The Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant is authorized for operation by the Puerto Rico Council of Education. We currently hold a Candidacy for Accreditation status from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
The PTA faculty is committed with the ongoing development of professional and teaching skills aimed to engage students in an active and efficient learning environment. Faculty members can also evidence planning skills, instructional delivery, including mastering of course content, and student learning assessment consistent with an active and enriched environment.
The program is expected to provide integrated, up-to-date, high-quality practical training through simulation laboratories, peer-practice laboratories, and supervised clinical experiences to promote achievement of the graduate profile and program outcomes. We currently have three laboratories with the equipment and materials needed for skills development, which are part of Atenas College Simulation and Clinical Learning Center (Simulated Hospital).
In compliance with CAPTE rules and standards, the PTA Program has more than 125% of clinical education experience sites evidenced by letters of intent and agreements. These clinical sites will provide students with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate the expected competencies.
The PTA Program Advisory Committee, comprised of Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants, provides guidance and advising to the program. We also receive input and recommendations from consultants in the clinical and education areas. The PTA Program team is committed to prepare graduates to provide high quality, entry-level clinical care under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist.
The program goals and outcomes provide guidance and direct the faculty towards what we want to develop, create, or maintain for the correct operation of the program. The following are the program goals and their respective outcomes. It is important for the student to become familiar with these goals and outcomes to ensure an active role in the process of compliance.
The PTA Program faculty will demonstrate ongoing development of professional and teaching skills aimed to engage students in an active and effective learning environment.
Upon the annual review, the faculty will evidence the following:
• Planning skills; instructional delivery, including mastering of course content; student learning assessment consistent with an enriched and active environment.
Upon the annual review, the clinical faculty will evidence the following:
• Clinical instruction delivery according to the program goals and expectations.
The PTA Program will provide integrated, up-to-date, high-quality training experiences through simulation laboratories, peer-practice laboratories, and supervised clinical experiences to promote achievement of the graduate profile and program outcomes.
• Outcome #1 – To ensure that ninety percent (90%) of program graduates are satisfied at the end of their academic training.
• Outcome #2 – To achieve retention of sixty-five percent (65%) of the student cohort.
• Outcome #3 – To achieve that eighty-five percent (85%) of program graduates approve the board exam.
• Outcome #4 – To achieve ninety percent (90%) employability of program graduates within one year.
After successfully completing the program, the student will be able to provide high- quality clinical care as an entry-level PTA, under the direction and supervision of a PT.
Those candidates interested in applying for admission to the Atenas College Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant, must consider the following essential skills that all physical therapist assistants must be able to perform.
Physical therapist assistants (PTA) are individuals technically trained in physical therapy and provide certain physical therapy interventions after the physical therapist has examined and assessed the patient and established the Plan of Care.
The PTA follows the plan of care established by the physical therapist regarding the treatment interventions and patient care.
The expectations of each of these functions will depend on the clinical environment and area of specialty of the physical therapy practice.
Atenas College Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant has these Essential Functions in acknowledgement of the rights of the patients to a safe and quality care by PTA students and graduates. The PTA student must be able to apply the knowledge and skills necessary to function in a wide variety of clinical environments and situations, while providing a range of physical therapy interventions. Each candidate must be able to perform, with or without reasonable accommodations, each of these essential functions in order to fully participate in our program and successfully complete the program requirements.
The student learning outcomes (SLO’s) are based on core concepts, direct curriculum organization, and are used to establish student evaluation, assessment, and learning activities. The faculty of each academic program makes use of the information to develop priorities in the alignment of course content and organization with the purpose of improving student learning and evaluate participation applying and transferring knowledge in a proper manner. These outcomes also help us clarify what good performance is, and facilitates the professor’s decision-making to improve teaching.
General education competencies and skills are aligned with the institutional mission, vision, and goals, and reflect on the institutional learning outcomes. The competencies established by the institution as graduation profile, expressed in expected learning outcomes, are:
This policy was established to provide a clear, transparent, and non-discriminating process to select candidates for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. The following is the established procedure:
1. Before applying for admission to the program, candidates must meet all requirements established in the Institutional Admission Policy.
2. Atenas College guarantees equal opportunity in all its programs, services, and benefits. The institution does not discriminate for reason of race, color, religion, gender, ethnicity, disability, age, marital status, physical appearance, political affiliation, or any other classification protected under the provision of Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and any other state or federal law or regulation applicable.
3. Candidates must meet all admission requirements to be able to apply for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Admission requirements to the Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant are the following:
a. Obtain 2.50 minimum overall average in high school.
b. Provide College Board test results or be willing to take an entry evaluation
exam, and if the need is identified, be willing to participate in a tutoring
program in English or Spanish, science or mathematics.
c. Candidates that obtain an admission index under 300 will be referred to an
individualized tutoring program to satisfy their needs.
d. Participate of an interview with program faculty members.
e. Write an essay on a given subject such as future goals, student life, and
professional aspirations, among others, to evaluate reasoning ability.
f. Specific score will be distributed as follows:
70% 15% 15%
5.Maximum value of interview (100) Maximum value of essay (100)
The Program Evaluating Committee shall evaluate all participants and choose twenty-five (25) applications from the best results according to the admission formula.
6. Candidates will receive notification from the Admissions Director and the Program Coordinator, reporting the decision made concerning their application for admission.
Curricular Conceptual Model
The PTA Program developed a Curricular Conceptual Model to ensure interrelation between all its components. In its center, as focus for the other elements, is the entry-level PTA. The main objective is to develop a competent entry-level PTA. The graduate profile is necessary for the development of the expected competencies. The program maintains a special relation with its philosophy, mission, vision, and goals and expected outcomes. Its curricular plan was designed taking into consideration all necessary elements to obtain the expected competencies, values, and standards for the Graduate Profile. An Assessment Plan will be applied to ensure all components reach their expectations. This is a continuous and systematic model.
Students will be able to demonstrate their skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, and standards, inside and outside the program. These components aim mostly to the exterior aspect of the program, since graduates must maintain their commitment with ongoing and permanent learning.
The institution’s educational approach is founded on the four pillars of education: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live together. The PTA Program is designed to provide competencies-based education, which is based on the active role of the students as primary responsible for their learning. Courses focus in competencies for the graduate profile, course objectives, and learning outcomes, where students can demonstrate their knowledge after an academic activity and at the end of the course. In order to achieve this, we use a reverse curriculum design. The principles of this model propose to establish objective and learning outcomes prior to selecting instructional methods and ways of assessment. The three stages of the reverse curriculum are to identify the expected outcomes, to determine the acceptable levels of evidence that support achievement of the expected outcomes, and to design activities to reach the expected outcomes.
General Education, Science, and Mathematics Courses
BIO1101 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4 credits
This course addresses the human anatomical structure and its relationship with the functions of the body. It discusses the main body systems emphasizing in its structure and functions. It relates students to the functioning of cells, tissues, and the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, and endocrine systems. This course meets three (3) hours for theory and two (2) hours for supervised laboratory per week, for an academic term.
BIO1102 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4 credits Pre-requisite: BIO1101
This course is a continuation of BIO1101. Students will learn definition of terms and their relationship with the characteristics and functions of the various parts of the human body. It also discusses the characteristics of the human structures organized by system, and the physiological processes that take place in the organism. Systems discussed include lymphatic, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive. This course meets three (3) hours for theory, and two (2) hours for supervised laboratory per week, for an academic term.
COM1100 Introduction to Informatics 2 credits
This course serves as an introduction to the world of computers, familiarizing the student with the hardware and its operational parts. It emphasizes in office programs used in health care scenarios and writing of general documents. After completing the course, students will have the necessary skills to use a computer, write basic commercial documents, and develop forms to collect patient clinical information. This course meets one (1) hour for theory and two (2) hours for laboratory per week, for an academic term.
TER1200 Medical Terminology 2 credits Pre-requisites: BIO1101, BIO1102
This component is designed for students to identify the basic concepts related to medical terms. Students will analyze the origin, prefix, suffix, and abbreviations for each medical term. They will learn to use the most common terms in English and Spanish, for each of the systems of the human body. This course meets one (1) hour per week, for an academic term.
PTA1000 Introduction to Physical Therapy and Legal-Ethical 2credits Aspects
This course presents the fundamental concepts of physical therapy, its history, and the role of the Physical Therapist Assistant. Also, the legal-ethical aspects of the practice, laws and regulations that govern the profession, teamwork and communication, among others. This course meets two (2) hours for theory per week, for an academic term.
PTA1100 Clinical Kinesiology 3 credits Pre-requisite: BIO1101
This course is designed to prepare students to work simultaneously with different anatomical regions of the human body, applying kinesiology principles and techniques. Study of the extremities, trunk, neck, posture, and gait will be the main objective of this course. Concepts on anatomy, neuroscience, biomechanics, physics, kinetics, cinematics, will be presented to obtain the necessary competencies. The laboratory experience will correlate with theory to ensure emphasis in the functional application for therapeutic interventions. This course meets two (2) hours for theory, and two (2) hours for laboratory activities per week, for an academic term.
PTA1200 Pathological Conditions in Physical Therapy 2 credits Pre-requisites: BIO1101 Co-requisite: BIO1102
This course presents students the common conditions that affect the various systems of the human body. It presents a general overview on etiology, clinical manifestations, treatment, diagnosis, prevention, and special implications for the Physical Therapist Assistant. Some of these pathologies will be explored further along the curriculum. This course meets two (2) hours for theory per week, for an academic term.
PTA1300 Principles and Techniques in Patient Care in Physical 3credits Therapy
This course presents students with a selection of principles and techniques for patient care, to provide physical therapy services. It will also integrate the role of the Physical Therapist Assistant in therapeutic interventions, behaviors, attitudes, values, cultural diversity, and communication skills expected for patient management. Discussion of the following topics: body mechanics, positioning techniques, functional transfer, wheelchair management, infections control, asepsis techniques, isolation procedure, vital signs, gait training with assisted devices, posture evaluation, application of basic therapeutic exercises, documentation techniques, and implementation of the plan of care, among others. Simulated clinical practice and laboratories will be used to improve the knowledge and skills expected for the course. This course meets one (1) hour for theory, three (3) hours for simulated practice, and two (2) hours for laboratory per week, per academic term.
PTA1400 Therapeutic Massage 3 credits Pre-requisites: BIO1102
This course presents students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to provide a therapeutic massage intervention in the scope of the physical therapy profession. It includes the PTA role at providing therapeutic massage considering the plan of care, the established clinical environment, body mechanics, informed consent, positioning of patient, draping, skin evaluation, pain evaluation, communication skills, standards and values, among others. Discussion of the sequence of therapeutic massage according to the area of treatment and the needs of the patient, considering the indications and contraindications. In order to improve the learning experience, students will work in pairs to practice selected massaging techniques in laboratory activities. This course meets one (1) hour for theory, and four (4) hours for laboratory per week, for an academic term.
PTA1500 Therapeutic Modalities in Rehabilitation 4 credits Pre-requisites: PTA1100
This course is an introduction to the physical and mechanical agents used in the practice of physical therapy. It includes physiological principles, clinical applications, indications and contraindications, and precautions, as well as problem solving skills. Therapeutic modalities included are electrotherapy, ultrasound, thermotherapy, cryotherapy, laser, and traction, among others. Students will continue developing skills on universal precautions, patient management and monitoring, and documentation. This course meets two (2) hours for theory, two (2) hours for laboratory, and three (3) hours for simulated practice per week, for an academic term.
PTA2000 Therapeutic Exercise Techniques 2 credits Pre-requisites: PTA1100
This course presents the concepts, principles, and application of techniques related to therapeutic exercise and functional training. Students will learn how to select and design, along with the physical therapist, a safe therapeutic exercise intervention. Students will also apply various interventions in a safe manner, and will learn how to progress according to the patient’s condition. Besides concepts on exercises, various post-surgery conditions will be studied, emphasizing specific-diagnose precautions and treatment guidelines. An introduction to other specialized interventions will be provided, such as cardiac rehabilitation and aquatic therapy. The simulated laboratory experience correlates to theory to ensure emphasis in functional application for therapeutic exercise interventions. This course meets one (1) hour for theory, and three (3) hours for simulated laboratory activities per week, for an academic term.
PTA2100 Physical Therapy applied to Pediatric Patients 3 credits Pre-requisites: PTA 1100
This course prepares student in selected therapeutic interventions for pediatric conditions. Theories and principles on child development and the implications of decision making regarding typical and atypical development. The role of the Physical Therapist Assistant in the selected plan of treatment include development activities, gait and locomotion, fine and gross motor training, and balance correction and reaction, among others. Neurological rehabilitation, sport injuries, congenital disorders, and atypical conditions related to pediatric patients are also included. This course meets one (1) hour for theory, two (2) hours for laboratory, and three (3) hours for simulated practice per week, for an academic term.
PTA2201 Clinical Practice I 5 credits Pre-requisites: PTA1000, PTA1100, PTA1200, PTA1300, PTA1400, PTA1500, TER1200
The purpose of this clinical education experience is to provide students with the opportunity to practice learned theories on patients/clients, under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist and/or a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. Students are expected be able to demonstrate knowledge and skills in the provision of physical therapy related to legal-ethical aspects, clinical kinesiology, principles and techniques in patient care, therapeutic modalities, therapeutic massage, among others. Students participate of a one (1) hour seminar per week for follow-up and compliance with their first clinical experience. Students must meet the standards and expected values of the Physical Therapist Assistant.
PTA2300 Neurological Rehabilitation 3 credits Pre-requisites: PTA1100, PTA1300
This course provides students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills regarding management of patients with neurological diagnosis. Students will demonstrate and apply a selection of interventions for neurological rehabilitation. Discussion of the role of the Physical Therapist Assistant when using methods of evaluation with neurological patients and specific interventions according to the injuries or conditions that affect the nervous system, among others. This course includes an interactive laboratory learning experience. This course meets two (2) hours for theory and two (2) hours for laboratory per week, for an academic term.
PTA2400 Orthopedic Rehabilitation 3 credits Pre-requisites: PTA1100, PTA1300
This course describes the role of the Physical Therapist Assistant when managing orthopedic conditions, including prevention and rehabilitation principles, application of data collection, and therapeutic exercise techniques. Additional topics include normal and abnormal joint movement, measurement of functional range of movement, anthropometric measurement, gait and locomotion training, prosthetics and orthopedic management, among others. Laboratory experience integrates previously learned skills with orthopedic rehabilitation techniques. This course meets two (2) hours for theory and two (2) hours for laboratory per week, for an academic term.
PTA2202 Clinical Practice II 7 credits Pre-requisites: PTA1200, PTA2100, PTA2201, PTA2300, PTA2400
This full-time clinical experience prepares students in real work field with an average of forty hours (40) per week. It provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the competencies of a Physical Therapist Assistant, mainly to work under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist Assistant. The full-time experience is accompanied of a seminar where students are provided with the preparation and requirements to obtain their Puerto Rico or national Physical Therapist Assistant license. In addition, this seminar prepares students for the final clinical experience and for working life. Students must complete three hundred sixty (360) hours of clinical education in a full-time experience, and fifteen (15) hours of seminar, for an academic term.
ING1101 English, I 3 credits
This course provides students with the opportunity to use grammatical structures in an accurate, meaningful, and appropriate manner. Students will be able to integrate the four arts of language: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will acquire aptitude at the sentence level and will learn to communicate appropriately in different levels. This course also helps improve language development and oral communication. This course meets three (3) hours for theory per week, for an academic term.
ING1102 English II 3 credits Pre-requisite: ING1101
This course provides students with the opportunity to use grammatical structures in an accurate, meaningful, and appropriate manner. Students will be capable of integrating the four arts of language: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This course requires the student to progress from the sentence level to the speech and composition level, and to develop their capability for effective communication. This course meets three (3) hours for theory per week, for an academic term.
ESP1101 Spanish, I 3 credits
This course was designed to study the Spanish language, considering the linguistic background and general characteristics of the Spanish language in Puerto Rico. It also explores the fundamental rules of oral communication, grammatical structures, and spelling rules. This course meets three (3) hours for theory per week, for an academic term.
ESP1102 Spanish II 3 credits Pre-requisite: ESP1101
This course was designed for students to acquire the necessary skills for the writing process. These include selection of topic, techniques for generating ideas, and activities to achieve the competencies needed for the writing and communication process. This course meets three (3) hours of theory per week, for an academic term.
MAT1200 General Mathematics 3 credits
Comprehensive mathematics for college level students. Elements of theory and logic, numeric systems, exponents and radicals, polynomials, and rational expressions, basic functions and their graphs. Also, equations and inequalities, linear equations, quadratic equations, elements of Euclidean geometry, area and volume measures, elements of probability and statistics, normal distribution, and basic calculus elements. This course emphasizes in the understanding of mathematical methods and philosophy. It also includes interpolation and extensive tables. This course meets three (3) hours for theory per week, for an academic term.
PRE1101 Preparation for Student Life 1 credit
This course provides help and guidance for students to better adapt to college life. Emphasis is given to problem solving and decision making to achieve professional and academic success. It also provides study techniques and necessary skills for developing critical thinking, and analytic skills to help them meet their academic goals, and progress in their personal life. This course meets one (1) hours per week, for an academic term.
PSI1100 General Psychology 3 credits
This course provides students with a general overview on the psychology field, relating scientific conduct to health. It covers from the psychological backgrounds that founded the bases for this discipline, to contemporary events, equally related to the history of modern psychology. It discusses the main schools of psychological, its theories, and their main exponents. It explains the various scientific research methods used within the psychology field. This course meets three (3) hours for theory per week, for an academic term.
Atenas College is committed to provide clinical education sites that will enrich the overall growth of the PTA student. The PTA program will use the APTA Guidelines and Self- Assessment for Clinical Education, when considering potential clinical education sites.
APTA Guidelines and Self-Assessment for Clinical Education
It is Atenas College’s policy to ensure the placement of students from the Associate Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant Program in Clinical Education Sites is an organized process, which guarantees a safe and quality clinical experience.
Before placing a student in a clinical education site, the student shall participate of an academic advisory session with a faculty member where compliance of pre-requisites to begin the clinical experience is evaluated. All courses must be approved with a minimum of 70%. Laboratory and simulated practice exams must be approved with 85% or more, guaranteeing student’s compliance with the knowledge and skills required for the clinical education experience. The following procedure was established for these purposes.
1. The Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) or a faculty member appointed by the Program Coordinator is responsible for the placement of students in clinical education sites, in communication and agreement with the ACCE.
2. The first approach to consider a physical therapy center as a clinical education site is made by means of letter of intent from the physical therapy center.
3. A site visit shall be coordinated with the ACCE or its representative for proper evaluation, using the above-mentioned criteria and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Guidelines and Self-Assessment for Clinical Education Sites.
4. The ACCE will evaluate the physical therapy center using the clinical education site requirements established by the Program and will make a report for the faculty to determine compliance.
5. If the clinical education site meets the requirements established by the Program, an agreement between the parties must be signed. The recommended term of agreement is five (5) years.
6. It is necessary to provide the clinical education site’s name and mailing address to complete the information requested for the professional liability insurance.
7. The ACCE may place students in clinical education sites as long as there is a valid agreement between the site and Atenas College, and a valid professional liability insurance is issued to cover the students’ clinical experience.
8. If there is an agreement in place (from previous years), it is the ACCE’s responsibility to ensure the agreement and the malpractice insurance are valid before assigning students to the clinical education site.
9. Placing a student in a clinical education sit will also depend on the opportunities available to achieve the executory expectations for an entry-level student.
10. The ACCE shall ensure diversity of scenarios and clinical education experiences. For this purpose, the ACCE will keep a Students Clinical Experience Record and a profile to describe the experiences provided.
Puerto Rico requires practice license under the provisions of the Regulations of the Physical Therapy Profession, Law 114 of 1962. License is required before the candidate can practice as Physical Therapist Assistant. The Puerto Rico Examining Board of Physical Therapy is responsible of administering the licensure exam.
Junta Examinadora de Terapia Física de Puerto Rico
Oficina de Reglamentación y Certificación de los Profesionales de la Salud PO Box 10200 Santurce, P.R. 00908-0200
Tel. (787) 999-8989 ext. 6593
The student is responsible of requesting the licensure exam and becoming familiar the board’s requirements. Students will receive related information in the course: Clinical Practice II (Seminar).
Atenas College Physical Therapist Assistant program utilizes standardized computerized exams to prepare students for the licensure exam. Cost of standardized exam will be attached to the course enrollment.
The following table provides information on estimated program costs. Total cost is established according to the curricular plan.
Naborí Benítez Viera, PTA
MPhEd Program Coordinator
Annex C Second Floor
Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE)
Annex C Second Floor
Atenas College PTA Program is approved by the Puerto Rico Council of Education and the Accrediting Commissions of Schools and Careers (ACCSC). The current Accreditation Status with the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is as follows:
Effective November 11, 2015, Physical Therapist Assistant Program/Atenas College has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates that the program is progressing toward accreditation and may matriculate students in technical courses. Candidate for Accreditation is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.