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Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Associate Degree

Mission and Goals:

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program aims to develop competent paraprofessionals who can offer quality services in their field. It offers a scientific knowledge base, founded on concepts and principles of natural and social sciences and on the humanities in addition to sciences related to physical therapy. It is designed to prepare entry-level paraprofessionals who use knowledge and skills for treatment of individuals whose function is limited or is in danger of being limiting due to some disease or injury.

The Program guides students through the awareness of intervention strategies in the rehabilitation process. Graduates will work under the supervision of a physical therapist in institutions such as general and specialized hospitals; rehabilitation and home care centers; clinics and private offices; schools and industries. In order to practice, graduates must pass the local board exam and obtain a physical therapy assistant license.

The mission is reached through the following goals:

  1. Offer a program designed to expose the student to the practice standards and competencies required in a Physical Therapist Assistant.
  2. Prepare paraprofessionals in physical therapy with the appropriate critical thinking in the implementation of the functions delegated by the Physical Therapist. 
  3. Provide society with competent health paraprofessionals in Physical Therapy that carry out their duties safely and effectively.
  4. Prepare students who exhibit legal and ethical conduct according to the requirements of the discipline to meet the immediate needs of patient care.
  5. Prepare paraprofessionals who are able to take an active, responsible and productive role within their discipline and as members of a health care team.
  6. Prepare students, that once complete their associate degree studies, continue their personal development; stay updated on their discipline and technological advances.
  7. Develop students' skills and provide them with the experiences necessary to successfully complete the Puerto Rico Physical Therapist Assistant licensing exam or the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for Physical Therapist Assistant.


Graduates from the Physical Therapist Assistant Program in will have the following competencies:       

         A graduate from the program will be able to develop the following competencies in the areas of knowledge, skills and attitudes:


  1. Demonstrates basic knowledge of sciences, anatomy and physiology and utilize that knowledge as a basis for their interventions.
  2. Possesses knowledge on basic patient care, therapeutic modalities in physical therapy and pathology of most common conditions in the population.
  3. Demonstrates clear understanding of the level of authority and responsibility within the organization which they serve.
  4. Possesses the knowledge and skills to act effectively in emergency situations.


  1. Effectively execute exercises and ADLs as established in the treatment plan designed by the physical therapist.
  2. Demonstrates the skills necessary for entry-level practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant.
  3. Understands and implements the treatment plan developed by the physical therapist.
  4. Documents the patient’s progress and informs the physical therapist who makes the necessary modifications to the treatment plan.
  5. Communicates to the physical therapist immediately when a change in the state of health of the client occurs and in emergency situations.
  6. Assists in the identification of data that will help the physical therapist to re-evaluate and modify the treatment plan.
  7. Participates in the education of the patient, family, and other health care team members as set out in the treatment plan and under the supervision of the physical therapist.
  8. Documents relevant aspects of the patient’s treatment, their response to treatment and other administrative aspects relating to the services offered.
  9. Participates in the treatment plan as established by the physical therapist.
  10. Demonstrates effective oral, non-verbal and written communication with patients, family, colleagues and other members of the health care team.
  11. Executes their role and responsibilities in accordance with a Physical Therapist Assistant practice standards as established for their level of preparation.
  12. Plans and manages time effectively.
  13. Works under the supervision of a physical therapist in a safe and effective manner within an ethical framework while following legal principles.
  14. Analyzes if delegated duties and responsibilities are within their competency and practice level.
  15. Communicate effectively and in a timely manner with all individuals involved in the care of the patient.


  1. Interacts with patient and their family to provide emotional and psychosocial support taking into consideration cultural and socioeconomic differences.
  2. Interacts with other health care professionals and effectively represents a Physical Therapist Assistant role and responsibilities.
  3. Assumes responsibility for their professional development by completing continuing education workshops, being an active member of professional organizations and the study of literature related to their field of practice.


The Physical Therapist Assistant is a technically educated health care provider who assists the physical therapist in the process of providing physical therapy. The physical therapist assistant may perform procedures and related tasks that are selected and delegated by the supervising physical therapist.

PTA’s help people of all ages who have medical problems, or other health related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTA’s work in a variety of settings including, hospitals, privates practices, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and more.


Requirements for the Associate of Science Degree Program in Physical Therapy

1.   Meet the admission requirements established in the Inter American University General Catalog.

2.   Provide a certificate no criminal record issued by the police of Puerto Rico.

3.   Provide a recent health certificate issued by the Health Department or an authorized doctor.

4.   Provide evidence of vaccination against Hepatitis B.

5.   Have minimum grade point index of 2.50.

6.   Complete an interview with the program’s faculty.

7.   Complete the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Application Form at the Health Science Department.


Academic Progress Requirements:

1.   Meet all the academic progress norms established in the University’s General Catalog.

2.   Pass all major courses with a minimum grade of C and maintain a 2.0 GPA while enrolled in the program.

3.  Students who fail on two occasions in a same major course or two different major courses will be placed on a probationary period no longer than two semesters. If the student fails to comply with the terms of the probationary period, the student will be dismissed from the program.


Having an Institution free of discrimination is at the core of our value system as stated on our mission statement which reads:

“Inter American University of Puerto Rico Institution (UIAPR)-Wide Mission- Developing the talents of men and women, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, age or nationality is IAUPR's main purpose. The Campuses offer diversified programs including, but not limited to, a liberal undergraduate education as well as graduate, professional and occupational programs leading to the degrees, diplomas and certificates usually granted by higher education institutions.”

The Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus strives to have an admissions process that does not discriminate in any manner against any applicant.


Dr. Katherine Rivera, PT MPT DPT

Physical Therapy Program Coordinator

Health Sciences Department

787-284-1912 ext. 3308

Email: krivera@ponce.inter.edu

Dr. Katherine Rivera is our Program Director. She obtained her bachelor degree in Physical Therapy at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus on May 1999. In June 2002, Dr. Rivera completed her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Loma Linda University in California and in 2008 she completed her Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy from Boston University. She is a licensed Physical Therapist in Puerto Rico, and has worked in a variety of settings building ten years of clinical and administrative experience.

Dr. Neysha Miranda

Physical Therapy Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education

Health Sciences Department

787-284-1912 ext. 3307

Email: nmiranda@ponce.inter.edu

Dr. Neysha Miranda is the designated Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education. She obtained her bachelor degree in Physical Therapy at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus on May 2000. In June 2004, Dr. Miranda completed her Master Degree in Physical Therapy from Loma Linda University in California and in 2008 she completed her Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy from Boston University.

She is an active clinician licensed by the Puerto Rico Physical Therapist Board and is an APTA Certified Clinical Instructor. Dr. Miranda has ten years of clinical experience in different clinical setting including home care, hospitals and since 2004 has been working in a rehabilitation hospital.



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General Catalog

Accreditation Status:

The Inter American University, Ponce Campus, Physical Therapist Assistant Program started the process to achieve accreditation by submitting an Application for Candidacy to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) on September 1, 2010. CAPTE has not yet granted Candidacy for Accreditation status to the program. The program will start accepting admission applications for the program once candidacy status is granted.



Department of Accreditation

American Physical Therapy Association

1111 North Fairfax Street

Alexandria, VA 22314

Telephone: 703-706-3245

Website: www.apta.org/CAPTE

To review CAPTE’s accreditation standards, please follow the link below: