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Degree Overview

Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

Shannon Herrin, Program Director, Physical Therapist Assistant

The Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant 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 Richmond Physical Therapist Assistant program consists of five academic quarters of lecture, laboratory, and clinical coursework. The academic program is taught during the day at the Richmond campus.

The program has one part-time and two full-time clinical education experiences in which students complete 660 hours of clinical education. The first clinical experience is integrated into the second quarter of the technical phase of the program. The second and third clinicals take place during the last two quarters of the curriculum, with students returning to campus 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.

Commission on Accredtitation in Physical Therapy Education

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at South University, Richmond, 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: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 804-727-6861 or email

Graduation Rate


South University Richmond's PTA Program 2017-2018 graduation rate.

Pass Rate


South University Richmond's PTA Program 2017-2018 NPTE licensure exam pass rate.

Employment Rate


South University Richmond's PTA Program 2017-2018 graduate employment rate.

Admission Requirements

Please see the South University academic catalog for program specific admissions requirements.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 98,700 physical therapist assistants employed in 2019. Employment of physical therapist assists is projected to grow 33% from 2019-2029, much faster than the average for all occupations ( 


Graduation from a CAPTE accredited physical therapist assistant education program or its equivalency and passage of the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) is required for licensure.  Graduation from this program does not guarantee licensure as a PTA, and it is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the licensure requirements in each state. Complete information on practice acts and regulations can be obtained from the individual state licensing boards or through The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (  Specific information regarding application for licensure will be available to the student during the last term of study.

Course Requirements

Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant: 110 Credits

Offered at South University, Richmond; and South University, Virginia Beach.

 This program is a technical program and credits generally earned in this program are not applicable to other degrees.

Area I General Education: 36 Credits

(Quarters 1 - 3)

BIO1011 Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 Credit Hours

(must be taken concurrently with BIO 1012 <em>2 credit hours</em> Anatomy and Physiology I Lab)

BIO1012 Anatomy and Physiology I Lab, 2 Credit Hours
BIO1013 Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 Credit Hours

(must be taken concurrently with BIO 1013 Anatomy and Physiology II <em>4 credit hours</em> Anatomy and Physiology II)

BIO1014 Anatomy and Physiology II Lab, 2 Credit Hours

Math Elective (MAT1001, MAT1005 or MAT1500 4 credit hours

ENG1100 Composition I, 4 Credit Hours

English Elective:

ENG1200 Composition II, 4 Credit Hours


ENG1300 Composition III, 4 Credit Hours
  • Approved Communications Elective (COM2006 or SPC1026 ) 4 credit hours
Social Sciences
AHS1001 Medical Terminology, 4 Credit Hours
  • Approved Social Science Elective (PSY1001 or SOC1001 ) 4 credit hours
UVC1000 Strategies for Success, 4 Credit Hours

*Required if the student is also required to take MAT0099 


Area II Technical Phase: 74 Credits
4th Quarter
PTA1001 Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant, 4 Credit Hours


PTA1003 Pathophysiology, 4 Credit Hours
PTA1005 Kinesiology, 6 Credit Hours
PTA1006 Testing and Measurement for the Physical Therapist Assistant, 6 Credit Hours
5th Quarter
PTA2000 Habilitation/Rehabilitation, 6 Credit Hours
PTA2024 Therapeutic Interventions I, 6 Credit Hours
PTA2047 Essentials of Clinical Care, 2 Credit Hours
6th Quarter
PTA2025 Therapeutic Interventions II, 6 Credit Hours
PTA2046 Advanced Habilitation/Rehabilitation, 6 Credit Hours
PTA2050 Professional Seminar, 4 Credit Hours
7th Quarter
PTA2048 Clinical Externship I, 8 Credit Hours
PTA2049 Current Rehabilitation Issues, 4 Credit Hours
8th Quarter
PTA2099 Clinical Externship II, 12 Credit Hours

**PTA1001 may also be taken in the quarter preceding the Technical Phase of the program.


Graduates will be able to:

  • Provide safe, efficient, efficacious interventions within the plan of care established by the physical therapist.
  • Communicate using effective and culturally-competent verbal, nonverbal, written, and digital communication.
  • Provide effective education to patients, caregivers, and members of the healthcare team.
  • Demonstrate the ability to appropriately and efficiently utilize resources to provide high- value physical therapy services.
  • Recognize the importance of maintaining competence in applicable areas of physical therapy practice.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work within the guidelines and standards established by regulatory, professional, and organizational entities.
  • Demonstrate behaviors consistent with the Core Values of the profession of physical therapy.
South University, Richmond
Program Outcomes 2017-2018
Graduation Rate89.4%
Licensure Exam Pass Rate100.0%
Employment Rate97.6%

Comments and Concerns

Please fill out this form and email to both and with any Comments, Concerns and Complaints.

All Fields Are Required

Note: Complaints regarding accreditation may be submitted directly to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Information regarding this process can be found online at

To file an anonymous complaint, please submit the comment, concern, or complaint in a written letter or via email directly to the campus.

Authorization for South University to contact you to collect additional factual information regarding your comment, concern, or complaint

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Learn More

Physical Therapist Assistant Program at South University

You want to make a difference. You want to give back. You want to help people work their way back to health and wellness. Put your compassion and people skills to work with a career in physical therapy. A Physical Therapist Assistant degree can do more than improve your life. It’s a meaningful way to improve the life of others, too.

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Success Stories

Outstanding Education for Remarkable Careers

We're committed to helping our graduates make an impact in their professional and personal lives. We applaud our alumni and the difference they make. Check out what some of our healthcare graduates have to say.

Laceye A. Parker 2010
Laceye Parker Grad Alumni
Class of '13
Doctor of Pharmacy

“I had always been interested in healthcare, and as a child thought about becoming a physician. But when both my grandfathers became seriously ill, I came to a new appreciation of the vital role that pharmacists play in achieving positive outcomes for patients. As soon as I completed my master's degree, I decided to enter South University's Doctor of Pharmacy program. I've learned through my work at SCDHEC, and in my MBA program and Pharmacy School at South University, is laying a firm foundation for my career as a pharmacist.”

Crystal May 2014
Crystal May Grad Alumni
Class of '14
Bachelor of Sceince in Healthcare Management

“The staff was the heart of my experience at South. The staff worked together to provide a positive learning environment and truly had passion in educating the students. The staff helped me identify my strength and interest in the financial avenue of healthcare, and helped me see the benefits of pursuing this career. South University gave me the tools I need to be successful and validated my capabilities to be a successful professional.”

Robyn Smith 2007
Robyn Smith Grad Alumni
Class of '07
Associate of Science in Physical Therapy Assistant

“I had only heard good things about their PTA program and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I find it very rewarding and emotional when a patient of mine who hasn't walked in a while takes steps again. It makes going to work everyday worth it to know that i can help improve the quality of life for some of these people.”

Anna Langley 2014
Anna Langley Grad Alumni
Class of '14
Master of Science in Physician Assistant

“During my [admissions] interview, I really felt like South was a place that professors were encouraging, welcoming, and helpful. I also was drawn to the small groups that they present. I liked the idea of having a faculty member mentor to guide a smaller group of students throughout the entire program. The rigorous nature of the coursework prepared me well for the boards and the ability to be successful in my career. During clinical rotations, I was able to apply what I had learned and gain valuable patient experience that has helped me today”

Allyson Obluck 2017
Allyson Obluck Grad Alumni
Class of '17
Associate of Science in Occupational Therapist Assistant

“I wanted to make a difference and I knew occupational therapy was a hands-on way to improve quality of life for many people. My professors always made the effort to ensure that I understood the material and were constantly encouraging me to be better and do better. All of my experiences throughout my clinical rotations challenged me to think outside the box and to trust my instincts.”