Physical Therapist Assistant

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program is a two-year course of study leading to an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.

The PTA program is a structured 1 + 1 format requiring all applicants to complete all of the prerequisite courses prior to acceptance into the on-campus programs. This means that it takes approximately one academic year of specific college prerequisite courses, taken at FVCC or an accredited college of choice, followed by one year of technical coursework. The technical education courses are designed to facilitate the development of clinical decision making skills, psychomotor skills and values-based behaviors required to work under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist. The technical education portion of the program includes lecture, laboratory and clinical experiences to ensure students gain not only the knowledge, but are also able to develop the skills necessary to function in a variety of physical therapy care settings under the direction of a physical therapist.  Upon successful completion of an accredited PTA program, the graduate PTA will be eligible to take the licensure exam approved by the MT Board of Physical Therapy Examiners.

A new class of PTA students begins each year in August.

Program Requirements

See the Academic Catalog.


Janice Heil
Instructor/Program Director
BC 123-B
(406) 756-3373

Julie Roberston
BC 123-A
(406) 756-3620

For general information, contact the Admissions office: (406) 756-3847.

What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a technically educated health care provider who works under the supervision of a Physical Therapist. The PTA performs duties and carries out treatment plans as directed by the physical therapist. Care provided by a PTA may include teaching patients/clients exercise for mobility, strength and coordination, along with training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers. They may also provide therapeutic massage and the use of physical agents, electrotherapy and patient education.

The work involved in physical therapy includes physical activity such as bending, lifting patients, and prolonged standing and walking. PTAs utilize various rehabilitative techniques to help patients whose abilities have been impaired by an accident, injury, illness, disease or other health-related conditions that limit movement and functional abilities. PTAs work in a variety of settings including acute care and rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient facilities, school systems, nursing homes, home health and sports medicine clinics. The PTA is an important member of the dynamic rehabilitation team and will interact with other health care providers including occupational therapists and assistants, nurses, speech pathologists, and physicians.


FVCC’S PTA program’s mission is to graduate qualified entry level PTA’s who function under the direction and supervision of a licensed PT.  Graduates will ensure excellence in patient care by demonstrating competence, critical thinking and compassion.  Faculty and graduates will be committed to promoting the health and wellness of local and surrounding communities by demonstrating safe and ethical practice, social responsibility and a personal commitment to professional growth and lifelong learning.

FVCC PTA Program Outcomes

  • The Program will graduate competent entry-level physical therapist assistants who function effectively under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist
  • The Program will prepare graduates with the knowledge and technical skills needed to pass the PTA NPTE exam and obtain employment as a licensed PTA who functions under the supervision of a physical therapist.
  • The Program will promote an evidence-based curriculum that supports the mission of FVCC based upon input from the PTA advisory committee, academic faculty, students and clinical instructors.

FVCC PTA Graduate Outcomes

  • Graduates will follow a plan of care established by a physical therapist and carry out physical therapy interventions in a safe, ethical and competent manner at entry level.
  • Graduates will demonstrate effective written, oral and nonverbal communication skills with patients, families/caregivers, healthcare providers, peers, third party payers and the public.
  • Graduates will recognize the need for continued personal and professional growth to ensure competence in current practices of physical therapy and a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Graduates will demonstrate behavioral expectations  as established by the APTA in the Value Based Behavior for the Physical Therapist Assistant  (January 2011)
  • Graduates will participate as an effective member of the health care team and educate the healthcare community on the respective roles of the PT and PTA.
  • Graduates will show a personal commitment of health and wellness and dedication to service to the profession of physical therapy and the community.

PTA Student Outcomes

The table below displays graduation rate, ultimate licensure pass rate, and employment rate in table form by year. This information will be provided and updated yearly once we graduate the first class in 2013.

Graduation Rate100%
Ultimate Licensure Exam Pass Rate100%
First Time Pass Rate81.7%
Employment Rate100%100%


Graduation rate: Percentage of students admitted into program and who completed course requirements for graduation for an AAS degree as a physical therapist assistant.

NPTE Licensure examination pass rate: percentage of students who passed the NPTE licensing exam;  consistent with the information published by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy

Employment rate: percentage of students who sought out employment within six months of passing the NPTE licensing exam.


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Flathead Valley Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:

Next Site Visit:  Spring 2018


Accommodations for persons with disabilities can be provided upon request by calling (406)756-3881. Any qualified student with a disability who believes that an auxiliary aid is necessary for participation in any course activity or degree program is strongly urged to indicate a need for services to the Advocate for Students with Disabilities a minimum of six weeks prior to the beginning of the academic semester. This will provide sufficient time to assess student need and obtain any necessary auxiliary aid.  For more information, please call (406) 756-3881.


FVCC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or handicap in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in its educational programs or activities. Inquiries concerning Title VI, Title IX and Section 504 may be referred to: Vice President of Instruction, Blake Hall, Rm 136, 777 Grandview Drive, Kalispell, MT 59901, (406)756-3894; or the Montana Human Rights Commission, 1236 Sixth Avenue, P.O. Box 1728, Helena, MT 59624, (406) 444-2884/1-800-542-0807.

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Last modified: June 16, 2015