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Getting Started in the

Physical Therapist Assistant Program

    If you are entering the PTA program with earned college credit from another institution, have the official transcripts from the institutions sent to MCCC for evaluation. This is a part of the application process at MCCC.  Essentially, previous general education courses in which you have earned a grade of "C" or higher will be eligible for transfer into the PTA program.

Answers to Common Questions:

Who can assist me with advising during the pre-professional phase of the PTA program?

The pre-professional phase of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program focuses on the criteria for official program admission, including coursework and any other requirements.  For information/questions on the pre-professional phase of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program, please contact:


Cindy Matyas, M.Ed.

Health Professions Coordinator


(609) 570-3596



I took and English course more than 10 years ago, will that transfer into the PTA program or will I have to retake that course?

As long as you earned a grade of "C" or higher, then your English course from 10 or more years ago will be eligible for transfer. Make sure that copies of the official transcripts for the pre-requisite course, ENG 101 has been sent to the Student Records Office at Mercer.

I took Anatomy & Physiology more than 10 years ago, will I have to retake that course or will that transfer into the PTA program?

Anatomy and Physiology is an exception and it is not a general education course, it is a core science course. There is a 5 year time limit for Anatomy & Physiology and all 8 credits must have been successfully completed with a grade of C+ or higher from the same academic institution. This assures that you have the strongest foundation to work from for your PTA courses. This means that there shouldn't be any more than 5 years between when you completed your Anatomy and your petition date. (Yes, you can take a CLEP to demonstrate your knowledge if you need to due to time constraints. Email Professor Kaiser for details .)

I took a Psychology course at another college, will I have to retake that course or will it transfer into the PTA program?

Yes, Psychology has a 10 year time limit for currency which means that Psychology courses must have been taken and past with a grade of "C" or higher within 10 years of the petition date to be considered for transfer. If you have already taken a Psychology course 10 or more years ago and need to meet the Psychology course requirement then you can take a higher level Psychology course other than the "Introductory Psychology" course. The goal is to broaden your current knowledge in psychology, not just require that you take courses.

For more information regarding the "life expectancy of pre-professional phase courses" you can refer to this document.

I live in Bucks County Pennsylvania and there isn't a PTA program at Bucks County Community College. Is there an articulation agreement between Bucks County Community College and Mercer County Community College?

Yes, and since there is an articulation agreement in place, residents from Bucks County PA are considered "out of county" for tuition. You can refer to the following link for a copy of the comparison of courses to take at Bucks for transfer to Mercer. Mercer County Community College-Bucks County Community College Articulation: Physical Therapist Assistant AAS

Is there a chart where I can compare Mercer's courses to those that are offered at the Community College closer to where I live so that I can see whether or not I might be able to take the general education courses a little closer to home?

Yes, just click here and you can take a look at an advisory chart that summarizes this information for you.

       Now that you have decided to pursue PTA as a career choice, there are a couple of pieces of information that that you need to help make things easier for you.

Courses Approved for General Education

      The page for the General Education Courses (which you can download from the title above) lists ALL of the General Education courses however; for the PTA program, you can take anything from categories 5-8 to meet the Humanites requirement for the PTA program curriculum. (These categories are the Social Science, Humanities, Historical Perspective, Diversity & Global Perspective categories.)

Curriculum Worksheet for the PTA Program

       This worksheet has been organized into semesters to help you to understand what courses are suggested for each semester of the curriculum. It also identifies on which is semesters each of the PTA specific courses is offered. This is important to observe since not all PTA courses are offered in all semesters.

Essential Attributes of a Physical Therapist Assistant

       This document has been assembled from the behavioral objectives from all of the PTA program specific courses. The primary purpose for this is for you to read through it to provide you with a very clear picture of what types of things the PTA program will involve you in through each of the courses. If you find that while reading this document you are not interested in the topics that are mentioned or you are not sure whether you are physically capable or performing the tasks that are described, then you might want to consider the possibility of another major. Alternatively, you might want to schedule an appointment with Holly Kaiser, the PTA Program Coordinator to discuss your concerns.

Estimate Page for Expenses related to the PTA Program

     This document has been prepared to provide you with an estimate of the expenses related to the costs for PTA program related expenses which include courses, textbooks, course fees, and other associated fees. It has been prepared for advisory purposes and is an estimate that is subject to change.

Suggested Courses Other Than Those That are Required for the PTA Program

      Test taking skills, an understanding of learning styles, time management, note-taking skills, memorization, listening skills, and critical reading strategies are all very important to success in the PTA program.  Therefore, while the following courses are not required for the PTA Program, they are recommended for PTA students who wish to brush up on the non-cognitive skills necessary to succeed.

  • COL 101 is a 1-credit, 5-week course that helps students build the non-cognitive skills they need for college success such as motivation, goal setting, network building, and time management.   COL 101 teaches things like why students should see their faculty advisor and what to ask.
  • ASK 003 Study Skillsis a 1-credit, 5-week course that focuses on study skills such as note-taking, memorization, and effective reading. ASK 003 teaches things like Cornell note taking and test preparation.
  • COL 100 Strategies for Academic Success is a 3-credit, 10-week course that combines both.

     This document has a list of courses that have been identified as helpful to PTA students but are NOT required courses. The list might be helpful to you if you are coming to MCCC and you already have taken some of the general education courses but need to be a full time student for financial aid or other reasons. This list of courses might be helpful to you in selecting courses that you might not have thought of that could help you to both complete your schedule and help you to reach your academic goals.


Curriculum Planning Sheet

     You may consider taking your general education courses at institutions other than MCCC. This can be confusing but it is possible to accomplish with some planning. This page has been prepared to assist you in that process. If you are taking classes at multiple institutions with the intent on completing the PTA program at MCCC, it is your responsibility to have official copies of transcripts sent to MCCC upon completion of those courses taken at other institutions. It is also your responsibility to make an appointment with your advisor to make sure that the courses that you are taking meet the MCCC requirements.

Academic Advisement

Advisors for student/learners in the PTA program are assigned as follows: those individuals whose last names begin with the letters A-K are assigned to Barbara J. Behrens and those student/learners whose last names begin with the letters L-Z are assigned to Holly Kaiser .

Application for the Professional Phase of the PTA Program

     The professional phase of the PTA program commences each summer. Only those student/learners who have completed all 8 credits of Anatomy & Physiology (which must be completed at the same institution with a minimum grade of C+ within the past 5 years) and PTA 105 Kinesiology are eligible for the professional phase of the program and they are selected from the applicant pool in the Health Science AAS: Physical Therapist Assistant program. To be considered for the next summer's professional phase, you must complete and submit the application following the instructions that are written on the form. 

New for 2018-Everyone must attend one Information Session. Registration information can be found on the PTAP home page in the upper Left hand corner of the page.

There are a total of 28 seats available in the professional phase of the PTA program. All petitioners will be notified in writing of their status by the admissions office after Spring Break as to whether or not they were accepted into the professional phase of the PTA program and the reason(s) for this decision. Those who are most acacemically prepared are accepted first. These decisions are based upon the following:

  1. Semester of first matriculation at Mercer County Community College as a Health Science AAS: PTA major or PTA major
  2. Successful completion of all of the required courses with a grade of C+ or higher for the PTA specific courses and C or higher for the non PTA courses
  3. Successfully completing all 8 credits of Anatomy & Physiology with a grade of C+ or higher at the same academic institution within the past 5 years
  4. GPA, which must be a minimum of 2.5 at Mercer
  5. you must be listed as a Health Science AAS: PTA major or PTA major.

Here's what you can do to help make sure that you are on the right track with your application.

  • Register to take a course at your earliest convenience so that you establish a semester of first matriculation date and a GPA at Mercer!
  • Make sure that you list Health Science AAS: PTA as your major in the admissions office, if your major is listed as something else, complete a change of major form.
  • Meet with your advisor prior to scheduling your classes to make sure that you are taking the classes that you need to take to prepare yourself for the professional phase of the PTA program curriculum.
  • Check your unofficial Mercer transcript online using the "myMercer" online portal on Mercer's website to see what courses have transferred from other colleges that you have attended. If you do not see a record of your courses then it means that your transcripts have either not arrived or not been reviewed. FOLLOW UP on this!
  • Submit your application in the spring semester prior to the February 28th due date, after you have all of the courses completed that need to be completed and you have checked to make sure that transcripts are on file in Mercer's Admissions Office (via the myMercer online or Student Planner portal).