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Degree Overview

Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

Dr. Steve Winkler, 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 Virginia Beach 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 Virginia Beach 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, Virginia 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: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 757-493-6988 or email

Graduation Rate


South University Virginia Beach's PTA graduation rate for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Pass Rate


NPTE licensure exam pass rate for the 2017-2018 academic year

Employment Rate


Employment rate of Virginia Beach PTA graduates for the 2017-2018 academic year

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 98,400 physical therapist assistants employed in 2018. Employment of physical therapist assists is projected to grow 27% from 2018-2028, 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, Cleveland; 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
SPC1026 Public Speaking, 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
PTA1008 Modalities, 6 Credit Hours

Effective winter quarter 2020 students admitted to the professional phase of the PTA program will take PTA2024 Therapeutic Interventions I in place of PTA1008 Modalities

PTA2000 Habilitation/Rehabilitation, 6 Credit Hours
PTA2047 Essentials of Clinical Care, 2 Credit Hours
6th Quarter
PTA2021 Therapeutic Exercise and Orthopedic Applications, 6 Credit Hours

Effective winter quarter 2020 students admitted to the professional phase of the PTA program will take PTA2025 Therapeutic Interventions II in place of PTA2021 Therapeutic Exercise and Orthopedic Applications

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, Virginia Beach

    Program Outcomes 2017-2018

    Graduation Rate


    Licensure Exam Pass Rate


    Employment Rate


Comments and Concerns

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

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.

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.

Jason Miller 2017
Jason Miller Grad Alumni
Class of '17
Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assistant

“South University pushed me hard - to the limits of my mental capacity - and that brought out the best in me.”

Jay Bodalia 2006
Jay Bodalia Grad Alumni
Class of '06
Master of Medical Science in Anesthesiologist Assistant

“I was working as a neonatal pediatric respiratory therapist, and after five years I had reached my maximum potential. I had friends who were in AA school, and I saw how much they enjoyed it”

Jennifer DAngelo 2018
Jennifer DAngelo Grad Alumni
Bachelor of Health Sciences

“I needed a program that would support my professional and academic goals in addition to understanding my family obligations. South University did that and so much more. South University and their compassionate staff and educators never stopped encouraging me to follow my dreams. From helping me with class schedule adjustments to providing financial aid services, they always assisted me in my time of need.”

Jessica Patel 2009
Jessica Patel Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

“I was really seeking a more productive environment, and the possibility of one-on-one relationships with professors, and I've found it. At South, I have a number of favorite teachers, and I simply feel like I belong here because I'm surrounded by kind, friendly people -- and especially by professors who are helpful and accessible! I think I have really good role models for my work, and how I want to see myself in the workplace someday.”

John Fulton 2009
John Fulton Grad Alumni
Class of '09
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

“As soon as I got here, I really felt like the  courses suited my personality.”

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