The Profession of Physical Therapy Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

Office Location

Allied Health Building, Room 122

Office Hours

Tuesday 1:30-3:00 pm or by appointment


Course Information

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PTHA-1301-001 The Profession of Physical Therapy


Course Description

Introduction to the profession of physical therapy and the role of the physical therapist assistant.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
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You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information


The Role of the Physical Therapist Assistant:  Regulations and Responsibilities, 2nd edition by Holly Clynch, 2017, published by FA Davis

Medical Terminology Simplified, 6th edition by Gylys and Masters, 2019, published by FA Davis


Computer with internet access


Student Performance

This course is designed to provide student with a knowledge of the history, purpose, and scope of physical therapy and to help students recognize the roles and responsibilities of the Physical Therapist Assistant in physical therapy and the health care system. In order to successfully complete the Amarillo College Physical Therapist Assistant program, the student must successfully achieve a score of 600/800 points on the Capstone Exam. Successful completion of the Amarillo College PTA Program and achievement of a passing score on the National Physical Therapy Examination allows the graduate eligibility for licensure as a physical therapy assistant in all 50 states of the United States.

Given the course textbook, personal notes, handouts and other material, the student should begin to demonstrate competence with components of the following requisite skills identified by CAPTE.

Course Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of physical therapy and the role of the physical therapist assistant.
  2. Describe the history and development of the physical therapy profession.
  3. Describe the American Physical Therapy Association, its function and structure.
  4. Define the roles, responsibilities, and functions of the physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, and physical therapy aide.
  5. Interpret the components of the APTA's Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant and laws governing physical therapy.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the APTA's Professionalism in Physical Therapy: Core Values.
  7. Recognize the components of Values- Based Behaviors for the Physical Therapist Assistant.
  8. Demonstrate the performance of duties consistent with the APTA Guide for Conduct of the Physical Therapist Assistant.
  9. Identify the benefits available from participation in professional and service associations.
  10. Recognize the role of the PTA in the clinical education of the PTA student
  11. Demonstrate an awareness of social responsibility and the non-clinical roles of the PTA.
  12. Identify opportunities available for the licensed physical therapist assistant including specializations, continuing education, and research opportunities.
  13. Recognize the role of the PTA in discharge planning and follow-up as directed by the supervising physical therapist.
  14. Demonstrate an understanding of the health care delivery system and the physical therapist assistant's role within the system.
  15. Identify various physical therapy settings within the delivery system.
  16. Recognize legal, fiscal, and ethical issues that affect physical therapy and the health care delivery system as a whole.
  17. Identify the members of the interdisciplinary team and the roles of each member.
  18. Describe factors having legal/ethical implications on patient interactions in physical therapy.
  19. Identify the importance of patient and family education.
  20. List commonly held stereotype beliefs about the following groups (cultural/ethnic groups, injured workers, and physically challenged).
  21. Compose a paper on cultural competence issues.
  22. Demonstrate understanding of patient confidentiality requirements and regulations.
  23. Identify components of the Texas Practice Act and Rules and Regulations regarding the role of the physical therapist assistant.
  24. Recognize societal expectations of members of a profession.
  25. Describe how cultural and age diversity can impact communication with patients and family members/caregivers.
  26. Demonstrate the ability to effectively perform an interview with a patient and caregiver.
  27. Recognize various models of disability, including the ICF model.
  28. Identify the psychosocial aspects of patient care including disability and death/dying issues.
  29. Recognize the signs of abuse of vulnerable populations. 
  30. Identify and utilize abbreviations and medical terminology common to the medical profession, with emphasis on those used in physical therapy.
  31. Identify quality assurance activities used in physical therapy settings.
  32. Define concepts and principles of continuous quality improvement.
  33. Recognize the role of both verbal and non-verbal communication in physical therapy.
  34. Discuss professional behaviors appropriate in both the classroom and clinical settings.
  35. Compose a research paper on a physical therapy related organization.
  36. Review a peer reviewed journal article for basic concepts of validity, reliability, and statistical significance.
  37. Outline the organization/structure of typical physical therapy departments and healthcare organizations.
  38. Compare common reimbursers for physical therapy and other health services
  39. Integrate appropriate resources on healthcare reimbursement for mock patient case scenarios.


Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

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Expected Student Behavior

Students shall read the Amarillo College "Student Rights and Responsibilities" information with emphasis placed on the Academic Information, Student Conduct and Responsibilities, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Education/Prevention Program sections.

Students will not use cell phones in the classroom, unless the instructor allows use for a specific activity. All such devices must be placed on silent mode and kept stored. If a student expects that there may be some type of emergency situation, the student should inform the instructor prior to the beginning of class. Unauthorized use of cell phones in class will result in the student being asked to leave the class and being counted absent for the lecture/lab.

Student participation is a required element during Lecture and Lab classes. If a student refuses to participate actively or is disengaged in a discussion or activity, the student may be asked to leave class and will be counted absent for the day. Students do have the right to refuse the application of any specific treatment or activity for medical or personal reasons. This does not constitute a reason for absence from class. Alternate activities or assignments will be required.

Students in the PTA Program are expected to dress conservatively and professionally, as expected in the clinic.  Upon request of the faculty, the student will attend class in professional dress including black, navy, or khaki pants and cobalt blue polo shirt with the PTA logo. Clean, closed-toe, closed-heel shoes with non-slip soles in good condition should be worn during all class and lab activities. Amarillo College Badge/ID's should also be worn during all off-campus class and clinical activities.

Jewelry and cologne are to be kept to a minimum. All jewelry should be conservative and limited to a minimal amount. The student's professional dress is subject to approval by the course instructor. If professional dress code is not followed, the student may not be able to participate in the scheduled activity, may receive a grade penalty for the day, and/or may not have the option to makeup the assignment. This decision is at the discretion of the instructor. 

Courtesy and respect are expected between the student and instructor. Students are expected to be attentive to instructor, guests, and other students during presentations. Students are required to extend highest respect to patients/clients/others when making off-campus contact. Lack of regard to this expectation at any time by any single student or group of students may result in immediate dismissal of the student/s from the situation by the instructor, guest lecturer, or patient/client/other.

Dishonesty in the classroom or in completing any assignment will not be tolerated. Students demonstrating academic dishonesty as defined in the "Student Rights and Responsibilities" publication will receive a grade of "F" in the course and will be subject to all PTA Program policies regarding course failure.

Student Grievance: A student who has an issue with the course or course instructor should make every attempt to resolve the problem with the course instructor. If that is not successful, the student may appeal the decision of the instructor to the program director, Allied Health Dean, Dean of Instruction, and the Amarillo College President - IN THAT ORDER.

Grading Criteria


Attendance                                         5%

Assignments/Quizzes                      10%                 

Journal Article Presentation              5%

Giving Back Project                         10%

Cultural Competency Project          10%

Lecture Exams                                  40%

Final Exam                                        20%


The student must successfully complete all assignments and meet course objectives in order to pass the course. The final exam is comprehensive.

  • Assignments may be in the form of a quiz or submission and may be graded on a check-mark system for satisfactory completion. If unsatisfactory work is submitted, the assignment is returned to the student for correction and edits. FAILURE TO COMPLETE ANY SINGLE ASSIGNMENT TO A SATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE WILL RESULT IN A ZERO FOR ASSIGNMENTS GRADE TO BE CALCULATED INTO THE FINAL GRADE AS WEIGHTED BY THE INSTRUCTOR. 

A = 100 - 92.0
B = 91.9 - 84.0
C = 83.9 - 76.0
F = 75.9 and below

Note: A grade of C or better is required to complete the PTA major.

MAKE-UP POLICY FOR LECTURE EXAMS: There will be a penalty for make-ups on exams. Any unexcused absence from an exam results in a 10-point deduction from the earned grade. The make-up exam will vary in format from the original exam. The student must present verification for the absence in order to take a make-up exam without a penalty The instructor may choose what type of verification is needed. 

The student should expect to take the make-up exam on the day the student returns to class, unless otherwise notified by the instructor.

Any student scoring a 79% or lower on a test is REQUIRED to contact the instructor to discuss remediation. IT IS THE STUDENT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO SCHEDULE THIS SESSION. The student will be required to schedule and attend tutoring at one of AC’s tutoring centers.  Locations for tutoring can be found at . The required number of tutoring sessions will be determined at the discretion of the instructor. The student will be required to bring verification of attendance at tutoring to the instructor.

LAST DATE TO DROP/WITHDRAW:  November 23, 2021. Any student not withdrawn by November 23, 2021 will receive the grade earned.


Regular attendance is necessary for satisfactory achievement. Therefore, the student is responsible for class attendance. The student is expected to be seated and prepared to begin class at the designated time. At the beginning of each lecture and lab, attendance will be recorded in Blackboard.  A sign-in sheet may be available for tracking purposes. 

The student's attendance score is based on 100% for each on-time attendance and 50% for each tardy attendance. Habitual tardiness (at least once weekly event) will be addressed with the instructor. The attendance grade is calculated in the course grade as weighted by the instructor. 

Full attendance of class time is also expected. A student will be counted as "absent" if the student is out of class more than 20 minutes of a class time. For example, if in any given day a student arrives 15 minutes late to class, takes an extra 5 minutes for break and leaves class for 5 minutes for any reason (phone calls, appointments, bathroom breaks, illness), that is considered an "absence" for the day. This type of absence counts in the total number of absences resulting in lowering of the final course grade.

If a student is asked to leave a class due to disruption or lack of participation, the student will be counted absent for that entire class.

The rules above apply to all unplanned absences. Prior approval of planned absences and approval of excused absences are solely at the discretion of the faculty based on the circumstances and reasons for absence. Written validation is required for any absence that is considered excused and exempt from this policy. 

Following an absence, the student is responsible for getting missed notes/assignments/copies of handouts, etc. from classmates. The student is also responsible for getting any needed clarification of missed information from the course instructor.


PTHA 1301 Profession of Physical Therapy

Lecture: Tuesday/Thursday 8:00-9:30 am

48 Contact Hours

The final exam for this course will be comprehensive.

Fall 2021 Tentative Schedule


Weekly Topic

Reading Assignment

Discussion Board


Career Assessment

History of Physical Therapy

Chapter 1 and 2 in Clynch

Chapter 1 in Medical Terminology Simplified

First Posts Due Sunday


Physical Therapist Practice Settings

Intro to Medical Terminology

Chapter 3 in Clynch

Chapter 2 in Med Term Simplified



The PT/PTA Relationship

Library Services (please bring computer to class on 9/07)

Body Structure

Chapter 4 in Clynch

Chapter 3 in Med Term Simplfied



Requirements for the Direction and Supervision of the PTA

Integumentary System

Test #1 on Thursday 9/16

Cultural Competency Paper Assignment

Chapter 5 in Clynch

Chapter 4 in Med Term Simplified



Ethical Behavior in Physical Therapy

Respiratory System

Chapter 6 in Clynch

Chapter 5 in Med Term Simplified



The Patient-PTA Relationship


Cardiovascular and Lymphatic System

Chapter 7 in Clynch

Chapter 6 in Med Term Simplified



The Impact of Culture and Spirituality

Digestive System

Cultural Competency Paper due

Chapter 8 in Clynch

Chapter 7 in Med Term Simplified



Documentation for the PTA

Urinary System

Test #2 Tuesday 10/12

Giving Back Assignment

Chapter 9 in Clynch

Chapter 8 in Med Term Simplified



Fall Break



The PTA and the American Physical Therapy Association

Reproductive System

Chapter 10 in Clynch

Chapter 9 in Med Term Simplified



Laws Impacting Physical Therapy

Endocrine and Nervous System

Drug Classifications

Giving Back Paper due

Chapter 11 in Clynch

Chapter 10 in Med Term Simplified



Payment for Physical Therapy Services

Musculoskeletal System

Chapter 12 in Clynch

Chapter 11 in Med Term Simplified



Leadership Development

Special Senses

Test #3 11/16

Chapter 13 in Clynch

Appendix D in Med Term Simplified



Evidence-Based Practice

Drug Terminology

Chapter 14 in Clynch

 Abbreviations Med Term Simplified



Research Article Summary and Presentations due

Beginning Your Career

Special Senses




Wrap Up

Continue Presentations



Final Exam


Schedule may be adjusted at the discretion of the instructor based on class progression.

Additional Information


If you are in need of additional resources throughout the semester, please visit the following site



Syllabus Created on:

08/13/21 4:19 PM

Last Edited on:

09/16/21 8:58 PM