Physical Therapist Assistant

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Enter one of today’s most rapidly growing and rewarding careers through the physical therapist assistant associate degree program at Mercyhurst North East. Our PTA program will prepare you to become an important member of a health care team, where you will work under a physical therapist to provide hands-on care that helps improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. Through both classroom and clinical work, you will gain knowledge and skills in services ranging from the use of physical agents such as therapeutic heat and cold, electrical stimulation and therapeutic ultrasound; application and instruction of therapeutic exercise techniques; functional mobility training; and data collection skills to monitor strength, range of motion, sensation, and reflexes.

Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to complete the National Physical Therapy Examination for the physical therapist assistant, which is required by most states to become certified / licensed as a PTA. Additional information about the field of physical therapy can be accessed through the American Physical Therapy Association.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Mercyhurst University 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:


What can I do with this degree?

PTAs help physical therapists in their daily activities, which include assisting patients during rehabilitation. Their patients include accident victims and clients with such conditions as burns, amputations, stroke, vertigo, low back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy.
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work in a variety of settings, including:
  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient physical therapy clinics
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Home health care
Other MNE alum have gone on to earn a bachelor's degree in sportsmedicine at Mercyhurst's Erie Campus and other four-year institutions. Our Internal Transfer Coordinator can help you determine if a move to Mercyhurst's Erie Campus is right for you.

Job Outlook

Physical therapy remains a viable and rewarding profession with continued growth expected over the next eight years. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics "employment is projected to increase much faster than the average, as rapid growth in the number of middle-aged and elderly individuals increases the demand for therapeutic services." Earning potential for a PTA varies from region to region. As reported by the BLS, the median annual earnings for a PTA are $46,140.

Degree Requirements
Please use the downloadable "Degree Requirements" sheet below as a guide to successful completion of this program. You should also meet with an academic adviser to set up a more personalized plan. If you are a transfer student, you may check with the admissions office prior to enrollment to find out what classes may transfer in and be applied to your program.

New PTA Degree Requirements (effective Fall 2013)


The following outcomes data is provided to allow potential students to make an informed decision regarding their college choice. This information is provided as a three-year average:
Acceptance and matriculation rates for students entering between 2011 and 2013
  • 79% of qualified applicants are accepted.
  • 71% of those accepted actually enroll.
  • Starting with the class entering Fall 2013, the program is instituting a cap of 30 students.
Graduation rates for students graduating 2011 through 2013
  • 64% of those who began classes in the fall term graduated within two years.
  • 86% of those who entered the first technical course in the spring term graduated on time.
Pass rates on the National Physical Therapy Examination for students who graduated 2010 through 2012
  • 93% of graduates who have taken the exam have passed.
Employment rates for students who graduated 2010 through 2012
  • 90% of qualified graduates are employed as physical therapist assistants.