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PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT

Kellogg Community College’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program was the first program in the state of Michigan and the sixth program in the nation, with the first class graduating in 1973. With a dedicated faculty, KCC’s PTA Program has a long history of academic and clinical excellence and has earned a high level of respect in the physical therapy community.

Physical therapist assistants provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. PTAs work with patients with health-related conditions to help them live fuller and more productive lives. PTAs help rehabilitate patients of all ages and medical diagnoses ranging from strokes and sports injuries to cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries. They work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, nursing homes, pools and patient homes, teaching and carrying out programs to improve quality of life and to enhance independence. Treatments include therapeutic exercise, functional retraining, manual therapy and applications of heat, cold, light, sound, water and electrotherapy.

KCC’s PTA Program provides students with a working knowledge of and thorough testing regarding the theories behind treatment protocols and pathological conditions being treated and provides understanding of the modalities and machinery which are used to treat those conditions. In addition, hands-on clinical affiliations are completed under the supervision of professional physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to help students apply learned knowledge and skills.

KCC offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in PTA and prepares students to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination required for licensure in most states. For more information about KCC’s PTA Program, see:

Advising & Transfer

KCC PTA graduates will have the education and qualifications making them eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapist Assistant Exam and eventually enter the job market. Earning a degree as a PTA is not typically part of a career ladder to become a physical therapist, which requires a doctoral degree. However, a significant number of KCC PTA Program graduates have been accepted into and completed their PT degree with substantial additional time and study. There is at least one doctoral program in the United States that is designed specifically to transition physical therapist assistants to physical therapists.

View transfer guides outlining opportunities for students looking to transfer their KCC credits to a four-year institution. Contact Academic Advising at 269-965-4124 or [email protected] to schedule an appointment to plot a personal transfer plan.

Additional Information

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PTA Careers


There are many reasons to consider a career in physical therapy. Working as a physical therapist assistant is a rewarding experience that allows one to be directly involved in improving the quality of life of others while working as part of a team under the supervision of the physical therapist.

As a movement expert, a PTA often provides daily hands-on treatment to patients and clients. Some PTAs may expand their skills and advance their career by specializing in an area of physical therapy, supervising students, developing and marketing new physical therapy approaches, conducting quality assurance programs and managing or supervising a rehabilitation department.

The employment opportunities for physical therapist assistants are abundant. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapist assistants was projected to grow 40% from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Projected Job Outlook & Salary Info

For the latest employment and wage estimates for physical therapist assistant careers in Michigan, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website at bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mi.htm.

CAPTE Accredited Program

The PTA Program at Kellogg Community College 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: [email protected]; website: capteonline.orgIndividuals interested in contacting the program/institution directly can call PTA Program Coordinator Julie Dawes at 269-565-7957 or email [email protected].

Accreditation is a process used to assure the quality of the education that students receive. Program accreditation also allows program graduates to be eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination. Most states, including the state of Michigan, require successful passage of this exam to earn licensure and be able to practice as a physical therapist assistant. For more information about licensure, regulations and the field of physical therapy in the state of Michigan, please visit the Michigan Physical Therapy Association at aptami.org.

Outstanding Program Outcomes


KCC’s PTA Program focuses on content and educational experiences to prepare students to be employed as PTAs. The curriculum and clinical rotations allow students to explore career options as a student PTA, achieve success on the licensure exam and secure employment in a satisfying environment.

Graduation Rate
(2019 & 2020)
Licensure Exam Pass Rates
(2019 & 2020)
Employment Rate
(2019 & 2020)
94%

97% Ultimate pass rate

87% First time pass rate

100% of those looking for a position
PTA Club


The student Physical Therapist Assistant Club at Kellogg Community College is interested in education, community service and promoting awareness of physical therapy.

The PTA Club has sponsored many events in the past to support its mission, including sponsoring a room makeover at SAFE Place, a local domestic violence shelter; organizing donations to a greyhound awareness group; collecting items for donation to the local Charitable Union; and annually supporting Santa’s Helper, an organization that supplies Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and Christmas gifts to local families that need assistance during the holiday season.

For more information about PTA Club, contact PTA Club Advisor Tracy Wood at [email protected].

Physical Therapist Assistant Contacts

Julie Dawes

Julie Dawes

Faculty/Coordinator, PTA

Jason Wiersema

Jason Wiersema

Faculty, PTA

Tracy Wood

Tracy Wood

Faculty/ACCE, PTA

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