).
At the end of the program, students must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination
(NPTE) for Physical Therapist Assistants in order to work as a PTA. This exam is offered four
times a year. There are new rules about the exam including limitation on how many times you
can take the exam and subsequent remedial work. FSBPT will only allow you to take the
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examination a maximum of three times in any 12-month period. Effective January 2016, there
will be a 6-time lifetime limit on NPTE attempts.
Except from the Texas Board of PT Examiners, Rules June 2015, section 329.2
Licensure by Examination
b) Re-examination.
(1) First re-examination. An applicant who fails the exam the first time is eligible to take the
examination a second time after submitting a re-exam application and fee.
(2) Second or subsequent re-examination. An applicant who fails the exam twice or more must
complete additional education before taking the exam again. The amount of additional education
is set forth in the attached chart. To be eligible to register for the exam again, the applicant must
submit a letter that identifies the area(s) of weakness and describes the plan that addresses the
weakness(s). The letter must be accompanied by proof that the additional education has been
successfully completed. Additional education may be one or more of the following:
(A) A commercial review course.
(B) An individual tutorial. The completed tutorial must be signed by the tutor and notarized, and
include the tutor's curriculum vitae. If the applicant is applying for a PT license, the tutor must be
a licensed PT. If the applicant is applying for a PTA license, the tutor must be a licensed PT, or a
licensed PTA who is associated with a Texas PTA program.
(C) Board-approved continuing competence (CCU) activities.
Requirements based on:
1) number of failures AND
2) exam score (passing = 600)
Tutorial Hour Requirements
CCU Requirements
A. Applicants who fail the exam 2 or 3 times
PT......599 - 586 PT......585 - 566
PT......565 & below
25 hours tutorial 40 hours tutorial 5 CCUs 20 CCUs 40
PTA......599 - 54 PTA......583 - 560
80 hours tutorial
PTA......560 & below
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B. Applicants who fail the exam 4 times
PT......599 - 586 PT......585 - 566
PT......565 & below
50 hours tutorial 80 hours tutorial 30 CCUs 40 CCUs 80
PTA......599 - 584 PTA......583 - 560 160 hours tutorial
PTA......560 & below
C. Applicants who fail the exam 5, 6, or 7 times
PT......599 - 586 PT......585 66T......565 & below
60 CCUs 90 CCUs
150 CCUs
PTA......599 - 584 PTA......583 – 560
PTA......560 & below
D. Applicants who fail the exam 6 or more times must repeat an accredited PT or PTA program.
Important websites
The website for the licensure exam application is www.FSBPT.ORG.
To learn more about the profession of Physical Therapy visit the student section of the American
Physical Therapy Association at www.apta.org.
To apply for and renew your state license to practice as a PTA: www.ptot.texas.govThe
programs website can be found by typing PTAP in the search engine located on the
www.EPCC.EDU home page.
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Working in a Health Profession
Working in health care is regulated by many agencies; accreditation entities, regulatory agencies
and professional associations. Both accreditation and regulatory agencies dictate policies and
procedures which guide the everyday activities of delivering and managing healthcare delivery to
a patient. Background check, drug screen and current immunizations are required of all
students and employees and are required by hospitals, the college and the State of Texas.
The Physical Therapist Assistant, works under the direct supervision of a Physical Therapist, and
is a valuable member of the physical therapy department. Your contribution to the physical
therapy team, regardless of the work setting, will directly reflect your competency in technical
skills, your ability to work as a team member, your ability to develop and nurture positive
interpersonal relationships, your ability to apply the theories of rehabilitation to your patients,
and your ability to efficiently implement an evidence based treatment plan developed by your
supervising physical therapist.
Your education as a physical therapist assistant is your life long responsibility. It does not end at
graduation. The State of Texas, like many states requires you to be licensed prior to working, and
also requires annual or biennial re-licensure. Re-licensure, in Texas, currently involves evidence
of 1) attendance in 20 hours of continuing competence approved by the Physical Therapy
Licensing Board each biennium 2) continued ethical and legal practice as stated in the Texas
Physical Therapy Practice Act 3) successful completion of a biennial jurisprudence exam which
accompanies your re-licensure application and 4) a biennial relicensing fee. Details about relicensure can be found at http://www.ptot.texas.gov
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy is a health care profession concerned with: 1) the promotion of health and
wellness to reduce the potential for disease 2) the prevention of pain, movement impairments
and disability, 3) the restoration of function secondary to injury and 4) the improvement of
function secondary to congenital defects in adults and children. The Physical Therapist
accomplishes these goals through the use of evaluation, evidenced based interventions and
patient/community education. Disabilities and impairments, whether acquired or congenital, are
treated by Physical Therapist Assistants under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist.
They include: sport injuries, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, cancer, orthopedic disorders, pain,
burns, wounds, arthritis, and disorders of the nervous system, cardio-vascular systems,
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respiratory system, nutritional/digestive systems, and metabolic system which cause a large
variety of physical impairments.
What is the Physical Therapist Assistant
A career as a Physical Therapist Assistant provides rewarding and challenging opportunities for
the person who is interested in helping others to maintain or regain their physical mobility. The
Physical Therapist Assistant is a licensed by the board, who assists and works under the
supervision of a physical therapist and whose activities require an understanding of physical
The PTA is an important member of the physical rehabilitation team. Other members of the
team include: physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, physicians,
nurses, social workers, psychologists, and other medical specialists.
In the state of Texas, as in many other states in the U.S.A., the law states that the PTA is
supervised by and must report to a Physical Therapist. You may not work under or be
supervised or report to any other health care professionals, such as doctors, chiropractors,
nurses, occupational therapists or athletic trainers.
The Roles of the Physical Therapist Assistant
Educator: In this role, you will teach the patient and the family members how to carry out a
home exercise program designed by the physical therapist. You will assist/instruct patients on
how to use mobility equipment. You will give in-services to your peers or to the community on
treatment procedures. You may be assigned the duties of a clinical instructor for physical
therapist assistant students, after a few years of experience. You may teach in a Physical
Therapist Assistant Program.
Clinician: In the clinician role, and under the supervision of the Physical Therapist, you will find
yourself delivering patient exercise programs, fabricating adaptive equipment, implementing
exercise programs, performing wound care, conducting therapeutic pool programs, or utilizing
high-tech computer programmed exercise machines. You will find yourself documenting patientrelated activities in the medical chart, and sharing patient information with the physical therapist
and other members of the health care team. You will find yourself working with therapeutic
equipment such as hot-packs, cold packs, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, isokinetic, neurorehabilitation and cardiovascular rehabilitation equipment.
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Manager: In the management role, you will find yourself responsible for evaluating the
performance of physical therapy aides, writing department manuals, and participating in the
selection and ordering of equipment for the physical therapy department.
Leadership: Being a member of a profession comes with responsibility to your patients and
involvement in your profession. There is both a state and national physical therapy association, a
minority PT association, and a world association for PT. These four physical therapy
associations provide many leadership opportunities for PTA to development leadership skills,
make a difference for the PTA and for the patient, and for the services provided by physical
therapist/physical therapist assistants. Leadership opportunities begin in the program through
club membership and participation and within the city of El Paso through attendance,
participation and volunteerism in the local Greater El Paso District PT Association.
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Employment Opportunities for the Physical Therapist Assistant
Graduates of the PTA program enjoy 100% employability upon passing the national licensing
exam. Many graduates are offered jobs in their last semester of the program. There are
numerous and varied employment opportunities available in El Paso, Las Cruces, and
communities across Texas, New Mexico and in every state. The most popular opportunities exist
in hospitals, however, other work environments may include: out-patient clinics, physical
therapist owned private practices, rehabilitation centers, school systems, home health settings,
medical supply sales and wellness centers.
Employment opportunities are posted on the Texas Physical Therapy Association web site, on
the inside door of the PTA lab, through the colleges career center, and e-mailed to graduates of
the PTA program. The college also has a Career Center where additional posting can be found.
Salaries in the Field of Physical Therapy
Salaries are highly competitive with Nursing and other high demand health care providers. Signon bonuses are common locally and nationally. You can find national salary statistics at
http://www.bls.gov/bls/blswage.htm. Local salaries vary depending on the work environment,
benefits paid, experience and additional credentialing. Median salaries for a new graduate, full
time staff PTA in an acute hospital is approximately $54,410, based on a local salary survey in
2014. The mean salary in Texas is $69,370 ( work experience required).
Highlights Of The Program
18 month program
Transportability of course work to any Texas PTA program
Core courses which transfer to UTEP
Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education through
2016, with a re-accreditation beginning in 2016.
Full time students are eligible for financial aid
Enrolled students are eligible for selected scholarships
Students must meet specialized admissions requirements to be eligible for program
Program taught by faculty with over 70 years of experience.
Home to the only Texas Community College level faculty practice pro bono clinic
A course designed to train physical therapy aides for the workforce. This course (PTHA
1309: Introduction to Physical Therapy) can be taken without program admission.
Bridge to UTBM DPT program for qualified applicants.
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Gaining Admission and Staying in the Program
General information that every student needs to know about gaining information to a health
occupations course can be found in the online catalog. To gain admission to the program, and to
stay in the program, the student is advised to meet regularly with the program counselors,
Mrs. Argelia Duarte ( [email protected]) 831-4040, whose office is on the Rio Grande
Campus, Student Services, Room D302, 103 Montana Street. The counselors will then discuss
with you the general requirements necessary to be ready for successful ranking by the deadline.
Ranking from the applicant pool is in early June for fall admission. To be eligible for the
applicant pool, you must first:
Attend a Health careers Orientation Session.
Pay a one-time Health Occupations admissions fee.
Complete the TSI college placement exam with a score at or above the program’s cut-off
score. ( See current program information guide for specific scores.)
Complete mandatory courses with specified minimum grades.
Complete pre-admission program requirements.
While in the program students need to stay in touch with the program counselor especially if
there are financial issues, or issues related to progression within the program such as failing
grades, or needing to take a semester off. Students who are having personal problems at home, or
academic issues related to study skills and test taking should address these issues with both the
counselor and the program coordinator at the earliest possible time.
International Students
All international students should remain in contact the International Student Office (831-2031).
Transfer Students
Students transferring from another institution should follow the admissions criteria to include
sending official high school and college transcripts to the Admissions Department. Students
transferring from UTEP’s kinesiology or PT program may be able to matriculate into the
program with advanced standing. These students will need to meet with the program coordinator.
Students transferring from higher education instructions should contact the program coordinator
for more information regarding syllabi from their transferring institution.
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Information about Program Re-entry
All students wishing to transfer or re-enter into the PTA program must meet all specialized and
program admission requirements in place at the time of application.
Students who are currently enrolled in another PTA program should contact any health
occupations counselor on the Rio Grande campus (915-831-4636). These counselors can assist
you with the admissions requirements to El Paso Community College and transcript evaluation.
Texas PTA programs enjoy common course numbering, and common content, making the
transfer process even easier.
Students who are coming from the military with physical therapist assistant training should
contact the Department of Admission, Evaluation Office (831-3124) for further information on
the process of advanced standing admissions.
Students who have graduated from a PTA program and who are wishing to go on to a four year
institution for a physical therapy degree should speak with an EPCC health occupation
counselor. Physical therapist assistant course work usually does not transfer to any entry-level
program for Physical Therapy anywhere in the United States. However there are transition
programs for licensed PTA’s who want to become PT’s. Additional information on these schools
can be found on the web site of the American Physical Therapy Association (www.APTA.org )
under Education.
Courses in the degree plan offered at EPCC are easily transferable within Texas via the common
course numbering system at both the community college level and the university level.
Program Specifics
1. Courses in the degree plan that transfer to UTEP:
ENGL 1301 Expository English Composition
PSYC 2301 Human Growth and Development
Math 1314 Pre-calculus/College Algebra and Geometry
PHIL 2306 Ethics
Courses completed and required by the June ranking date:
BIOL 2101 ( 3 year maximum), (B or better required)
BIOL 2402 (3 year maximum), (B or better required) (tie breaker)
PTHA 1309 Introduction to Physical Therapy (B or better required)
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PHIL 2306 ETHICS (B or better required)
1. Pre-Program specific requirements are detailed in the most current version of the
Program’s Information Guide, which need to be completed at least two weeks prior to
the June ranking deadline. This document can be found online at www.EPCC.edu ( type
PTAP in the search engine). New requirements for 40 hours of site specific
observations will be required for the 2017 ranking.
 Must file a degree plan with designated Health Counselor
 Background Check will be completed by each student prior to enrollment in clinical
courses. The student will not be able to go to the clinical areas/health care facilities
until cleared. For further information, please ask a Health Counselor or call the Program
Coordinator. Web site: http://www.elpasoex.com. You will receive a letter from the
Dean, Health Career & Technical Education, Math and Science division after the
background check is reviewed. ***NOTE: A background check must be repeated
at student‘s expense if the student is not enrolled in a health-related program for
one or more semesters. ***
 Current CPR Certification at the Professional Level (American Heart AssociationHealthcare Provider). Must include AED.
 HIPAA Training (online at http://www.epcc.edu/hipaa/Pages/default.aspx ).
 Immunizations and/or Titers – The following must be completed:
o Completed Hepatitis B vaccination series of 3 AND Titer (can take 4-6 months to
complete)/if a student has started the Hepatitis B series by ranking deadline (June 1),
he/she may be cleared for ranking or registration with the understanding that the series
must be completed in a timely manner prior to starting clinical courses. Documentation of
starting the series must be on file.
o Tuberculosis Screening and/or testing (completed) (done annually), or chest x-rays
and questionnaire (annual).
o 2 doses - Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccinations MMR) (completed) AND Titer.
o 2 doses-Varicella Vaccination (completed) AND Titer.
o Tetanus /Diphtheria (Td) or Tetanus/Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) (completed).
o Influenza is required (or completed declination form) (NOTE: If declined, will have to
wear a mask in clinical) (done annually).
o Meningitis or booster (Starting Spring 2012, New and returning EPCC students
under the age of 22 must provide proof of an initial meningitis immunization or
booster to Admissions and Registration Department at any campus. The meningitis
immunization must be administered at least 10 days before the start of the semester
and must have been administered within the last five years). Visit the link of the
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Admission and Registration EPCC web page for additional information
(http://www.epcc.edu/Registration/Pages/default.aspx ). Provide a copy of the
meningitis documentation to your program coordinator.
 In 2013, immunization verification by titer is required for the following:
o Meningitis
o Varicella
o Hepatitis
o Measles, Mumps and Rebella
 A completed current Physical Exam
) by a Physician, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician’s Assistant licensed in the United
 Physical Technical Standard form (completed).
 Program Orientation.
As the State of Texas and the hospitals within the City of El Paso change their
immunizations requirements, our requirements will also change.
Program Specific Material should be turned in as soon as completed to the PTA program:
Michele Biernacki, Clinical Coordinator, RG Campus, RM H-148, telephone # (915) 8314172; or to Frances Maldonado RG Campus, RM A-224, telephone # (915) 831-4225.
Note: Students enrolled in PTHA 1309 assemble a pre-program admissions portfolio which
includes most of the items listed above and the following:
Completed Demographics form
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Graduating from the PTA Program and State Licensure
The PTA program at EPCC is an integrated education program. Information about admission,
tuition, financial aid, graduation and the degree plan can all be found in the on-line college
catalogue at WWW.EPCC.EDU
Successful graduation from the Physical Therapist Assistant Program requires a 1) minimum of a
“C” in each PTAP course (except PTHA 1309 which is a “B” or better), 2) a minimum of a 2.5
in the degree plan and 3) successful completion of a computerized on-line mock exam at the
end of the program in the last didactic course. The minimum passing grade for progression in the
PTA program is a grade of 80 in any course in the degree plan which has a PTHA prefix.
Upon graduation a letter will be sent to the Texas state licensing board confirming your
graduation from the program. Once the State has received this letter and your completed
application packet, including all required fees, you may sit for the computerized National
Physical Therapist Assistant licensing examination in any state. You may take this exam locally,
and indicate the state in which you wish to be licensed. The state exam is approximately 200
computerized questions, and takes about 4 hours. To sit for the licensing exam in Texas you must
meet at a minimum the following criteria:
Graduate from a PTA program accredited by the Commission on the
Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (www.apta.org)
Report a variety of criminal offenses to the licensing jurisdiction ( see application
form for Texas PTA license : http://www.ecptote.state.tx.us
Report alcohol or drug abuse, malpractice claims or mental incompetency to the
licensing jurisdiction ( see application form for Texas PTA license :
Complete an online jurisprudence exam.
The four fixed testing dates for the licensure exam can be found at: www.fsbpt.org
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Program Philosophy
The vision of the El Paso Community College Physical Therapist Assistant Program and its
curriculum evolves from the needs of the: El Paso community of Physical Therapists and
Physical Therapist Assistants; the Standards of Accreditation set forth by the Commission on
Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education; the requirements for academic programs set forth
by the Texas State Higher Education Coordinating Board; the Normative Model for Physical
Therapist Assistant Education; and the community college’s commitment to provide programs
which meet the growing and changing demand for rehabilitative health care within the multicultural society of El Paso.
The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant program is to provide educational opportunities
and experiences which will graduate a student who can successfully become licensed in the state
of Texas and meet the entry-level work force skills and competencies as established a variety of
external and internal entities. The outcome statements of the Physical Therapist Assistant
program are as follows:
Program faculty will demonstrate competency in the areas of curriculum which they
teach through documented continued competency. (CAPTE and, (College
missions/goals: Provide Quality Education
The program will provide a clinical training program which adequately supports and
enhances the didactic work of the student. (CAPTE 4.1.6).
Faculty will contribute to the quality of student and faculty life on campus through
committee participation and service learning.
The program will have a budget which will adequately provide for the instructional and
administrative needs of the program.
The program will have sufficient faculty and equipment to provide quality instruction to
The program will appraise compliance of the program against accreditation criteria of the
Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education and the Texas Higher
Education Board.
The PTA program will graduate students who can meet minimum THECB and CAPTE
criteria for graduation and pass rates.
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Student Learning Outcomes Include:
Students will demonstrate the behaviors, values, and attitudes of the profession of
physical therapy and the standards of ethical and legal practice in accordance with state
law and the American Physical Therapy Association Standards of Ethical Conduct for the
Physical Therapist Assistant.
Students will be able to discuss and defend the principles, practices, indications and
contraindications of physical therapy interventions through the use of evidence based
The student will demonstrate entry level competency in data collection, patient
instruction, and application of physical therapy interventions as dictated by the plan of
The student will document patient progress in medical record, adhering to professional,
legal and ethical guidelines.
Students will demonstrate respectful, culturally competent and compassionate written and
verbal communications during the delivery and documentation of physical therapy
Students will participate in community service, leadership and career planning in
preparations for employment and continuing competency for the first 2 years after
Students will demonstrate ongoing achievement of clinical and theoretical knowledge in
preparation for the licensing exam.
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Important People Involved in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Dean of Health Occupations – Dr. Paula Mitchell 831-4026, Room 240 RG
Division Secretary – Roberta Rodriguez 831-4026, Room 240 RG
PTAP Counselors –Argelia Duarte – 831-4040, Room 250 RG in Student Services or
[email protected]
PTAP Discipline Coordinator – Debra Tomacelli-Brock PT, MS – 831-4172, Room
H 147 RG [email protected], full time program faculty
PTAP Clinical Coordinator –, Michele H. Biernacki, PTA Room H-148,
[email protected], full time program faculty
Rhonda Wesson PTA, [email protected] full time program faculty
Sergio Martel, PTA, part time program faculty
Rose Orozco-Lopez, part time program faculty
Succeeding in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program
What entities influence our curricular content?
Designing courses is not just selecting a textbook, writing course objectives and giving exams.
In a program where passing a state licensing exam is the culmination of years of work for a
student, it is critical that the student enter our program with essential academic skills, and basic
knowledge that will lay a solid foundation for the course work they will receive in the Physical
Therapist Assistant Program. It is equally critical that the faculty of the program teach content
that is current and used in clinical practice and evaluate student knowledge and skills at a level of
excellence expected by external accrediting agencies, and the health care system.
What does the student need to know before enrolling in PTHA courses?
A solid foundation in English grammar and research paper writing
Oral communication and interpersonal communication skills
Solid foundation in math (college algebra) and science (anatomy and physiology)
A foundation in the social sciences.
How to study, take notes, take exams, think critically, problem solve independently
Read college level books
Stress management and test taking skills
Demonstrate ethical and professional behaviors within the classroom, and with people
What external entities is the program responsible to?
CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education); this entity
accredits this program. Without it, you cannot sit for any state PTA licensing exam.
Texas State Higher Education Coordinating Board: without a status of at least “good
standing”, we would lose our accreditation from CAPTE.
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SAC’s (Southern Association of Colleges): this entity accredits the college. Without it
our program would lose its accreditation from CAPTE and the Coordinating Board.
The community of PT’s and PTA’s in the greater El Paso area. Without the above three
things, they cannot or will not hire you.
Thus the program has standards that it must achieve, maintain and strive for in order that
it maintains its status of accreditation. And, the student has many standards that he/she must
achieve in order to graduate from this program, which qualifies him/her to sit for the state
licensing exam. If you pass the exam, you are then eligible to work as a PTA.
“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence,
regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Vince Lombardi
This program is designed not so much to teach you Physical Therapy as it is to teach you about
physical therapy, to help you understand how physical therapy effects the life of your patients,
to help you understand how the body systems work together, and to help you make good
decisions when applying physical therapy interventions to your patients. The essence of this
program is to develop your commitment to excellence as a Physical Therapist Assistant.
Learning Format
The primary emphasis of learning in this program is student directed learning and is your
responsibility. The program has been transitioning to hybrid courses with lectures and reading
assignments posted on BlackBoard. The students are expected to be independent learners. That
means that the responsibility of learning the material presented in class is the students’ not the
instructors’. The instructors will provide you with guided learning. However, it is the
responsibility of the student to organize the material in a manner which is useful. Often times the
student will need to read supplementary information from text books or journal articles, search
the Internet for additional information or spend extra time in lab practicing technical skills. The
library is a useful resource in physical therapy education. A computer and computer skills are
recommended tools for you to accomplish these activities. While the library at the Rio Grande
and Valle Verde campuses have computers with Internet access, only the Rio Grande library
has the Physical Therapy resources on the book shelves.
Critical thinking is the key to solving a patient’s movement problem. In class you will be asked
to solve your patients’ problems. Often times it will require using a multitude of strategies.
Among those useful strategies are, group work, library work, group discussions, and reviewing
the literature.
Group work is a popular method of exploring possible answers to patient problems. Frequently
you will find that this methodology is employed in the clinical setting and that there are no right
or wrong answers. That is frequently true of questions asked in the classroom setting too. That is
not to say that any answer is correct, but rather that some responses better answer the questions
than others. Your participation in class and group discussions is essential to your success in
solving patient problems. Join in the class discussions. Contribute to the success of your group.
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Ask questions and offer your opinions and ideas. If you do not understand, ask for more
clarification. You have freedom to respectfully disagree with the instructor The instructors will
have the same freedom to request that you substantiate your answer if it is different than ours and
provide documented proof.
Exams, quizzes, projects and research papers follow a similar format, and require critical
thinking and problem solving skills. The quizzes are designed to help you monitor your learning,
and carry a format similar to the exams: patient problems in essay or multiple choice formats.
The projects and research papers are designed to help you familiarize yourself with the current
research information that is on the Internet and in the journals. The class presentations are
frequent and are designed to give you practice teaching, and defending your rationale for your
fact-based information in front of your classmates prior to going into the clinical setting, where
you will have to do a similar activity in front of strangers.
Journals may be required each semester. These journals are a mechanism by which you can
reflect on changes you are experiencing about your learning and communicate your classroom
experience with the instructor.
Student Conduct
As students enrolled in EPCC, you are expected to abide by the policies and procedures outlined
in the “Student Code of Conduct”, which can be found online on the college website and in the
current college catalog. As students enrolled in the PTA Program you are expected to abide to
the policies and procedures of the PTA program and the behaviors outlined in the APTA
Standards of Ethical conduct for the PTA. Infraction of college, division or program policies
may result in your dismissal from the PTA Program and/or college.
Miscellaneous but Important
Program faculty frequently use e-mail as the preferred method of communication to update you
on assignments, last minute changes affecting you the next day, forwarding job opportunities, emailing you course syllabi, homework, etc. Although every student is assigned a college e-mail
account, we recognize that not all students will use it. Please keep your preferred e-mail current
with the program coordinator, who will forward it to all faculty.
Technology that you need:
You will need printer paper. Plan on buying a ream or two to get you through each
Consider learning PowerPoint as you will need it in this program. And you will need
travel drives to save your work to.
We use Microsoft Word as the only acceptable word processing programs.
Access to the Internet either at home, or though the college resources.
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Internet literacy, by as we communicate email.
Technology savvy as we use Blackboard for the posting of most course materials.
Some success strategies
Know your learning style
 auditory learner
 visual learner
 kinesthetic/psychomotor learner
Know your study style
 group study
 individual study
Learn how to manage your time
use a personal planner
Learn how to manage your stress
stick to an exercise program
make time for your family/friends
don’t procrastinate on school homework, readings and projects
Come to class prepared to discuss the material and participate in lab. Be sure to read ahead, use
the study questions at the end of the chapter; write in the lab guides, and use the online resources
of your text books.
Dress code
Students are expected to come appropriately dressed to lab. Students not prepared for lab will be
given paper gowns. There are dress codes for “clinic” and for “lab”. Each student is required to
dress in the PTAP clinic uniform as assigned by the clinic coordinator. The clinic uniform
consists of khaki or black dress slacks, an official program selected shirt embroidered with the
program name, non-skid closed toed shoes and a college approved name tag. While this clinic
uniform is the official clinic uniform some affiliation sites may require a modification to meet
their dress code policy. Details and requirements for these items will be shared with you prior to
your first clinical course.
Day to day dress code is scrubs. We will be providing detail regarding the color and style during
the first week of school.
Lab uniform includes black loose fitting shorts with an elastic waist, and an EPCC T- shirt.
Modifications to the lab attire may occur and students will be notified in advance.
Examinations of Didactic and Clinical Skills.
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Periodically you will be examined both on written exams, and on practical exams. Practical
examinations can include both paper and real patients. Students may be asked to role play a
scenario when no “real” patients are available. Providing information about scenarios during or
after the exam is a form of cheating and is cause for academic probation and disciplinary action.
Students are referred to the EPCC student Code of Conduct for further information.
Both the written and practical examinations test your knowledge of the following:
Basic science and clinical theory (the rationale for why you do a treatment a certain way)
Physical therapy interventions (your ability to perform the intervention correctly and
Each lab course contains a specific list of skills which each student must master to
progress to the next course, and into the next clinical course. These skills are part of the
course syllabus. The minimum pass rate on the skills check-off sheets is an 80%.
Students failing a skills check-off will be required to retake the skill check-off until they
master the skill. Students may not progress to the practical exam until they have met the
skills competencies.
Patient interaction (your ability to demonstrate appropriate therapeutic communications
skills and professional ethics.)
Documentation (Your ability to document what you did with the patient.)
The ethical and legal standards of safe physical therapy practice and sound judgment.
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*Generic Abilities
Generic abilities are behaviors that we expect you to develop while in the PTA Program. These
abilities provide a foundation for successful interpersonal interaction, learning and clinical
performance. These behaviors will be assessed at various times during your PTAP course work,
and can be found in such places as “Skill Check-off Sheets,” “Practical exams,” and the “PTA
MACS” – the clinical skills mastery book.
Generic Ability
1. Commitment to Learning
2. Interpersonal Skills
3. Communication Skills
4. Effective Use of Time and
5. Use of Constructive Feedback
6. Problem Solving
7. Professionalism
8. Responsibility
9. Critical Thinking
10. Stress Management
The ability to self-assess, self-correct, and self-direct; To identify
needs and sources of learning; and to continually seek new
knowledge and understanding.
The ability to interact effectively with patients, families,
colleagues, other healthcare professionals, and the community and
to deal effectively with culture and ethnic diversity issues.
The ability to communicate effectively (i.e., speaking, body
language, reading, writing, listening) for varied audience and
The ability to obtain the maximum benefit from a minimum
investment of time and resources.
The ability to identify sources of and seek out feedback and to
effectively use and provide feedback for improving personal
The ability to recognize and define problems, analyze data,
develop and implement solutions, and evaluate outcomes.
The ability to exhibit appropriate professional conduct and to
represent the profession effectively.
The ability to fulfill commitments and to be accountable for actions
and outcomes.
The ability to question logically; to identify, generate, and evaluate
elements or logical argument; to recognize and differentiate facts,
illusions, assumption, and hidden assumption; and to distinguish
the relevant from the irrelevant.
The ability to identify sources of stress and to develop affective
coping behaviors.
Developed by the Physical Therapy Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison May et
al; Journal of Physical Therapy Education; 9:1, Spring 1995
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Real time in PTAP classes based on 2013 degree plan
contact hrs. per week (PTAP classes only)
First Fall
First Spring
First summer
320 ( Fulltime, 10 week, clinical experience)
Second Fall
Extremely difficult, add an
extra 20 hours for practice with
a partner
Second Spring
208 ( 1st 4 weeks); 272 ( next 10 weeks)
Car will be necessary. Most
stressful semester, must pass
mock exam to graduate.
The easiest of the semesters,
but plan on an extra 10 hours to
practice a week with a partner,
on campus.
Extremely difficulty, plan on
additional 20 hours a week for
practice with partner in the
Car will be necessary
Courses Recommended To Complete Prior to Entering the PTAP Program
All general education courses listed in the degree plan
Courses Required To Complete Prior to Ranking for the PTAP Program
BIOL 2401 – Anatomy and Physiology I
BIOL 2402 – Anatomy and Physiology II (used as a tie breaker)
PHIL 2306 – Ethics
MATH 1314 – Pre Calculus
PTHA 1309 – Introduction to Physical Therapy
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Estimated Annual Expenses for Students Enrolled in the Physical Therapist
Assistant Program: $11,695.48-$11,775.48
Textbooks: The textbook list is published on the EPCC website.
Gait belt, BP cuff, stethoscope, tape measure, clip
12” Plastic Goniometer
Lab Uniform
Clinic Uniform (2 pants)
(2 shirts)
Shoes for Clinic
Every day uniform (2)
Name tag
Physical Therapy Guide to Clinical Practice ( included
with APTA Membership)
$ 90.00
Mock exam book
6 pocket folders, three 3” binders, three 10 pack of
dividers, USB drive ( 1st semester)
Graduation Expenses*
Graduation Application Fee
Cap and Gown
$25- $30
Licensure Examination Expenses*
Prep Course Tuition
Licensure Application
Temporary License Fee
Licensure Exam Fee
Passport Photo Fee
* Prices are subject to change
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Financial Assistance
Texas Alliance of Physical Therapist Assistant Educators
Pays for:
PTAP Program coordinator
Licensure fees
Final semester of the Physical Therapist Assistant program,
Member of APTA
February 1
American Physical Therapy Association: Minority Scholarship Award for Academic
Pays for:
APTA Dept. of Minority /International Affairs
Minimum of $750.00
Final year of Physical Therapist Assistant program, Member of
December 1
Las Palmas Medical Center West Auxiliary
Pays for:
Counseling department
none specified
Texas Physical Therapy Association: George Scofield Student Award
Pays for:
PTAP Program coordinator
Final year of Physical Therapist Assistant program
Licensure fees
June 1
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Texas Physical Therapy Association: Dennis Cole Award
Pays for:
PTAP Program coordinator
Final year of Physical Therapist Assistant program, Student
Affiliate Member of APTA
June 1
El Paso Community College: Financial Aid Office
Pays for:
Project Arriba
EPCC Financial Aid Office
Community and EPCC involvement
tuition and books, miscellaneous
Greater El Paso District Physical Therapy Association
Pays for:
District chair
community involvement with Greater El Paso District Physical
Therapy Association
tuition and books, miscellaneous
early spring
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Entrance Exams
The Texas Success Initiative ( TSI) is the entrance exam required of all EPCC students.
To qualify for admissions into the PTA program you must have the following minimum
Minimum Minimum Minimum Minimum
Required courses
with a minimum
grade of:
BIOS 2401 B
BIOS 2402 B
PTHA 1309 B
General Program Policies
The following is partial list of program procedures or guidelines which effect students enrolled
in the PTA program.
Immunization Exemptions
In accordance with El Paso Community College Procedure (Immunization,
Tuberculosis Testing and Physical Examination Requirements for Health Career and
Nursing Students) Section II Exemptions:
Medical Contraindications:
The student must present a written statement from a physician, licensed to practice in the
United States, that the immunizations would be injurious to the health and well-being of
the applicant, any member of the applicant’s family or household, and/or the applicants
unborn child.
Religious Conflicts
The student must present a sworn affidavit signed by the applicant, or if a minor, by the
applicants parent or guardian, stating that the immunizations conflict with the tenets and
practice of a recognized church or religious denomination of which the applicant is an
2015-2017 New Student Orientation Manual
adherent or member. This exemption does not apply in times of an emergency or
epidemic declared by the commissioner of Health.
Allergy to the Influenza vaccine or declination of the Influenza vaccine will require
the use of a mask during clinic in accordance to affiliate policy. Some affiliates may
not allow a student into the facility without this immunization.
Grading policy ( revised 2013)
All PTHA courses use the same grading scale:
94-100 = A
87-93 = B
80-86 = C
73-79 = D
73 and below = F
Practical Exam policy
A practical exam is an exam in which the student demonstrates specific technical skills.
Although the form of each practical varies depending on the course, the typical exam will
have a real person, and the student is expected to demonstrate specific skills. Students are
expected to demonstrate minimum competency on this exam. The practical exam policy
of each instructor is stated in the “Instructors Requirements” Syllabus Part 1.
Written Exam policy
If a student must miss an exam, he/she must notify the instructor prior to the exam.
Failure to notify the instructor in advance that a student will be absent for the exam, for
any reason, will result in a grade of "0" for that exam. Make-up exams may be given at
the discretion of the instructor. The make-up exam must be taken within the time frame
stipulated by the instructor. Failure to take any make-up exam will result in a grade of
"0." Students who fail a unit exam will be redirected back to the particular unit or units
for additional reading and homework assignments. Students may not bring anything into
the testing area other than a #2 pencil. Books, coats, book-bags, back-packs are to be
placed neatly away from the testing area. Students should take care of any personal needs
prior to the beginning of the examination. No electronic media devices are allowed in
the testing area during an examination. Course instructors are required to turn in all
written exams to the PTAP Program Coordinator.
Attendance Policy
Students are expected to be prepared and present for each class/lab session. Homework is
due at the beginning of the class. Students who are absent from class are responsible for
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all material. Attendance will be taken for each lecture and lab class. You are considered
“late” after class is officially scheduled to begin. Students who have more than three
unexcused absences in a course will receive a formal counseling session and will have 1
point deducted from the final course grade. Students are expected to contact the instructor
prior to being absent by contacting the faculty via the method stated in the syllabus. This
usually means calling on our office phones and leaving a message, informing us in
person prior to the expected absence, texting us.
Progression in the program
Students must maintain a “C” or better in all program courses and must remain in good
academic standing with the college or its department to progress in the program. Students
not meeting this criteria may be in-eligible for readmission. Students who receive grade
less than a “C” will not be allowed to register for subsequent course in the degree plan
and will be moved from “admitted status” to “non-progression” status in the program.
Students who are in “non-progression” status must meet specific criteria to be considered
for “re-admission”. Students, who violate program policies may be administratively
withdrawn from a PTA course, may not be allowed to progress in the program.
Reentry into the program
Reentry into the PTA program is on a space available basis, and students must follow the
guidelines in order to be considered for readmission.
Students are referred to the program document titled “ Guidelines for Progression and
Re-admission the PTA program”, and the college policy “ Student Reentry into the
Health Career Program” for more information. College policy are available on the
college’s website.
VIII. Informed consent
a. Videotaping: there are numerous situations in which students may be part of a
media assignment. All students will be provided with the appropriate consent
form. The college has a specific “Talent Release” form for this purpose.
b. Use of Human subjects/ simulators; Students may be asked to simulate the role
of the patient in the program. Additionally outside persons may be in the
classroom in which they would be simulating or performing in the role of the
c. Sharing personal information: It is expected that students will share at a minimum
their names , telephone numbers and college email accounts in order to facilitate
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communication between faculty, clinical instructors and students, for
programmatic and PTA club activities. It is the policy of the program, to not share
students personal information with sources outside of the college.
Pre-testing for Substance Abuse:
Substance abuse testing is required for students enrolled in selected health related
courses/programs. This requirement is mandated by external agencies. Failure to submit
to substance abuse testing will result in denial of admission or enrollment, and placement
in clinical rotations.
The college has a Student Grievance Procedure. Students are referred to the college
website for that procedure. Students with grievances related to a PTA course, should start
with the course instructor. If no agreement can be reached, the Program coordinator
would be the next person to voice your grievance to, followed by the Dean then the VP of
Code of Conduct
The college has a code of conduct, which is published in a variety of media, and can be
found on the college’s web site. Each student is expected to adhere to this Code of
Conduct. In addition, the Physical Therapy profession has a published Guide of conduct
for the PTA. The colleges’ code of conduct is available on-line at the following website:
Students and faculty are expected to comply with the HIPPA policies of the college and
affiliates with which the college conducts business. Students and faculty are to complete
the HIPPA online training, annually, and prior to the beginning of clinical courses.
Student Clinician Handbook
The student clinician handbook is available on the programs website. Students should be
familiar with the procedures contained within the handbook.
XIV. Program Procedures
A working draft of program procedures can be found on the programs website. Students
should be familiar with the programs procedures.
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Receipt of PTA program Manual
I,___________________________ acknowledge, that I have read this manual, and understand
its contents, and have had an opportunity to ask questions. I understand that program procedures
and guidelines may be changed at the discretion of the Program Coordinator, and that I will be
notified in advance of such a change. By signing this form, I acknowledge that I have received a
copy of this manual at an orientation session, or have downloaded it from the internet.
Printed Signature
Written signature
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