Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Purpose: To determine which tasks are being taught to physical therapy students as being appropriate for the physical therapist assistant (PTA) to perform.

Subjects: Directors of 72 accredited physical therapy programs in the United States.

Methodology: Self-designed survey questionnaire encompassing activities that may take place within the physical therapy setting. The survey was mailed the 132 subjects who were asked whether those tasks were appropriate for the PTA to perform. The three possible responses were "Yes," "no," and "Instructor's Discretion." Final return rate was 54.5%, n=72.

Results:This study's findings indicated that there are inconsistencies in the curriculum content in physical therapy programs as related to the role of the PTA. Respondents indicated greater agreement in "Yes" responses in the treatment implementation category, with a mean percentage rate of 76.6% (s=17.64). The administration activity category showed a mean percentage rate of 72.5% (s=7.74) of "Yes" responses. The patient assessment category with 48.8% (s=19.94) mean percentage rate showed the lowest agreement in "Yes" responses of all categories.

Conclusion: The inconsistencies shown in this study may be a reflection of participants' perceptions of what the role of the PTA should be. They may also be due to educators in physical therapy programs not being aware of changes in the PTA curricula. Future research is suggested to further examine this issue.


Physical Therapy

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