Physical Therapist Assistant students practicing on eachother in lab

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Physical therapist assistants work in a variety of settings under the supervision of licensed physical therapists by providing direct patient care in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, sub-acute care facilities, long-term care facilities, sports medicine clinics and home health care agencies. 

Designed for students who plan to enter a professional practice, the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program at College of DuPage teaches students how to relieve pain in patients and improve strength and mobility so they can reach their maximum physical potential while also learning to live within the limits of their disabilities.

The program is a part-time, primarily evening program offered Monday through Friday. Coursework includes both classroom and clinical instruction. 

Classes begin the fall semester of the same year you have applied. Twenty students are accepted into the program every year.

You must follow specific admission criteria before being admitted into the program and follow the admission checklist located in the Physical Therapist Assistant admission packet.

First Step to Apply – Attend an Advising Session

Determine Your Path

After receiving an Associate in Applied Science degree from COD, you will be eligible for the state licensure examination for successful entry into the physical therapy field.

You want to attend a credible college that stands out from the rest. At COD, you'll discover:

  • Dedicated instructors with years of professional experience.
  • Affordable programs to help you achieve success without creating overwhelming debt or draining a savings account.
  • Instruction utilizing top-notch facilities and equipment in the Health and Science Center.
  • Hands-on physical therapist assistant courses to help you feel prepared when you are ready to enter the workforce. 

Physical Therapist Assistant

The Physical Therapist Assistant Associate in Applied Science program prepares students to provide skilled direct patient care under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

Mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program

The Mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at the College of DuPage is to serve our community as an affordable, accessible option for providing an education that offers students a successful career path to becoming a highly skilled PTA through quality learning experiences in a well-equipped lab on a campus with multiple resources available to meet their needs.

The Mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program is:

  • To provide an evening track opportunity for students to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Physical Therapist Assistant, which will prepare graduates to take the state licensure exam and to meet the needs of the community, as determined by the needs assessment which provided the basis for this program’s establishment. 
  • To provide to its students the highest quality learning experiences in the classroom and laboratory, supplemented with practical training at clinical facilities to ensure integration of physical therapy principles into treatment of patients in a variety of clinical settings. 
  • To foster its students’ development of appropriate communication techniques, professional behavior, safe, ethical and legal practice, and critical thinking in the implementation of treatment plans. 
  • To ensure that the dynamic curriculum is reflecting current physical therapy practice knowledge by team approach of all persons involved. 
  • To provide material resources on the College of DuPage campus and within the PTA Program to meet community service and professional development needs. 
  • To collaborate with student support services to market the profession of physical therapy, advise potential program applicants, orient PTA Program students to College services and provide special academic assistance where necessary.

Physical Therapist Assistant Goals

Upon completion of the PTA Program, the graduate should be able to: 

  • Collect data on patients through interviews, observation, and assessments, 
  • Provide a safe and effective treatment session, practicing within the legal and ethical parameters of the physical therapy profession, 
  • Adapt treatment modalities and procedures to meet patients’ needs, 
  • Recognize when treatment needs to be modified or discontinued, demonstrating critical thinking,
  • Demonstrate effective written, oral and nonverbal communication skills, and professional behavior, when interacting with patients, their families, and staff, 
  • Assist in the management of physical therapy services,
  • Assume responsibility for continued personal and professional growth, and
  • Demonstrate the ability to contribute to the profession and community. 

Program Accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at College of DuPage is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: (703) 706-3245; email:; website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, call (630) 942-3337 or email

View the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) 2022-2023 Physical Therapist Assistant Student Financial Fact Sheet.

Program Outcomes

Program Outcomes 2020-2022
Class Graduation Rate Employment Rate (within 12 months of licensure) Exam Pass Rate First Time Exam Pass Rate Ultimate  
2020 96% 100% 70% 87%
2021 92% 100% 61% 87%
2022 92% 100% 82% 100%
2-year average (2020-2021) 94% 100% 65% 87%
2-year average (2021-2022) 94% 100% 68% 91%


COD Stories

Ernest Daunter

“The hard work just isn’t that bad when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. So many dreams go unrealized for one reason or another. COD helped to get me on a track to realize my full potential.” - Ernest Daunter

Ernest's COD Story

COD Stories

Pamela Campos

“What I learned in the PTA program is so vast, and every day I was learning something new. The professors were there night and day and took their time with us." - Pamela Campos

Pamela's COD Story

COD Stories

Joyce Webb

“College of DuPage is a hidden gem for adults. This goes to show that at any age, people can reinvent themselves and start new careers. For anyone feeling stuck or needing a change, I urge you to explore all that COD has to offer.” - Joyce Webb

Joyce's COD Story

COD Stories

Rachel Gioja

“I liked being able to pick my schedule so that by the end of the PTA program, I could work full-time and still pursue full-time classes. Also, COD is one of the few schools in the area that offers a PTA program, so of course it became my number one choice.” - Rachel Gioja

Rachel's COD Story

COD Stories

Ryan Riccitelli

“The overall experience is one I will never forget and has been overwhelmingly influential in shaping my physical therapy career trajectory.” - Ryan Riccitelli

Ryan's COD Story

Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in the Physical Therapist program is to read the Physical Therapist Assistant Selective Enrollment Admissions packet. The packet contains an admission checklist that you will need to follow in order to be eligible for admission.

Students interested in registering for an introductory PHYTA 1100 class should follow specific registration requirements to get started.

Program Costs

Academic and Career Pathways give you a roadmap to achieving your career goals. Follow a pathway based on your degree that outlines which classes you need to take and when so you graduate on time or move on to the next phase in your career.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program graduates will:

  • Demonstrate accurate data collection on patients through interviews, observation, and assessments.
  • Provide a safe and effective treatment session, practicing within the legal and ethical parameters of the physical therapy profession.
  • Describe appropriate safety procedures in the clinical setting following the facilities policies and procedures
  • Demonstrate procedures to maintain a safe and efficient physical environment
  • Determine adjustments to the intervention within the plan of care established by the physical therapist in response to patient clinical indications
  • Identify when intervention should be modified or discontinued, demonstrating critical thinking
  • Demonstrate effective written, oral and nonverbal communication skills, and professional behavior, when interacting with patients, their families, and staff.
  • Demonstrate assistance in patient care management of physical therapy services.
  • Subscribe to activities supporting continued personal and professional growth.

College of DuPage has several physical therapist assistant transfer agreements in place with four-year colleges and universities to save you time, money and make the transfer process easier.

Many of these agreements with other colleges and universities have specific course requirements and a pre-determined course plan that needs to be followed to be eligible to transfer. Contact a program faculty member or academic advisor to learn more as course requirements vary by institution.


Career Information

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your frequently asked questions regarding the Physical Therapist Assistant program.

Once a student has been accepted into the program, the student will be in the program for five consecutive semesters which includes unpaid clinical internships.

Each student within a cohort takes exactly the same courses in the same order. A student must pass each PTA course to continue in the PTA program.

The deadline for submitting a complete application is found in the Admissions Packet

The PTA program's classes begin the fall semester of the same year as the application.

Strong academic and interpersonal skills are necessary to be successful in this program. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are necessary to facilitate communication in the health care environment.

Each program with out-of-district clinical sites may admit a maximum of 20 percent of out-of-district applicants to the program, based on merit. The 20 percent maximum policy only applies to out-of-district applicants who do not have access to a particular program in the community college district in which they reside. Students coming from districts with a particular program within their district would only be considered if there were open seats after all qualified candidates from in-district and out-of-district without programs were accepted.

If there are insufficient numbers of qualified in-district applicants, the maximum percentage of out-of-district students accepted can be exceeded until the program achieves full enrollment, with the approval of the Dean of Nursing & Health Sciences.

Priority for Admission

  • a. In-District applicants
  • b. Out-of-District who are part of the CAREER Consortium Agreement (meaning your residing community college does not offer the particular program in which you are applying)
  • c. Out-of-District applicants working full-time in-district (proof of in-district employment will be required each semester)
  • d. Out-of-District applicants (who are not part of the CAREER Consortium Agreement) including those students with a joint or charge back agreement and International students

Please review the PTA Admission Packet for more information.

The exact number of candidates who have fully completed applications and have met the minimum acceptance criteria has varied from year to year. In the last five years, the number of applicants have ranged from 40 to 50. Twenty students are accepted into the PTA program each fall semester.

Read and follow the admission packet carefully.

Completion of all general education classes is highly recommended.

The advising counselors are very knowledgeable. Once you have applied to COD, make an appointment with a Health Care Program Advisor by calling (630) 942-2259.