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!

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program prepares students for a rewarding hands-on healthcare career in a variety of clinical settings! PTAs are valuable members of a healthcare team, working under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs may administer interventions to help decrease pain, increase strength and endurance, and improve mobility. They apply physical agents such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, help patients perform exercises, and instruct patients in the use of devices like walkers, crutches, canes, braces, and prosthetic limbs. PTAs are employed in a wide variety of clinical settings, including outpatient clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and school settings. Excellent clinical and interpersonal communication 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. It is recommended, though not required, that applicants complete a human anatomy and physiology course prior to applying to the PTA program.

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, taken over four semesters and two Summer sessions. Degree requirements consist of nine credit hours of general education, fifty credit 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 four weeks in the Summer between the first and second year, six weeks in the final Spring semester, and six weeks in the final Summer semester.

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).

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

The program is designed to prepare graduates to meet the requirements to practice as a Physical Therapist 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.

2020 2021 2022 2023 2-year average (2022-23)
Graduation Rate 88.2% 70.6% 88% 82% 85%
First Attempt Licensure Exam Pass Rate 93.3% 63.3% 86.7% 100% 93.35%
Ultimate Licensure Exam Pass Rate 93.3% 90.9% 93.3% 100% 96.65%
Employment Rate (one year after graduation) 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

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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