As a component of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program, students are required to engage in clinical education experiences as established by the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE). The clinical component is composed of two 7 ½ week clinical affiliations. These affiliations are scheduled 40 hours per week during the last 8 weeks of the third and fourth semesters of the program. The affiliations are conducted in a clinical setting. Each student works with a Clinical Instructor (CI), who is either a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.
The affiliation component of the curriculum is an extension of the academic coursework and requires the student to apply learned physical therapy interventions under the supervision of a physical therapist. This experience provides the student with the opportunity to engage in different practice environments. All students will participate in one inpatient setting (hospital-based care, skilled nursing, home health) and one outpatient setting (clinic-based orthopedics or rehabilitation) over the course of their clinical affiliations.
All students are required to have an updated physical, immunizations, and background check prior to the start of the first clinical rotation. In addition, students must show proof of personal health insurance before entrance into clinicals. There is the potential for other clinical education requirements (i.e. drug screenings, nicotine screenings, clinical orientations, additional clinical forms, background checks performed specifically by the clinical location). If an injury occurs while on clinical affiliation, Sinclair Community College provides accident insurance for students injured in the clinical setting. The college covers most injuries; however, any treatment denied for reimbursement is the responsibility of the student, not Sinclair. Additional information is found in the PTA Clinical Handbook.
Most clinical sites are located within the tri-state region. The student will be assigned by the ACCE to each clinical site based upon availability and opportunity for a variety of practice environments. Students are required to drive up to 60 miles from available housing, one way, for each clinical experience.
The student will complete approximately 600 hours of clinical experience through this part of the curriculum in order to meet graduation requirements.