Physical Therapist Assistant Application Process
The ACC PTA Program uses an individualized, holistic review process to consider each applicant to the program. This is defined as a mission-aligned selection process that takes into consideration an applicant’s experiences, attributes, and academic metrics. It is designed to consider a broad range of factors reflecting an applicant’s academic readiness, contributions to the incoming class, and the potential for success both in school and later as a professional. Holistic review allows for consideration of the “whole” applicant rather than disproportionately focusing on any one factor. The following are items considered during the holistic review:
- GPA of prerequisites and co-requisites
- Personal written statements that reflect the applicant’s alignment with values and behaviors of the physical therapy profession.
- Personal written statements that provide insight into decision-making and interpersonal communication.
- Personal written statements that enhance the diversity of the PTA Program to reflect that of the community we serve and that enhance the diversity of the profession of physical therapy.
- Applicants must be enrolled in Austin Community College. Click here for more information. Admission to Austin Community College does not guarantee admission to a Health Sciences program.
- The Physical Therapist Assistant program is open to all students. A health science background is not required to apply.
- Applicants must meet the Technical Standards required by the program.
- Applicants must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.80 in prerequisite courses.
The PTA Program only accepts a new cohort once per year. New cohorts start the program in the Fall semester.
Applications are accepted from September 15 to May 26.
Use the following steps as a checklist before you continue to the next section “How to Apply.”
- Activate your ACC email account. All correspondence regarding your application will be sent to your ACC email address. For information on how to set up your ACC email account, please see this page.
- Complete the program-required immunizations and submit the completed immunization form to CastleBranch.
- Register your PTACAS account at this link. You do not need to pay for the PTACAS account until you are ready to submit your application. There is no charge for making an account and entering information.
Prerequisites and Co-requisites
- Complete the following prerequisite courses with grades of “C” or better. See Step 3 for more information regarding co-requisite courses.
- ENGL 1301: English Composition I
- HPRS 1106: Essentials of Medical Terminology
- MATH 1314: College Algebra or MATH 1342: Elementary Statistics (Any college-level math from the Core Curriculum can be submitted for this requirement.)
- PSYC 2301: Introduction to Psychology
- BIOL 2404: Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
- BIOL 2401 and BIOL 2402 can both be used to substitute for BIOL 2404.
- The Anatomy and Physiology requirement must be completed within seven years of the application date.
- For students with both A&P I and II credits, A&P II will be used to determine the seven years rule.
- PTHA 1409: Introduction to Physical Therapy
- PTHA 1409 must be taken within 3 years of the application date.
- Refer to the PTHA 1409 information page for information on the petition process, course substitutions, and other info for this course.
- Students taking prerequisite courses (including PTHA 1409: Introduction to Physical Therapy) in the Spring semester are eligible to submit an application that same semester. The Spring semester is the latest semester any prerequisite can be completed for consideration in that application cycle.
- Students need to complete three additional co-requisites courses. While it is not necessary to complete them before applying, they must be completed in order to graduate. Completion of these courses before admission correlates to a higher success rate in the program. Students are advised to complete all co-requisite courses before applying to the program. Completed co-requisites are eligible for bonus points to the applicant’s ranking score (see bonus points in FAQ), as well as calculated in the GPA.
- SPCH 1318: Interpersonal Communication or SPCH 1311: Introduction to Speech (the Healthcare Professionals topic is preferred but not required) (SPCH 1315: Public Speaking or SPCH 1321: Business and Professional Communication can also be substituted for this requirement.)
- PSYC 2314: Human Growth and Development (Any transferred psychology lifespan course can be substituted for this requirement if course objectives indicate the course covers birth to death.)
- PHIL 2306: Ethics (Any course from the Language, Philosophy & Culture section of the Core Curriculum list can be substituted for this requirement.)
Required Forms & Documentation
- Complete the mandatory Physical Therapist Assistant Information Session. A face-to-face session is recommended for the most complete information about the program. Save the completion confirmation email to upload as a PDF in the PTACAS.
- Applicants must meet the Technical Standards required by the program. Review, sign, and then upload the Technical Standards form to the PTACAS. After acceptance into the program, a primary healthcare provider will need to verify your ability to perform these same Technical Standards. The PTA Department will provide that form for you to submit at a later time.
- ACC requires transcripts from other institutions where you completed coursework that is used for the PTA degree plan. Send those transcripts to ACC as soon as possible. There is an entirely separate transcript process for the PTACAS (see “How To Apply” below). Both of these transcript processes must be completed.
- Applicants must have a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer experience within five years of the application date at one facility. PT aids or technicians may count employment hours for this requirement. Applicants must keep track of hours on the Volunteer Hours Log.
- Complete three Work Skills Assessment forms.
- One form must be completed by the licensed PT or PTA that supervised the volunteer experience. Instructions on how to submit this to the PTACAS are provided in the “How To Apply” section.
- Two forms must be completed by both ACC PTA faculty members in your PTHA 1409 lab section. Faculty will complete these Work Skills Assessment Forms for all students at the completion of the PTHA 1409 course. These will be filed by the department and submitted to the PTACAS for the student.
- If a transfer equivalent for PTHA 1409 from another school was approved, two PTA faculty members from that school must fill out the forms. Contact the Department Chair for details on how to submit forms from faculty external to ACC.
- Applicants will submit five short essays that will be used in the calculation of the ranking scores. All writing prompts are found in the “Program Materials” section of the PTACAS under “Documents.” Having the prompts only on the PTACAS encourages all applicants to make accounts in a timely manner. All essays are de-identified and graded by the PTA Program’s full-time faculty. A separate essay should be submitted for each of the five prompts. If any essays are not submitted, the applicant will score a zero for that essay prompt. All essays will be submitted on one PDF. Each page should include the corresponding essay number and prompt topic, e.g., “1 Professionalism”.
- During the application period (see “Application Deadline” above), go to the CastleBranch website and click the link “Place Order.”
- Enter UL64im in the “Package Code” field. After entering your personal information, the system will prompt you to upload your 1-page immunization form for each of the four required immunizations. The cost to set up the account is $38.
- Documents are approved when you receive a green check next to the requirement. All items must be approved in CastleBranch before your application will be accepted. CastleBranch forms are Health Sciences Division requirements and are separate from the PTACAS process.
Click this link to access the PTACAS, create an account, and begin the application process.
It is important to submit your transcripts to the PTACAS as soon as possible. Failure to do so is the main reason that applications are returned as incomplete. Follow these steps to help avoid this. The following is found in the “Academic History” section under “Colleges Attended”.
- Send all transcripts from every institution you have ever attended to the PTACAS; this includes ACC. It also includes schools where you did coursework that you will not use for the PTA degree plan. Please note that this is different from ACC.
- Electronic transcripts are encouraged when possible, as they are received much quicker. There is also an option to mail in the transcript. ACC does not participate in electronic transcript services to the PTACAS.
- When you add the college or university, you will see a “Required Transcript Types” heading with an Order button. This opens another window where you will see the “Order an Electronic Transcript” option and the “Order a Mailed Paper Transcript” option. Click on the latter to see the PTACAS mailing address.
- When you order from the Registrar’s Office, include the “Transcript ID#” that you see in the mailing address. This number is unique to you and is how the PTACAS will track your transcript once it is received. Alternatively, you can use the “Transcript ID” PDF, but it is not required.
- IMPORTANT: You cannot mail the transcript directly. It must be sent by the institution or the PTACAS will not release your application to the PTA Department.
Part of the application process is entering all courses from your transcripts into the PTACAS. You can enter them yourself for free, or if you prefer, the PTACAS staff will enter them for an additional fee. All courses need to be entered in order for the PTA Department to access your application. You will find this in the “Academic History” section under “Transcript Entry.”
- Enter each course as it shows up on each of your transcripts.
- As you enter each course, you will be asked to include the “Subject” of the course. Some will be obvious matches, for example RHE-101 Rhetoric 1 will use the subject “Rhetoric.” Some however, may not be as obvious. For example, PBH-306 Scientific Communication is a medical terminology course. This will use the “Medical Terminology” subject, not the “Public Health” subject.
- Errors in matching will delay access to your application by the PTA Department. In general, use the subject of the course if the course title does not describe it best. For non-PTA degree courses, the match is not as important, do your best.
The PTACAS gives you an opportunity to identify which courses you want to use for the prerequisites. You will find this in the “Program Materials” section under “Prerequisites.”
- If you have taken a prerequisite course multiple times, be sure to select the course with the grade you want to use. The course and grade you select will be used to calculate your GPA.
- For the Anatomy and Physiology prerequisite, you have two options. If you are using BIOL-2404 Intro to A&P then match that one to this prerequisite. If you are using A&P 1 and A&P 2, then match them both to this prerequisite. Only using A&P 1 is not acceptable and will not count for this prerequisite.
Requesting Work Skills Assessments
This step describes how to request a Work Skills Assessment Form from the PT or PTA that supervised your volunteer hours or your employment hours if you are a PT tech/aid. This is found in the “Program Materials” section under “Questions.”
- It is important that you inform the person who will fill this out that they will receive an email from the Department Chair with a link to an online form. When the form is requested by the PTA Department, you will be copied on the email using the address you provided to the PTACAS.
- Inform them that it will take less than five minutes to complete and that your application will not be processed without their form.
- Double-check to ensure you have correctly entered their information. Ask the clinician which email is preferred; do not assume it will be a work email address.
- You will be notified by the Department Chair when your Work Skills Assessment form has been submitted by the clinician.
- The company that manages the PTACAS also handles several other application systems. Once your transcripts have been received, you are placed in queue for verification. Your place in line is in the order it was received. The quicker your transcripts are received and your application submitted, the quicker the PTA Department can access it.
- DO NOT wait until the deadline date to request transcripts. This will significantly delay the process of selecting a new cohort.
- DO send transcripts for schools that you are no longer attending as soon as you make your PTACAS account. There is no need to wait until you submit your application for this to happen.
- If you are taking courses in the semester you are applying in, request that transcripts are sent when final grades are posted. If you send transcripts that show in-progress courses, you will need to submit another one when the final grades are posted. ACC provides this option when you order transcripts in the MyACC Student portal.
- PDFs of the essays, the Information Session verification form, the Volunteer Hours Log, and the Technical Standards Form will all be uploaded to the “Program Materials” section under “Documents.”
Submitting the Application
- You can save your progress and continue completing your application at a later time. However, your application is not submitted for processing until you pay the $25 application fee.
- Find the “Submit Application” section to complete the process.
- A limited number of fee waivers are available for those that have a qualifying income level. The link can be found here for your convenience. Since there is a limited number, it is beneficial to request one early.
- Please note that the PTACAS is the only way to apply to this program. No mailed or printed documents will be accepted by the Health Sciences office or the PTA Program faculty/staff.
- GPA 1: English, Math, A&P, and PTHA 1409 is weighted 55%
- GPA 2: All other prerequisites and co-requisites completed is weighted 15%
- Essays are weighted a total of 25%
- Work Skills Assessments are weighted 5%
- Bonus points: Details are provided on the FAQ page
Application status letters are e-mailed in mid-June.
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Physical Therapist Assistant Updates
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