Are you interested in a career in health care? Are you fascinated by anatomy and exercise physiology? Then becoming a physical therapist assistant is for you!

As a physical therapist assistant, you are a member of a health care team working under the supervision and direction of a physical therapist. You may administer different kinds of treatment to decrease pain, including hot packs, ultrasound and electrical stimulation. Physical therapist assistants help patients perform exercises to increase strength and motion. They teach patients how to ambulate with assistive devices like crutches and canes, and instruct in walking with braces and artificial limbs. Excellent clinical skills and communication/interpersonal skills are essential for this career.

The PTA program is a competitive entrance program. Application to the program is made separately from application for admission to Missouri Western.

Application requirements include a completed PTA-CAS application, ACT or TEAS V scores, three forms of recommendation, high school/college transcripts, and an essay. Applicants must also complete at least 24 hours of observation of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, and submit proof of observation. Click here to download the observation form.

The Missouri Western State University Physical Therapist Assistant Program participates in the Physical Therapist Assistant Centralized Application Service (PTA-CAS) offered by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Applicants applying to the PTA program will apply using the PTA-CAS online application, which can be accessed by clicking “APPLY TODAY!” below.

Deadline for application is March 1st annually.

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The PTA program is a full-time, daytime program with both morning and afternoon courses held Monday-Thursday. It begins annually in the fall with integrated coursework consisting of general studies courses, foundational sciences, and technical physical therapy courses.

The program is a total of seventy-two credit hours. Lasting four semesters and two summer sessions in length, degree requirements consist of nine hours of general education, fifty hours of PTA required classes, and thirteen credit hours of clinical education. Clinical education courses are full-time (36-40 hours per week) clinical internships, which take place for three weeks in the summer between the first and second year, and again for twelve weeks, from March to June of the second year.

The program has determined that its curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands secondary to its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Graduates are eligible to apply for licensure in all US states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Students graduating from MWSU are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website at

No determination of the sufficiency of curriculum for licensure has been made in American Samoa, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands.

The program is designed to prepare graduates to meet the requirements to practice as a PT Assistant in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, sports medicine clinics and school-based systems.

The table below displays graduation rate, ultimate pass rate, and employment rate in table form by year.

2019 2020 2021 2-year average (2021-2022) 2022
Graduation Rate 94.7% 88.2% 70.6% 79.4%1 88%
First Attempt Licensure Exam Pass Rate 72.2% 93.3% 63.3% 78.3% 86.7%
Ultimate Licensure Exam Pass Rate 94.4% 93.3% 90.9% 92.1% 93.3%
Employment Rate (one year after graduation) 93% 100% 100% 100% n/a

Program Accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Missouri Western State University 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, please call  816-271-5996 or email

General Studies
Major Requirements
BIO 101Principles of Biology4
BIO 250Anatomy and Physiology5
EXS 304Physiology of Exercise3
PSY 101General Psychology3
PTA 100Introduction to Physical Therapy1
PTA 110Patient Care Skills3
PTA 120Modalities3
PTA 130Functional Anatomy2
PTA 140Measurements and Procedures3
PTA 160Clinical Kinesiology2
PTA 165Therapeutic Exercise2
PTA 185Clinical Education I3
PTA 210Professional Issues2
PTA 251Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation2
PTA 255Clinical Orthopedics3
PTA 260Clinical Neurology4
PTA 265Diseases and Dysfunctions3
PTA 270Psychosocial Aspects of Physical Therapy1
PTA 280Clinical Rehabilitation3
PTA 285Clinical Education II5
PTA 290Clinical Education III5
PTA 295Clinical Seminar1

 NOTE: The above is expanded upon in the Physical Therapist Assistant handbook that has been developed for use by students.

University Graduation Requirements

  1. Earn a minimum of 62 credit hours (100 level and above, maximum of 6 CED credit hours applicable).
  2. Earn 20 of the last 30 credit hours at MWSU in institutional course work (exclusive of credit by examination).
  3. Participate in required departmental and campus wide assessments. 
  4. Fulfill the Missouri Constitution requirement.
  5. Successfully pass the Missouri Higher Education Civics Achievement exam.

Are you ready to declare this major? Download, sign, and submit the form(s) to the PTA department.

*Please note that submission of major declaration form does not guarantee acceptance to the PTA program, nor does is allow students who have not been accepted to the PTA program to enroll in most PTA courses.

Mapping your degree plan is important. Consult with your academic advisor to create a plan and monitor it regularly.

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
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