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Physical Therapist Assisting

The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in the Physical Therapist Assisting program prepares students to use therapeutic modalities and procedures under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. The physical therapist assistant works with patients who have physical impairments requiring physical therapy services to relieve pain and heal damaged tissue; and to improve range of motion, strength, and functional mobility. Physical therapy treatments include but are not limited to the application of therapeutic modalities; therapeutic exercise including stretching, range of motion, and strengthening; mobility skills including ambulation, transfers, and wheelchair mobility activities; balance exercises; and wound care management.

The Physical Therapist Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Only graduates of an accredited training program may practice as a physical therapist assistant in the state of Arizona. Program graduates are eligible to apply for the certification examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. A passing score on this examination is required for licensure/certification to practice as a physical therapist assistant in Arizona and in many other states.


Details iconImportant information you’ll need when applying for admission:
Field of Interest
Health Sciences
Associate Degree
Academic Plan
Physical Therapist Assisting (DEG)
Academic Plan Code
Total Credits Required
Catalog Year

Students must earn a grade of C or better for all courses required within the program.

Students with other related health care experiences not listed on the following program preparatory options may request an evaluation for course competency equivalence for work experience or equivalent education as evaluated by the GateWay Health Core Curriculum Coordinator. Once admitted to the program, students should plan to attend full-time. Students can achieve the AGEC-A by completing a second course with an HU designation, a second course with an SB designation, a course with a CS designation, a course with an SQ designation, a course with an L general education designation, a course with the C designation, and a course with either the G or H designation. Courses with an HU, SB, or L designation may also be used to fulfill the C, G, and/or H designation requirements.

What You'll Learn

This pathway map will help you gain the expertise needed to:

  1. Perform treatment techniques to patients according to the physical therapist's plan of care.
  2. Utilize lawful and ethical guidelines for decision-making in the workplace.
  3. Apply knowledge of disease processes for effective treatment of patients in the physical therapy practice setting.
  4. Apply the foundational principles of treatment, patient care and safety, as applied to the practice of physical therapy.
  5. Demonstrate problem-solving techniques, professional ethics and patient care management skills in the role of a physical therapist assistant in the clinical setting.
  6. Apply basic techniques of therapeutic and effective communication in a health care setting.
Career Opportunities

Successful completion of this degree may lead to employment in a variety of different occupations and industries. Below are examples of related occupations with associated Maricopa County-based annual median wages* for this degree. Education requirements vary for the occupations listed below, so you may need further education or degrees in order to qualify for some of these jobs and earn the related salaries. Please visit with an academic advisor and/or program director for additional information. You can click on any occupation to view the detail regarding education level, wages, and employment information.

* Career and wage information provided by Emsi using data, reports, and forecasts which are generated using government data sources and Emsi’s proprietary analytical processes. Emsi’s data covers multiple classes of workers including QCEW, non-QCEW, and those who are self-employed. Disclaimer
Admission Criteria

1. Formal application and admission to the program by a point system is required. See point system description in Physical Therapist Assisting (PTA) Program packet in the Health Sciences Division of college.
2. Background Check Requirements: Admission to an Allied Health program requires that students be in compliance with the Maricopa County Community College District background check standards. Upon conditional program enrollment, the student must comply with all requirements of the MCCCD background check policy.
3. Clinical Health and Safety Requirements: Prior to placement in the clinical setting, the student must comply with all requirements of the MCCCD clinical health and safety policy.
4. Inability to comply with Background Check Requirements and/or Clinical Health and Safety Requirements prior to placement in the clinical setting may result in cancellation of enrollment.
5. Forty (40) hours of volunteer/work/observation in physical therapy practice settings supervised by a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant are required to apply for admission into the PTA Program. A minimum of 20 hours in an inpatient (hospital, skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation hospital) setting is required.

Course Sequence by Term

The following is the suggested course sequence by term. Please keep in mind:

  • Students should meet with an academic advisor to develop an individual education plan that meets their academic and career goals. Use the Pathway Planner tool in your Student Center to manage your plan.
  • The course sequence is laid out by suggested term and may be affected when students enter the program at different times of the year.
  • Initial course placement is determined by current district placement measures and/or completion of 100-200 level course and/or program requirements.
  • Degree and transfer seeking students may be required to successfully complete a MCCCD First Year Experience Course (FYE) within the first two semesters at a MCCCD College. Courses include AAA/CPD150, AAA/CPD150AC, CPD104, and AAA115/CPD115. Course offerings will vary by college. See an academic, program, or faculty advisor for details.
  • Consult with your faculty mentor or academic advisor to determine educational requirements, including possible university transfer options, for your chosen career field.

Pathway Map Options

There are multiple options available for this pathway map. These options vary depending on the locations, partners, and available tracks of the award.

These pathway map options may share some common coursework. To explore what additional coursework may be required, select your desired option from the list below. Once selected, the list of courses and any associated details will be automatically updated in the course sequence below. The differences between individual pathway map options may only be a few courses.

Note: You will have to select one of the options below to view available course sequences.

Full-time Sequence

To view course sequences, select one of the pathway map options above.

Pathway Map Option Details

No pathway map option has been selected. Please select from the pathway map options listed above.

Course Area Key

Gateway Course = Generally the first major-specific course in a pathway.

Critical Course = A course that is highly predictive of future success in a pathway.


Students must earn a grade of C or better for all courses required within the program.

Course Sequence total credits may differ from the program information located on the MCCCD curriculum website due to program and system design.

View MCCCD’s curriculum website for the Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assisting (

At Maricopa, we strive to provide you with accurate and current information about our degree and certificate offerings. Due to the dynamic nature of the curriculum process, course and program information is subject to change. As a result, the course list associated with this degree or certificate on this site does not represent a contract, nor does it guarantee course availability. If you are interested in pursuing this degree or certificate, we encourage you to meet with an advisor to discuss the requirements at your college for the appropriate catalog year.

Other Versions

The pathway map presented above is for the current catalog year and is the intended pathway map for new students. Other versions of this pathway map from different catalog years are available below:

Catalog YearEffective Dates
2020-20215/26/2020 – 5/24/2021
2019-20205/28/2019 – 5/25/2020