Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply to the PTA program?
The PTA program is a competitive entrance program. Application to
the program is made separately from application for admission to
Missouri Western. The application can be found at
under the "program admission" tab.
Interested students may make an appointment to meet with a faculty member
if more information is desired. For more information, please contact the
Physical Therapist Assistant Program at (816) 271-4251. Program faculty are
available to help you plan the courses you need to take.
When is the application deadline?
Deadline for application is March 31st annually. No applications are
considered until after the deadline. There is no preference given to
candidates who turn in the application earlier than the deadline.
What courses need to be completed in order to apply to the PTA
Candidates need to have completed the high school core before they can
matriculate into the program. There are no other prerequisites, although
completion of any developmental courses and general biology prior to
entering the program is recommended.
What are other requirements to apply to the PTA program?
The application for program admission details all application
requirements. These include:
- Completed application
- ACT scores
- Three forms of recommendation
- High school/college transcripts
- 24 hours of observation
Note that although the admissions department may have a copy of your high school or college transcripts and ACT scores, you need to have an additional copy sent to the PTA Program.
When I do my observation hours, can I observe other health
professionals, like an occupational therapist?
No. In order to receive credit for observation hours, you must observe a
physical therapist or PT assistant while they are performing the duties of
their job. Only those hours spent in observation of a PT or PTA will count.
Does it help my application if I do more than 24 hours of observation?
No. However, if you desire to complete more than 24 hours of
observation, you will be rewarded in a more full appreciation for the career
of physical therapy, and a deeper knowledge of the scope of the profession.
Does the program maintain a waiting list of qualified applicants from
year to year?
No. While some programs draw from a list of applicants from years past,
we donít have a waiting list. Each year we choose from the applicants who
have applied to the program in that cycle, and select the twenty most
qualified applicants. Applicants who have applied unsuccessfully in the past
are encouraged to reapply.
When does the PTA program start?
The PTA program begins annually in fall with integrated coursework
consisting of general studies courses, biology or human anatomy, and
physical therapy courses.
How long does it take to complete the program?
Twenty-two months. A cohort of students begins every fall, and graduates
in late June just less than two years later.*
Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
||4 full time
2 part time semesters
When do classes meet? Is it part-time or full-time? Is it possible to
The program is a full-time, daytime program with both morning and
afternoon courses held Monday - Friday. In general, first year courses are
held in the afternoon, and second year courses are held in the morning. The
courses are conducted in a face-to-face format.
How rigorous is the PTA program?
The PTA program is very rigorous. You should plan to study a minimum of 2-3 hours per week for every credit hour you are taking. It is difficult to work while in the PTA program.
What are the requirements for the clinical courses in the curriculum?
There are three clinical courses in the PTA curriculum. The first 3-week
clinical occurs in the summer between the first and second year courses.
The second and third clinical courses are each 6 weeks in length, and occur
at the end of the didactic portion of the curriculum. The clinical education
courses consist of practicing physical therapist assisting under the
direction of a clinical instructor (CI).
Prior to the clinical education courses, you will need to provide proof
of immunization or titer for measles/mumps/rubella, chickenpox, tetanus-diptheria,
and polio. You will need a series of immunizations for Hepatitis B or a
waiver. You will need to have CPR and first aid certification, a health
report signed by your physician, a TB screening, medical insurance, and an
acceptable background check.
Clinical sites require that only students with an acceptable criminal
background check be allowed to participate in clinical internship.
Therefore, prior to commencing the clinical portion of your program, you
must provide information necessary for a criminal background check. You
should know that you will not be able to obtain a license to practice
or be allowed to participate in clinicals should you have an unacceptable
background as defined by state law regarding health care providers. An
unacceptable criminal background includes class "A", "B", and some "C"
felony convictions as well as some class "A" misdemeanor convictions for a
crime against a person.
What do PTAs do?
Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs), provide physical therapy
treatments under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical
therapist (PT). PTAs help people of all ages who have health-related
conditions which limit their ability to move and perform functional
activities in daily life.
Where do PTAs work?
The PTA program prepares students to provide entry-level, skilled
patient care in a variety of settings. Some of these settings may include
hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, outpatient
clinics, sports medicine clinics, and school-based systems.
What will I learn in the PTA program?
The PTA program prepares students to provide physical therapy treatment
interventions and associated data collection skills under the direction and
supervision of a licensed physical therapist.
The program teaches physical therapy treatments for patients with
problems of the musculoskeletal (bones, muscles, ligaments), neurologic
(nerves, brain, spinal cord), cardiac (heart), pulmonary (lungs), and/or
integumentary (skin) systems.
Does becoming a PTA prepare me to transfer to a PT program?
Not directly. PTA programs are not designed to prepare individuals to
continue directly toward a degree as a Physical Therapist (PT). PT programs
are graduate (doctoral) level programs which require a Bachelor's degree to
apply. The American Physical Therapy Association has resources which can
help you explore this option. For more information contact the APTA at
1-800-999-APTA, or go to
What about licensure after graduation?
Graduates of the PTA program are eligible to take the National Physical
Therapy Exam (NPTE) for the Physical Therapist Assistant and to apply for
state licensure. Licensure is required in the state of Missouri and in most
states in the United States.
What is the Accreditation Status of the PTA program?
The Physical Therapist Assistant program Missouri Western is accredited
by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE),
1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: (703) 706-3245.
Information can be found on the web at
*Program length is estimated. See your counselor or adviser.