Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant

Message from the Director of the Associate Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant Program


Dear Student:


I cordially welcome you to the Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) at Atenas College. You are in a privileged place to take your first steps towards the goal of becoming a PTA.


Atenas College is committed to preparing Physical Therapist Assistants at entry level, competent to work under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist in a safe, ethical and legal manner. You will have the support of a committed faculty that will go along with you step by step during your training as a health professional.


The Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant will provide you with all the necessary tools for your preparation and practical learning, in which you will be integrated into the Clinical Simulation and Learning Center with laboratories equipped for the development of the competences established in the program.


On the road to success, it is important to raise awareness that your commitment, passion and dedication will allow you to achieve the best results to perform as a Physical Therapist Assistant. We will be working together to provide you with the necessary tools to achieve passing the licensure exam and obtaining your permanent license. I trust that your experience in the program will be of great satisfaction and academic enrichment.


Once again, welcome!


Dra. Cristina M. Echevarría Crespo, PT, DPT

Program Director



PTA Program Vision Statement

In line with the institutional vision, the vision of the Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant is to be an educational program known for its excellence in learning through innovative strategies, among which simulation stands out. We expect the program to be distinguished for its input to the educational field, developing competent professionals and establishing collaboration alliances at a local, national, and international level in addition to being leaders in Physical Therapist Assistants training.


PTA Program Mission Statement

In line with the institutional mission statement, the mission statement of the Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant is to provide student training aimed to develop the expected competencies for an entry-level Physical Therapist Assistant, and to work under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist in a safe, ethical, and legal manner. Furthermore, the program seeks to develop graduates who can assume responsibility for themselves and to respond, within their scope of practice, to the needs of health and wellbeing of the community.


Program Values

The PTA Program management adopts the core values of the Physical Therapist Assistant as defined by the American Physical Therapy Association1 and is committed to base all its actions in such values. Student conduct must show adherence to these values in all its actions within the program, including visits and clinical experiences in clinical education sites. The core values of the Physical Therapist Assistant are:


  • Altruism
  • Care and Compassion
  • Ongoing Competency
  • Duty
  • Integrity
  • PT/PTA Collaboration
  • Responsibility
  • Social Responsibility


[1] Values-Based Behaviors for the Physical Therapist Assistant. American Physical Therapy Association. Enero 2011.

Accesible en:

Accedido el 21 de diciembre de 2014.


Program Description

The Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant trains entry-level professionals with the skills and competencies required to work under the supervision and direction of a Physical Therapist. The Physical Therapist Assistant helps the Physical Therapist in treatment of people on any stage of growth and development, who shows health problems or conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities of their everyday life. Graduates from this program are prepared to take the board exam from the Puerto Rico Examining Board of Physical Therapy.


Program consists of 71 credits distributed into five (5) semesters. The student must meet the out-of-class- hours (outside work) required by the US Department of Education.


Table 1. Program Breakdown


25 month

General, Sciences y Math Courses Technical Courses Total
Credits 31 40 71
Hours 510 1,290 1,800
Credential PTA- Physical Therapist Assistant
Total Credits Total Clock-hours
71 credits 1,800 hours

Conceptual Curricular 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.

Program Philosophy

The Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant, in harmony with the philosophy of Atenas College and its Undergraduate Division, is committed to the development of Physical Therapist Assistants who possess the knowledge, skills, values ​​and competences expected for this level of preparation in Physical Therapy. In addition, that they know their abilities, recognize their development opportunities, assume responsibility for themselves and respond to the social needs of health and well-being according to their abilities.


We believe that the internal reflection of the human being occurs continuously as part of the interaction with its context. The variations of this context, as well as their interpretation of them, are determinants of the thoughts, of the acts and of the capacity of adaptation that constitute part of the processes of growth and development. The human being is influenced by his past and present experiences, by inheritance and environment; and through reflexive action and self-criticism, he is able to learn and train as an educated person. The faculty of the program is committed to establishing and maintaining an enriched environment that promotes active learning of the technical skills necessary to practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant through flexibility, openness, respect, appreciation of differences and the use of strategies and contemporary learning and evaluation techniques that promote the integration of knowledge, value and doing.


We believe in the fundamental value of optimal health. In the same way, we have adopted the understanding that the human being is capable of said state of health through dynamic and continuous interaction between his health condition, environmental or context factors and the personal factor. Physical Therapy directly contributes to achieving an optimal state of health, minimizing the consequences of the disease, and improving the patient’s quality of life, providing care focused on their needs and problems.


We prepare students capable of assuming their duty to serve in a responsible, effective, ethical, safe and legal manner for the profession, patients and their families, as well as for society; and able to exhibit a behavior based on each of the expected values ​​of a Physical Therapist Assistant, as adopted by the American Physical Therapy Association in January 2011.


Program Organization Chart