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Physical Therapist Assistant

Associate in Applied Science

Program Overview

Physical therapist assistants, often called PTAs, work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. They help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain.

Patients may include accident victims and individuals with short- and long-term disabling conditions, such as low back pain, fractures, head injuries, arthritis, heart disease and cerebral palsy.

Established in 1976, Delta's Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program proudly holds the distinction of being the second oldest in Michigan. Our extensive experience accumulated over decades is one contributing factor to our students' remarkable achievement: a perfect 100% national exam pass rate.

Delta’s program is five semesters long, starting in the fall. It’s a cohort program, so you come in as a group and take your classes together from your first semester until your last. Each semester in the PTA program builds on the previous semester, and every semester requires full-time dedication to ensure success. Students should plan to spend many hours outside of class studying and practicing their skills. 

While most of our PTA courses are offered on campus during the day, occasional commitments on evenings or weekends may arise for special events. With a vast selection of clinical sites available, students have the opportunity to tailor their experiential learning to their preferences.

Professional licensure

Students must take and pass the national physical therapy examination to practice as a PTA. Once a student passes the exam, they are eligible to practice anywhere in the country. However, there may be additional paperwork and costs associated with licensure in some states. Please contact the program coordinator for more details. 

Be successful. Develop these skills.

  • Customer service 
  • Motivation
  • Physical fitness
  • Problem solving 
  • Communication 
  • Decision making
  • Patient mobility
  • Pediatric and neuro rehabilitation
  • Orthotics and prosthetics
  • Orthopedic rehabilitation
  • Knowledge of clinical anatomy 
  • Evidence-based practice 



At Delta College, we want every student to get the best education so they're ready to hit the ground running when they graduate. Accreditation is one way we do that.

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Delta College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 989-686-9316 or email

3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100
Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085


Professional & student involvement
Michigan & national association involvement

Delta College PTA students and faculty are actively involved with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as well as the Michigan chapter of the APTA. Faculty members and students alike have been elected to various volunteer positions within the association, in addition to garnering praises and awards for their contributions. 

Student club & service projects

Every student enrolled in the PTA program is encouraged to become a member of the PTA Club. The PTA Club serves as an avenue to foster community engagement, provide valuable service, and participate in professional development all while having fun together as a class. Examples of PTA Club initiatives include distributing complimentary assistive devices to local residents, participating in state and/or national conferences, organizing a campus-wide 5K run/walk event, and actively volunteering within the community.

Program application process

Obtaining a degree in a health-related field differs from other programs at Delta. Initially, you’re required to complete prerequisite (validation) courses, then you apply for validation before you can register for the technical and clinical courses.

What's validation?
The Registrar's Office validates your prerequisite courses to confirm you are eligible to begin the clinical portion of your program. This application may be submitted any time during the semester in which you will finish your prerequisite (validation) courses. 

Success Tips

  • Declare the Physical Therapist Assistant program.
  • Meet with your Student Success Advisor regularly. Stay on track with what you need to do to apply for validation. 
  • Plan and register for courses.
  • Review the Notations at the bottom of the catalog page (use the Required Courses link on this page) for helpful information about the program. 
  • Apply for validation with the Registrar’s Office once you’ve started your final semester of prerequisite courses.
  • Stay connected via email, the website, and/or social media for important updates from Delta!

Program costs

The cost to attend Delta is less than half the cost of a university, which can add up to tens of thousands in savings. And we help find ways to pay for it. Last year, Delta students were awarded $26 million in financial aid, including nearly $640,000 in Delta College scholarships. That’s a lot of money available to students!

Calculate your PTA program costs

Program outcomes

We want to make sure you're ready when you graduate and that the knowledge you gain from your Delta degree is top-notch. 

When you're done, here's what you'll be able to do:

Outcome 1
Demonstrate professional behaviors of the physical therapy field.

Outcome 2
Use relevant interpersonal skills to communicate with each diverse person in the healthcare setting.

Outcome 3
Perform appropriate technical skills under the supervision of a physical therapist to function as a competent entry-level physical therapist assistant.

Outcome 4
Utilize appropriate critical thinking abilities to carry out an established plan of care under the supervision of a physical therapist.

Outcome 5
Demonstrate the ability to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination.

Student outcomes

We think it's important to know how we're doing so we can continually improve our programs – collegewide. We work really hard to give our students the best possible education. So, we annually evaluate and show you what we find out. 

Licensure pass rates

Total percent of candidates by graduation year who took the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

Licensure pass rates (first-time)

2022: 8/11 graduates; 72.7%
11/12 graduates; 91.7%
Two-year average: 82.6%

Source: The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, 2023

Licensure pass rates (ultimate)

2022: 10/11 graduates; 90.9%
2023: 12/12 graduates; 100%
Two-year average: 95.7%

Source: The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, 2024

Program completion (graduation) rates

2022: 68.8%
Two-year average: 66%

Source: CAPTE Annual Accreditation Report, 2023

Employment rates

Employment in physical therapy (full-time or part-time) within six months of passing the licensure exam.

2021: 11/11 licensed graduates, 100%
2022: 10/10 licensed graduates, 100%
Two-year average: 100%

Source: graduate surveys and personal contact

Related Programs

Physical Therapist Assistant – Dual Associate with General Management

In addition to the Physical Therapist Assistant associate degree, Delta also offers a dual degree with General Management. With this program, you have the opportunity to earn a second associate degree in General Management at the same time as your physical therapist assistant associate's degree. It's a great way to get that business background and increase earning potential.


Physical Therapist Assistant – Dual Associate with Health Fitness Specialist

If you have an interest in wellness and health fitness, this dual associate degree in Health Fitness Specialist could be perfect for you! It's a great way to get additional training in personalized exercise and fitness to increase your earning potential.


Explore all programs

Delta College offers over 140 degree, certificate and training options. Whatever your path, when you leave here, you’ll be ready.  


Option 1: Transfer opportunities

One of the very best things about Delta College is your ability to start here and go on. And, in the process, save thousands (and thousands) of dollars. It's a smart choice!

In fact, if you're interested in earning a bachelor's degree, you have several options by coming to Delta first, and then transferring. Delta has signed transfer agreements to continue your studies with:

  • Davenport University - Applied Business
  • Ferris State University - Allied Health Sciences
  • Siena Heights University - BAS Health Care Management

Option 2: MIWorkforce Pathways

Transfer your applied workforce degree in Healthcare to the following universities:

Alma College
Baker College
Davenport University
Grand Valley State University
Northwood University
Rochester University
Saginaw Valley State University
Siena Heights University
Walsh College

Interested? Make an appointment with academic advising to discuss your interests. Courses transfer differently based on the university you plan to attend. An advisor can help you determine the exact courses you need to get the education you’re looking for.

The transferability of courses between colleges/universities depends on the institution into which you transfer. Visit Transfer Programs and Procedures to see the full procedure.

100 percent
100% of recent PTA graduates are currently employed.
100 percent
100% of PTA grads passed their national licensure exam last year.
Casaundra Perry

"Delta gave me the opportunity to see what goes on in the real world of physical therapy. Clinicals gave me real-life, hands-on experiences with patients."

Casaundra Perry
Physical Therapist Assistant student