Physical Therapist Assistant - Application Checklist

Students interested in pursuing admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Iowa Western Community college must complete all admission requirements listed below in sections 1 and 2. In order to be eligible for admission, students must complete the requirements below by the application deadline. If the program does not fill on this date, students will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until the program has filled.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Iowa Western Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245;; website: The program’s current status is probationary accreditation; for more information see If you would like to contact the program/institution directly, please call Dr. Todd Nierman at (712) 388-7697 or email .

Equal Educational Opportunity and Non-discrimination

It is the policy of Iowa Western Community College to provide equal educational opportunities and not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, genetic information, physical or mental disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, veteran status, AIDS/HIV status, citizenship, or medical condition, as those terms are defined under applicable laws, in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices.  Inquiries and complaints regarding equal opportunity and nondiscrimination policies should be directed to the Equal Opportunity Coordinators, phone number 712-325-3200,; or the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Citigroup Center, 500 W. Madison, Suite 1475, Chicago, IL 60661, phone number 312-730-1560, fax 312-730-1576.

Locations Semester Program Begins Application Deadline Program Capacity
Council Bluffs Fall Semester (August)

Early Deadline - June 1

Late Deadline - August 1


It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all admissions requirements are on file with the Office of Admissions and that his or her admissions application is correct, including intended start term, start year, and location.


Section 1: College Admissions Requirements

Once you complete the application for admission and submit transcripts you will be accepted to Iowa Western as a Prep-Physical Therapist Assistant student, and will be eligible to register for general education courses required for the Physical Therapist Assistant program, including the prerequisite  courses required for admission to the program listed in Section 2.  For more information on getting registered for general education courses, or for help with the admissions requirements, please contact us at or call 712.325.3277.

Section 2: Physical Therapist Assistant Program Admissions Requirements

Recommended Course Sequence for Admission

Before a student can be considered for admissions into the PTA program, students must complete the pre-requisite course work for First Semester, Second Semester, and be enrolled in (or completed) the Third Semester - see below. 

First Semester (Fall Semester) - Prerequisite I Courses:
ENG-110 Writing for the Workplace (may substitute ENG 105 Composition I)
MAT-743 Technical Math (may substitute MAT 102 Intermediate Algebra or higher)
HSC-113 Medical Terminology
PTA-02 Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant
Second Semester (Spring Semester) - Prerequisite II Courses:
BIO-168 Human Anatomy & Physiology I
PSY-111 Introduction to Psychology
SPC-120 Intercultural Communications
PTA-105 Basic Skills for the PTA
Third Semester (Summer Term) - Prerequisite III Course (completed or in progress)
BIO-173 Human Anatomy & Physiology II

*Note: applicants can be accepted into the program while BIO 173 is being completed, but with a contingency that this course will be completed with a grade of "C" or higher prior to starting the program.

  Section 3: Acceptance process for Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Applicants will apply for admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program prior to the start of the fourth semester of the recommended course sequence. In order to be eligible for admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program, the applicant must complete all of the requirements listed in Section 2:Physical Therapist Assistant Program Admissions Requirements by the early or late application deadline.Unless approved otherwise by the program director, the maximum number of new students admitted into the program each year is 24.

If the applicant meets all of the eligibility requirements and 24 students have been formally accepted into the program, the applicant will be placed in order on an alternate list. If an applicant declines acceptance into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program prior to the start of the program, the first applicant on the alternate list will be offered a position in the program. Once the program has started, no additional applicants will be added and applicants on the alternate list will need to re-apply to the program the following year.       

Section 4: Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program?

The prerequisite courses can be completed within three semesters, as noted above.

Is there a separate application process to apply for the program?

No, Iowa Western does not have a separate application process. The Office of Admissions uses what is called your "Start Term" (example: fall 2019) for acceptance in our competitive programs. It is important that the start term on file correctly reflects the semester you anticipate to start the program. Students can request to have their start term updated by submitting the Update Start Term Form

If I do not complete the requirements for the program in time to be accepted, can I reapply?

Yes. To reapply, simply update your start term - click here. You may also visit the Office of Admissions, contact us at or 712.325.3277 and request to change your start term.

How will I know if I get accepted to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program?

Approximately two weeks after acceptance begins, which is June 1st for the fall semester, you will receive an email from the Office of Admissions indicating your admissions status. If the program is not yet full at that time, we will continue accepting students who complete the requirements until the program fills.


 Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Observation Form for Prospective Students

 To be completed by the student and signed by the participating Physical Therapist (PT) or Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA).


Student name (print or type): _________________________________________ Date of Birth: _________________________

The purpose of observation is to expose applicants to a wide-variety of procedures and practices performed by a physical therapist assistant (PTA) and/or physical therapist (PT). Applicants are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of observation. Although applicants are encouraged to observe a variety of procedures, the applicant is required to observe specific procedures detailed in this form.

In order to successfully complete this requirement for admission, applicants must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 20 hours of observation. 
  2. Complete the Required Procedures for Observation detailed below, and ensure that the supervising Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) or Physical Therapist (PT) initials and dates each Required Procedure for Observation.
  3. Complete the Observation Details by indicating which procedures they observed and in what setting they observed those procedures in by placing check marks in the appropriate boxes.
  4. Complete the Observation Log by documenting the times and dates for each observation.
  5. Ensure that the supervising Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) or Physical Therapist (PT) completes the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) or Physical Therapist (PT) Certification section .
  6. Sign and date the Applicant Certification section and submit it to the Office of Admissions.

Since you are completing this observation upon the requirements for admission into the Iowa Western Physical Therapist Assistant Program, please adhere to the following guidelines:


Required Procedures for Observation

The following procedures are required for observation. The supervising Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) or Physical Therapist (PT) must initial and date next to each observed procedure.

Procedure Required for Observation Supervising PTA or PT Initials Date of observation
Modalities (must observe all three):    
Spine/Extremities (must observe all five):    
Cervical Spine
Lumbar Spine
Interventions (must observe all three):    
Gait Training
Balance Training
Transfer Training

Observation Details

In addition to the Required Procedures for Observation, applicants are required to document each additional procedure they observe during their 20 hours of observation. Applicants are encouraged to observe a wide variety of practices and procedures, and document them using the chart below.

Practice/Procedure Date Practice/Procedure Date

Observation Log

Applicants are required to document the times and dates of their observation hours using the log below.

Date Time In  Time Out Hours









    Total Observation Hours  

Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) and/or Physical Therapist (PT) Certification

This section must be completed by the supervising PTA and/or PT

By signing below, I hereby certify that the information provided on this form is true and accurate.

Signature(s) of PTA and/or PT: _______________________________________, __________________________________

Printed Name(s) of PTA and/or PT: ____________________________________, __________________________________

Name of Clinic or Facility:

Address of Clinic or Facility:

Phone Number of Clinic or Facility:

Applicant Certification

By signing below, I hereby certify that all information on this form is true and correct.

Signature of Student: ______________________________________ Date: ____________________