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Program Information

Physical therapist assistants are healthcare providers who work under the supervision of physical therapists. Their duties include assisting the physical therapist in implementing treatment programs according to a plan of care, training patients in exercises and activities of daily living, conducting treatments using special equipment, administering modalities and other treatment procedures and reporting to the physical therapist on the patient's responses.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics, there were approximately 71,400 physical therapist assistants employed in 2012. That number is expected to grow by 41% from 2012-2022, due to the growing number of individuals with disabilities or limited function and the increasing use of physical therapist assistants to reduce the cost of therapeutic services.

The PTA program offers a curriculum that is well-rounded in all fundamental concepts and theories as they apply to physical therapy modalities and rehabilitation procedures. The technical phase of the South University West Palm Beach Physical Therapist Assistant program consists of six academic quarters of lecture, laboratory, and clinical coursework. The academic program is taught in the days and evenings at the West Palm Beach campus.

Clinical Experience and Externship

The program has two full-time clinical education experiences in which students complete 640 hours of clinical education. An integrated clinical experience occurs during the technical preparation phase, in which a seven week full-time clinical experience is followed by three weeks of clinical and didactic assimilation. The terminal nine week full-time clinical experience is conducted in the final quarter of the technical phase of the program. Students return to campus after their first clinical experience to complete a course in Current Rehabilitation Issues between the clinical experiences. This course allows for the integration of clinical experiences with didactic materials and the opportunity to correct deficiencies identified in the assessment of the student's performance in the clinic. The clinical experiences are chosen from a variety of settings, which may include hospitals, nursing homes, sub-acute facilities, and outpatient centers with which the program has entered into clinical agreements.

For information about the South University West Palm Beach Physical Therapist Assistant program, please contact the program faculty listed under the Helpful Links tab.

Program Outcomes

The curriculum is designed to produce students who will meet the following programmatic outcomes:
1. All students will complete all clinical externships with a Pass (P) grade.
2. The Physical Therapist Assistant National Physical Therapy Examination (PTA NPTE) ultimate pass rate will be equal to or above the national average for all graduates (2 year average).
3. All students who achieve a passing NPTE score will seek licensure in their state of residence.
4. 90% of licensed graduates seeking employment will be employed in-field within 1 year of graduation.
5. The results of graduate surveys will reveal overall satisfaction with their preparation at South University.
6. Employer surveys will report South University graduates functioning at a higher-than-average (>4 on a 7 point scale) level in all areas of practice & employability.

South University, West Palm Beach
Program Outcomes 2010-2012
Graduation rate = 73.74%
Licensure exam pass rate: 93%
Employment rate: 84%

Accreditation Information

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at South University, West Palm Beach, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website:

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