Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant

Associate Degree

Message from the Director of the Associate Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Dear Student:

I cordially welcome you to the Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) at Atenas College. You are in a privileged place to take your first steps towards the goal of becoming a PTA.

Atenas College is committed to preparing Physical Therapist Assistants at entry level, competent to work under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist in a safe, ethical and legal manner. You will have the support of a committed faculty that will go along with you step by step during your training as a health professional.

The Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant will provide you with all the necessary tools for your preparation and practical learning, in which you will be integrated into the Clinical Simulation and Learning Center with laboratories equipped for the development of the competences established in the program.

On the road to success, it is important to raise awareness that your commitment, passion and dedication will allow you to achieve the best results to perform as a Physical Therapist Assistant. We will be working together to provide you with the necessary tools to achieve passing the licensure exam and obtaining your permanent license. I trust that your experience in the program will be of great satisfaction and academic enrichment.

Once again, welcome!

Dra. Darisabel Rodríguez Pérez, PT, DPT

Director of the associate degree in PTA program

PTA Program Vision Statement

In line with the institutional vision, the vision of the Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant is to be an educational program known for its excellence in learning through innovative strategies, among which simulation stands out. We expect the program to be distinguished for its input to the educational field, developing competent professionals and establishing collaboration alliances at a local, national, and international level in addition to being leaders in Physical Therapist Assistants training.

PTA Program Mission Statement

In line with the institutional mission statement, the mission statement of the Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant is to provide student training aimed to develop the expected competencies for an entry-level Physical Therapist Assistant, and to work under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist in a safe, ethical, and legal manner. Furthermore, the program seeks to develop graduates who can assume responsibility for themselves and to respond, within their scope of practice, to the needs of health and wellbeing of the community.

Program Values

The PTA Program management adopts the core values of the Physical Therapist Assistant as defined by the American Physical Therapy Association1 and is committed to base all its actions in such values. Student conduct must show adherence to these values in all its actions within the program, including visits and clinical experiences in clinical education sites. The core values of the Physical Therapist Assistant are:

  • Altruism
  • Care and Compassion
  • Ongoing Competency
  • Duty
  • Integrity
  • PT/PTA Collaboration
  • Responsibility
  • Social Responsibility

[1] Values-Based Behaviors for the Physical Therapist Assistant. American Physical Therapy Association. Agosto 2018.

Accessible at:

Accessed November 11, 2022.

Program Description

The Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant trains entry-level professionals with the skills and competencies required to work under the supervision and direction of a Physical Therapist. The Physical Therapist Assistant helps the Physical Therapist in treatment of people on any stage of growth and development, who shows health problems or conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities of their everyday life. Graduates from this program are prepared to take the board exam from the Puerto Rico Examining Board of Physical Therapy.

Program consists of 71 credits distributed into five (5) semesters. The student must meet the out-of-class- hours (outside work) required by the US Department of Education.

Table 1. Program Breakdown


25 month

General, Sciences y Math Courses Technical Courses Total
Credits 31 40 71
Hours 510 1,290 1,800
Credential PTA- Physical Therapist Assistant
Total Credits Total Clock-hours
71 credits 1,800 hours

Conceptual Curricular Model

The PTA Program developed a Curricular Conceptual Model to ensure interrelation between all its components. In its center, as focus for the other elements, is the entry-level PTA. The main objective is to develop a competent entry-level PTA. The graduate profile is necessary for the development of the expected competencies. The program maintains a special relation with its philosophy, mission, vision, and goals and expected outcomes. Its curricular plan was designed taking into consideration all necessary elements to obtain the expected competencies, values, and standards for the Graduate Profile. An Assessment Plan will be applied to ensure all components reach their expectations. This is a continuous and systematic model.

Students will be able to demonstrate their skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, and standards, inside and outside the program. These components aim mostly to the exterior aspect of the program, since graduates must maintain their commitment with ongoing and permanent learning.

The institution’s educational approach is founded on the four pillars of education: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live together. The PTA Program is designed to provide competencies-based education, which is based on the active role of the students as primary responsible for their learning. Courses focus in competencies for the graduate profile, course objectives, and learning outcomes, where students can demonstrate their knowledge after an academic activity and at the end of the course. In order to achieve this, we use a reverse curriculum design. The principles of this model propose to establish objective and learning outcomes prior to selecting instructional methods and ways of assessment. The three stages of the reverse curriculum are to identify the expected outcomes, to determine the acceptable levels of evidence that support achievement of the expected outcomes, and to design activities to reach the expected outcomes.

Program Philosophy

The Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant, in harmony with the philosophy of Atenas College and its Undergraduate Division, is committed to the development of Physical Therapist Assistants who possess the knowledge, skills, values ​​and competences expected for this level of preparation in Physical Therapy. In addition, that they know their abilities, recognize their development opportunities, assume responsibility for themselves and respond to the social needs of health and well-being according to their abilities.

We believe that the internal reflection of the human being occurs continuously as part of the interaction with its context. The variations of this context, as well as their interpretation of them, are determinants of the thoughts, of the acts and of the capacity of adaptation that constitute part of the processes of growth and development. The human being is influenced by his past and present experiences, by inheritance and environment; and through reflexive action and self-criticism, he is able to learn and train as an educated person. The faculty of the program is committed to establishing and maintaining an enriched environment that promotes active learning of the technical skills necessary to practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant through flexibility, openness, respect, appreciation of differences and the use of strategies and contemporary learning and evaluation techniques that promote the integration of knowledge, value and doing.

We believe in the fundamental value of optimal health. In the same way, we have adopted the understanding that the human being is capable of said state of health through dynamic and continuous interaction between his health condition, environmental or context factors and the personal factor. Physical Therapy directly contributes to achieving an optimal state of health, minimizing the consequences of the disease, and improving the patient’s quality of life, providing care focused on their needs and problems.

We prepare students capable of assuming their duty to serve in a responsible, effective, ethical, safe and legal manner for the profession, patients and their families, as well as for society; and able to exhibit a behavior based on each of the expected values ​​of a Physical Therapist Assistant, as adopted by the American Physical Therapy Association in August 2018.

Admission Requirements

This policy was established to provide a clear, transparent, and non-discriminating process to select candidates for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. The following is the established procedure:


1. Before applying for admission to the program, candidates must meet all requirements established in the Institutional Admission Policy.

2. Atenas College guarantees equal opportunity in all its programs, services, and benefits. The institution does not discriminate for reason of race, color, religion, gender, ethnicity, disability, age, marital status, physical appearance, political affiliation, or any other classification protected under the provision of Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and any other state or federal law or regulation applicable.

3. Candidates must meet all admission requirements to be able to apply for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Admission requirements to the Associate Degree Program in Physical Therapist Assistant are the following:

a. Obtain 2.50 minimum overall average.
b. Provide College Board test results or be willing to take an entry evaluation
exam, and if the need is identified, be willing to participate in a tutoring
program in English or Spanish, science or mathematics.
c. Candidates that obtain an admission index under 300 will be referred to an
individualized tutoring program to satisfy their needs.
d. Participate of an interview with program faculty members.
e. Write an essay on a given subject such as future goals, student life, and
professional aspirations, among others, to evaluate reasoning ability.
f. Specific score will be distributed as follows:

GPA (General Point Average) 50%

Interview 20%

Essay 10%

Reading Comprehension in English 20%

Total 100%

5.Maximum value of interview (100) Maximum value of essay (100)
The Program Evaluating Committee shall evaluate all participants and choose twenty-five (25) applications from the best results according to the admission formula.

6. Candidates will receive notification from the Admissions Director and the Program Coordinator, reporting the decision made concerning their application for admission.

Clinical Practice Requirements

Policy on the requirements for clinical education

Atenas College has developed a policy to establish the minimum requirements to participate of the clinical practice experience and the procedure to ensure compliance. This policy also helps ensure the wellbeing and health of students and patients/clients. All students must meet the requirements established by this policy to be able to participate in the clinical education experience.

The requirements and procedure are as follows:

  • Certificate of immunization: Original and copy
  • 3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine
  • 2 doses of Varicella or serological test
  • Influenza
  • Current CPR Certification (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • Original and certification copy
  • Health certificate
  • Original and copy
  • Certificate of negative criminal record
  • Original and copy
  • Copy of Atenas College student identification card
  • Three 2 x 2 photos
  • Copy of Certification of Law No. 300
  • Resume

Additional requirements may be requested by the clinical education/practice site; these requirements may include a drug test and/or N95 Mask Test. The process will take place in accordance with the clinical education/practice site.

Faculty Directory

Dr. Darisabel Rodríguez, PT, DPT

Program Director


Jeniffer Medina, PTA

Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE)

Dr. Misael F. Riquelme, PT, DPT

Program Faculty


Suheiry Rodríguez, PTA

Program Faculty

Eileen Soto, PT

Program Faculty

Licensure exam

Puerto Rico requires practice license under the provisions of the Regulations of the Physical Therapy Profession, Law 114 of 1962. License is required before the candidate can practice as Physical Therapist Assistant. The Puerto Rico Examining Board of Physical Therapy is responsible of administering the licensure exam.

Junta Examinadora de Terapia Física de Puerto Rico

Oficina de Reglamentación y Certificación de los Profesionales de la Salud PO Box 10200 Santurce, P.R. 00908-0200
Tel. (787) 999-8989 ext. 6593

The student is responsible of requesting the licensure exam and becoming familiar the board’s requirements. Students will receive related information in the course: Clinical Practice II (Seminar).

Atenas College Physical Therapist Assistant program utilizes standardized computerized exams to prepare students for the licensure exam. Cost of standardized exam will be attached to the course enrollment.

Program Accreditations

Atenas College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000) The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Outcomes per Graduated Class

The outcomes reached per graduated class from the Atenas College Associate Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant will be presented in the table below. Outcomes will be shown in terms of percentage per each graduated class, considering the following: student satisfaction with the program of study; graduation rate; employability rate; and licensure exam pass rate. The years provided are the actual years of graduation for each class.

Aspect to Evaluate  









Graduate’s satisfaction with the program of study 100% 94%  



Employers’ satisfaction 100% 100% 100%
Graduation rate 100% 92.9% 88%
Employability rate 86% 100% 100%
First time licensure exam pass rate 27.27%* 28.57%*
Ultimate licensure exam pass rate 31%* 27.27%* 28.57%*

Aspect to Evaluate


2-year Average for Graduates



(PTA2017-1/ PTA2017-2)

Graduation Rate 90.45%
Employment Rate 100%
Ultimate Licensure Exam Pass Rate


* Licensure pass rates per student or cohort are not available from the Puerto Rico Physical Therapy Examining Board. The data are obtained through a telephone interview with graduates.

Updated August 2021

Non-Discrimination Policy

All students admitted to the PTA Program must adhere and comply with the institutional non-discrimination policy. Atenas College guarantees equal opportunity in all its educational programs, services, and benefits. This institution does not discriminate for reasons of race, color, religion, gender, origin, disability, age, marital status, physical appearance, political affiliation, or any other classification protected by the provisions of title IV of the Amendments to Education of 1992, the American with Disabilities Act, and any other federal or state law or regulation applicable.