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Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Associates Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant 

Program Overview

Are you passionate about helping others achieve their physical goals? The program’s mission is to prepare students to provide holistic healthcare services to those in need worldwide. With a dedication to integrating faith, scholarship, and service, physical therapist assistant program at FHU is the perfect option for individuals who want to make a difference in their community and the world.

Degree Type:

Associates in Physical Therapist Assistant


Biological, Physical, and Human Sciences

Department chair name:

Ashley Prentice
P.T., D.P.T., M.Ed.

Learning at FHU

Why choose FHU’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program?

Our goal is to equip our graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide safe and effective care under the supervision of licensed physical therapists. We incorporate Christian values into our curriculum to ensure our graduates are skilled professionals and morally and spiritually prepared to serve their communities. At FHU, we’re committed to providing an excellent healthcare education that will prepare you to positively impact the world around you.

The physical therapist assistant program at FHU provides a robust and thorough physical therapy education to help students become a physical therapist assistant, associate physical therapist, or licensed physical therapy practice.


The mission of Freed-Hardeman University’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program is to equip students with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship, and service in order to provide holistic healthcare services to individuals and communities throughout the world. By growing in knowledge through dedicated faculty and a comprehensive curriculum focused on contemporary practice, the program will prepare graduates to serve as competent and ethical physical therapists assistants working under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

The mission of the PTA program supports the University’s mission in that it exists to provide an excellent healthcare education permeated with Christian values whose graduates are morally and spiritually prepared to provide safe, evidence-based contemporary care and render professional services to individuals, churches, communities, and the world.

Goal 1. The program will prepare graduates to be competent and ethical physical therapist assistants able to serve their communities by working under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

Goal 2. Program students and graduates will demonstrate appropriate professionalism with patients, program faculty, and other healthcare providers.

Goal 3. Program graduates will be prepared to communicate in a culturally competent manner with patients and caregivers from diverse backgrounds.

Goal 4. Program faculty will provide a high-quality learning environment and a comprehensive curriculum based on contemporary, evidence-based physical therapy.

Goal 5. The program will integrate Christian faith, scholarship, and service to prepare students for a lifetime of service and achievement.

Program Highlights:

  • Maintain professionalism with patients and healthcare providers
  • Learn to communicate in a culturally competent manner
  • Program faculty will provide a high-quality learning environment
  • Integrate Christian faith, scholarship, and service
  • Comprehensive curriculum based on contemporary, evidence-based physical therapy

 Additional Information

Financial Information

Once a student is accepted into the technical component of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program, the following tuition and fees apply:

PTA Technical Core Semester 1, Fall 2023 $14,212.50
PTA Technical Core Semester 2, Spring 2024 $14.212.50
PTA Technical Core Semester 3, Fall 2024 $12,500.00
   Total $40,925.00


Please note: This is tuition and fees only. Additional expenses for housing, meals, books, lab materials, and/or clinical education travel, and housing may apply. Please refer to the current undergraduate catalog.

2023-24 Student Financial Fact Sheet

Program Outcomes
Admissions Information

Only completed applications will be reviewed for selection. Admission to the PTA Program is selective and competitive. All forms, documents, and information become property of Freed-Hardeman University’s Physical Therapist Assistant Department and will not be returned, copied, or released.

PTA Applications for the August 2024 cohort will open on December 1, 2023. The application deadline is March 31, 2024. Complete applications received after March 31, 2024, will be considered as space within the cohort is available. Applications will continue to be accepted until the cohort is full or the beginning of the Fall 2024 semester.

Admissions interviews will be by invitation only. Interviews will not be rescheduled except in cases of unforeseen circumstances such as family emergencies. Rescheduling of interviews will be determined by the interview panel.

PTA applications are considered for one cycle only. Once a cohort has begun the technical phase of the program, any applications received will be considered for the subsequent cohort. 

FHU’s PTA Program has specific admission requirements set apart from Freed-Hardeman University’s general admission requirements due to a maximum cohort size of 18 students each fall semester. Applicants must obtain admission into the institution prior to application to the PTA Program. A formal screening procedure will be used to select the best qualified applicants for each cohort. 


To be considered for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program, applicants must: 

  • be accepted for admission to Freed-Hardeman University,

  • have satisfactorily completed all required academic prerequisites (minimum  cumulative GPA of 2.8 and grade of “C” or higher in BIO211, BIO212, BIO115,  PSY210, and MAT101),

  • must have completed 12 of the 16 prerequisite hours at time of application – 4 of the 12 hours completed must be BIO211,

  • submit a minimum of three letters of recommendation,

  • have attended a PTA informational session within 1 year of application, 

  • have submitted all required forms, documents, and information by the application deadline, and

  • have completed FHU liberal arts core requirements by start of technical phase of PTA Program.

CAPTE Accreditation Information:

Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone: 703-706-3245; accreditation@apta.org is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Effective July 19, 2022, Freed-Hardeman University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call Dr. Ashley Prentice, Program Director, at 731-989-6097 or email aprentice@fhu.edu.

Candidate for Accreditation is an accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program may matriculate students in technical/professional courses. Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status does not assure that the program will be granted Initial Accreditation.

two male students outside

Careers for Physical Therapist Assistants

Becoming a physical therapist assistant can be a fulfilling career choice for those who want to impact people’s lives positively. Choosing the right physical therapist assistant program is crucial for eligibility for the licensure examination, which is required in all states. With various career paths available, from working in hospitals to private practices, physical therapist assistants have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of their patients. With passion and dedication, a career in physical therapy can be truly fulfilling and personally rewarding.

  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation clinics
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home health agencies
  • Private practices

 Major in Physical Therapist Assistant Degree Requirements

As the field of physical therapy continues to grow, physical therapist assistant programs have become more competitive and sought after. Freed-Hardeman University recognizes this trend and offers a rigorous program for those aspiring to become physical therapist assistants. The major in physical therapist assistant degree requirements at Freed-Hardeman University is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in this rewarding profession.

To be accepted into the PTA Program, a student must have completed the prerequisite coursework listed below AND must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8:

Prerequisite Coursework (Must have an average of "C" or higher in each class)
BIO211 Human Anatomy & Physiology I and Lab*   4 credit hours
BIO212 Human Anatomy & Physiology II and Lab*   4 credit hours
MAT101 College Algebra or Higher   3 credit hours 
PSY210 General Psychology    3 credit hours 
BIO115  Medical Terminology  1-3 credit hours 

*Must have been taken within 5 years of application date. 

Course of Study for A.A.S. Major in Physical Therapist Assistant

Program Coordinator: Dr. Ashley Prentice

For a complete listing of requirements for graduation, see

Academics: Degree/Graduation

I. Liberal Arts Core Requirements - 29 hours

Listed in this catalog under Academics: Liberal Arts Core

Limit II. C. Quantitative Reasoning to MAT 101 College Algebra

Limit III. A. Behavioral Sciences to PSY 210 General Psychology

Limit III. B. Natural Sciences to BIO 211 Human Anatomy and Physiology I

1. Biblical Values

Bible 6 hrs
BIB121 Life of Christ 
BIB122 Acts of Apostles        2
Additional Bible Class*                                 

*Only required for residential students

2. Basic Skills

Written Communication       6 hrs
ENG101 English Composition I
ENG102 English Composition II       3
Oral Communication 3 hrs
COM140 Speech Communication 3
Quantitative Reasoning          3 hrs 
MAT101 College Algebra                  

3. Broadened Perspectives

Behavioral Sciences 3 hrs
PSY210 General Psychology             
Natural Sciences  4 hrs 
BIO211 Human Anatomy & Physiology I
History  3 hrs 
Any HIS Course                                          


Elective*                                                      2 hrs  

*Only required for non-residential students

II. Professional Support Courses - 6 hours
BIO212 Human Anatomy & Physiology II & Lab      
BIO115 Medical Terminology 2


III. PTA Technical Coursework - 44 hours

Must be accepted into the PTA Program* to enroll in the following:

PTA101 Introduction to Physical Therapy Concepts  2
PTA102 Pathophysiology for the PTA  3
PTA103 PTA Procedures  4
PTA104 Clinical Anatomy and Kinesiology  3
PTA105 Therapeutic Exercise  4
PTA201 Orthopedic Rehabilitation 2
PTA202 Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Across the Lifespan  4
PTA203 Physical Agents and Modalities  4
PTA204 PTA Ethics and Issues 2
PTA205 Special Populations for the PTA  4
PTA206 Integrated Clinical Education  4
PTA207 Terminal Clinical Education I  5
PTA208 Terminal Clinical Education II  5
PTA209 PTA Seminar  2

Frequently Asked Questions About a Physical Therapist Assistant Major

Below are answers to questions prospective students often have when considering a major in Physical Therapist Assistant. If you have additional questions or need more information, please contact admissions@fhu.edu and they will happily answer questions and provide additional details about our program.

What does a physical therapist assistant do?

A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) plays a crucial role in the field of physical therapy. Working under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist, PTAs assist in implementing treatment plans designed to help patients recover from injuries, illnesses, or surgeries.

Their primary responsibilities include helping patients perform specific exercises as part of their recovery process, using techniques such as massage and stretching to alleviate pain and improve mobility, and educating patients about what to do at home to aid their recovery. They also monitor patients’ progress and report their observations to the supervising Physical Therapist.

Sometimes, PTAs may use medical equipment to help patients, including ultrasound machines, electrical stimulation, hot packs or cold compresses, and traction equipment in a physical therapy practice. They are also responsible for keeping treatment areas clean and organized and preparing patients for therapy.

PTAs work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, and nursing homes. Their goal is to always provide physical therapy services that improve the quality of life for their patients by promoting optimal health and physical function. They play an essential role in helping patients regain their strength, mobility, and independence.

Why is it essential for physical therapist assistant programs to be accredited?

Accreditation for Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) programs is essential for several reasons. Primarily, it ensures that the program meets specific quality standards and prepares students adequately for their future careers.

  1. Quality Assurance: Accreditation is a rigorous process involving an external body’s thorough evaluation. When a program is accredited, it means it has met high standards in curriculum, faculty, facilities, and student services. This assures students that they are receiving a quality education.
  2. Eligibility for Licensure: In many jurisdictions, graduation from an accredited program is a prerequisite for licensure or certification as a PTA. Without this credential, graduates may not be eligible to practice.
  3. Transferability of Credits: If students decide to further their education, credits earned from an accredited institution are more likely to be recognized by other colleges or universities.
  4. Financial Aid Eligibility: Federal financial aid is only available to students enrolled in accredited institutions.
  5. Employer Preference: Many employers prefer hiring graduates from accredited programs as it ensures the applicant has received a comprehensive, quality education.

Accreditation is crucial to ensure the quality of education, eligibility for licensure, credit transferability, financial aid opportunities, and enhanced employment prospects.

Effective July 19, 2022, Freed-Hardeman University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

What are the benefits of the major in physical therapist assistant program at FHU?

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program at Freed-Hardeman University (FHU) offers several benefits to its students.

  1. High-Quality Learning Environment: The program’s faculty provides a comprehensive curriculum based on contemporary, evidence-based physical therapy, ensuring a high-quality learning environment.
  2. Extensive Clinical Experience: Students gain extensive hands-on experience through 640 hours of clinical education spread across various settings.
  3. Strong Good Earning Potential: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PTAs earn an average yearly salary of $ 64,510, with wages typically starting from $43,340 and going up to $85,230.
  4. Christian Worldview: FHU is a Christian university, so the PTA program is built upon a foundation of biblical principles and ethics, integrating Christian faith, scholarship, and service. These values are integrated into every student’s education, from classroom instruction to clinical practice.
  5. Small Class Sizes: Class sizes are small, allowing for more personalized instruction and guidance from faculty.
  6. Supportive Faculty: Program faculty will provide a high-quality learning environment and supportive mentorship throughout the program.
  7. Preparation: FHU fosters an environment of professionalism with students, faculty, patients, and healthcare providers, ensuring students are well-prepared for their future careers.

A major in the PTA program at FHU offers a comprehensive and quality education, practical clinical experience, preparation for advanced study, and good earning potential.

What organizations and businesses employ physical therapist assistants?

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) can find employment in various organizations and businesses within the healthcare industry.

  1. Hospitals: Hospitals employ PTAs in various departments, including orthopedics, rehabilitation, and sports medicine. PTAs work alongside Physical Therapists to provide patient care and assist in recovery.
  2. Outpatient Clinics: PTAs are commonly employed in outpatient clinics specializing in physical therapy services. These clinics provide rehabilitation and therapeutic services to individuals of all ages.
  3. Rehabilitation Centers: Whether stand-alone facilities or part of a larger healthcare organization, rehabilitation centers often employ PTAs. These centers provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to patients recovering from injuries, surgeries, or other medical conditions.
  4. Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities: PTAs are employed in long-term care settings where they provide mobility training, therapeutic exercises, and assist with activities of daily living for elderly residents.
  5. Sports Medicine Clinics: Sports medicine clinics, which cater to athletes and sports enthusiasts, often have PTAs on their staff. They assist in injury prevention, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement.
  6. Home Health Agencies: PTAs may work for home health agencies, providing physical therapy services to patients in the comfort of their own homes. They help patients regain mobility and independence after illness or surgery.
  7. Schools and Educational Institutions: PTAs may be employed by schools and educational institutions to work with students with physical disabilities or special needs.

The demand for PTAs is growing as the importance of physical therapy in healthcare continues to be recognized. The PTA program at Freed-Hardeman University provides students with the skills and knowledge required to enter the thriving physical therapy profession.

How do I apply?


We are excited that you are interested in Freed-Hardeman University’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program. To help you navigate the application process, we highly recommend that you first download and review the PTA Application Packet below.



In order to be accepted into the Physical Therapist Assistant program, students must first be accepted to Freed-Hardeman University. If you are looking to enroll or transfer to Freed-Hardeman University, please click the link below to first apply to FHU.

You will be contacted regarding the PTA application once you have successfully submitted your application to Freed-Hardeman University. 



If you are a currently enrolled student at Freed-Hardeman University, please click the link below to begin the PTA application process. 


Complaint Process:

If a complaint occurs about a student while on a clinical education experience, complaints regarding the student should first be addressed to the Director of Clinical Education, Brian Vaughn. Mr. Vaughn may be contacted at bvaughn@fhu.edu or by phone at 731-989-6560.

If a complaint falls outside of due process, complaints regarding the program should be first addressed to the PTA Program Director, Dr. Ashley Prentice. Dr. Prentice may be contacted at aprentice@fhu.edu or by phone at 731-989-6097.

Unresolved complaints or complaints about the PTA Program Director should be directed to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. LeAnn Davis. Dr. Davis may be reached at ldavis@fhu.edu or by phone at 731-989-6931.

All complaints will be documented, including the projected outcome, and kept on file at the program facility. All complaints will be stored in a locked filing cabinet located in the program director’s office.

Complaints regarding Accreditation of this program should be addressed to the Commission for Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education. This Commission is located at 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia, 22305.

No retaliation will occur by the program or university to any individual filing a complaint regarding Freed-Hardeman University’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program or the faculty that staff the program.

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