PTA Clinical Education

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program at Sinclair Community College consists of four semesters once the student completes the pre-requisite term and is enrolled in the program. The program is composed of two components, academic and clinical affiliation. The academic component is conducted on campus and includes both classroom and laboratory practice with the student required to pass all skill competencies in order to progress to the clinical affiliation.

The clinical component is composed of two clinical affiliations. These affiliations are scheduled 40 hours per week during the last seven weeks of the third and fourth semesters of the program. The affiliations are conducted in a clinical setting with the student working a schedule that simulates current employment standards.

The Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) for the program meets with the students to discuss the clinical process and review the PTA Clinical Handbook (PDF). Information regarding immunizations and background checks required prior to the first clinical affiliation are included in the PTA Clinical Handbook. Rights and responsibilities for all parties involved with the clinical affiliation are also provided and reviewed.

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 experience different practice environments. The ACCE maintains a variety of clinical affiliation sites through a contractual agreement between the facility and Sinclair, to allow the student the opportunity to participate in two different clinical environments.

While in the clinical setting, the student will be assigned a Clinical Instructor (CI) who may be either a Physical Therapist or a Physical Therapist Assistant who will be responsible for mentoring the student and monitoring the student's progress. The CI is responsible for providing appropriate educational experiences for the student and completing the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI), the tool used to assess the student’s progress toward clinical competence.

The ACCE or a faculty member will make a site visit(s) for each student in each clinical affiliation. At this site visit, the CI, student, and faculty site visitor will meet to discuss the students’ level of performance.

The clinical sites are varied to provide diverse learning experiences in a variety of practice environments. Most clinical sites are located within the tri-state region. The student will be assigned to each clinical site based upon availability and opportunity for a variety of practice environments.

The student must complete 500-600 hours of clinical experience through this part of the curriculum in order to meet the requirements for graduation with an Associate of Applied Science degree.

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