UC Clermont

Physical Therapist Assistant


The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant program at the University of Cincinnati Clermont College is to educate students to become competent physical therapist assistants capable of performing the duties expected of an entry level physical therapist assistant upon graduation from the program. In addition, it is the mission of the program to promote excellence in teaching, to support the professional/personal growth of its students and faculty, to serve as a resource to the community and to respond to the needs of the region it serves.

Additionally, we provide student-centered undergraduate education and life-long learning in an open access, regional college environment. We foster diversity as well as intellectual, cultural and social development in our community.


The Physical Therapist Assistant program of University of Cincinnati Clermont College is dedicated to meeting both the needs of its students and the needs of the communities these students will ultimately serve. Students are promptly familiarized with the unique abilities, attitudes and skills required for successful practice as a physical therapist assistant working under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

The program's first responsibility is to acquaint its students with the scope and duties of the physical therapist assistant so that career choices can be made efficiently without wasting the student's time and finances or the program's resources.

The second duty of the PTA program is to objectively assess and admit students who possess the skills, academic development, maturity, and attitudes necessary to work ethically, legally and competently as a PTA. In order to support this duty, the faculty will foster students' cultural and social development. Leadership modeling and research are vital and have been recently added specifically to the PTA mission.

Other new areas of focus are as follows:

  • Communication and Collaboration: We strive for open and honest communication by encouraging disclosure and discussion.
  • Continuous Improvement/Action Orientation: The program will seek to identify opportunities and respond to our community through systematic data based methods.
Finally, it is the obligation of the PTA program to offer both a competent faculty and a program which together will give students the skills, attitudes, and knowledge they need to serve the vast variety of facilities which make use of the services of physical therapist assistants. Faculty development and support are represented via continuous monitoring of faculty/programmatic needs, conference attendance and active planning within the promotion and tenure system of the college.

Physical Therapist Assistant Information Sessions

These one-hour sessions are for anyone planning to major as a Physical Therapist Assistant or those interested in what the program offers. PTA Information Sessions are offered via Zoom: https://ucincinnati.zoom.us/j/6357670796

Admission to the Program

The competitive admission application process for the second year of the PTA Program occurs annually in November. The next opportunity to apply for the second year of the program will be November 1, 2024. For more information, please attend a virtual PTA info session or contact Carolyn Shisler, Program Director.

Admission to the technical year of the physical therapist assistant major is on an annual and selective basis, requiring a minimum cumulative college GPA of at least 3.0, a B or better in Anatomy and Physiology 1 and Intro to Biochemistry, and a 70 percent or better on the TEAS test (a standardized health sciences aptitude exam).

Academic advising is an essential part of your educational experience.

We are committed to providing advice and assistance throughout your academic journey. You and your advisor work together to create an academic plan based on your goals.

Questions? Email us at clermont.advising@uc.edu or call us at 513-732-5205 to schedule an appointment.

Headshot of Carolyn Shisler

Carolyn Shisler

Assistant Professor Educator, CC Physical Therapy Assisting

285 CC West Woods Acad Cntr


Prof. Shisler is an Assistant Professor and the Program Director for the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.

She holds a B.S. in physical therapy from Marquette University and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Cincinnati. 

Her teaching content is in the area of acute care physical therapy and the medically complex patient. Most recently, her focus has been on improving collaboration and communication within the PT-PTA team. Prof. Shisler has established intraprofessional experiences with two local DPT programs and completed her master’s theses on the intraprofessional team as it relates to the entry-level skills for the acute care PTA.

Her goal as a faculty member is to relate her love for her patients and her profession to her students.  Physical therapy is more than just treating a diagnosis, it is treating a person. She is also passionate about teaching physical therapists and student physical therapists the abundance of knowledge and skills that physical therapist assistants bring to the clinical setting and their patients.

Despite her teaching and administrative schedule, Prof. Shisler continues to work at The Christ Hospital in the acute care setting evaluating and treating people who are critically ill and/or recovering from medical and surgical diagnoses. She has been a practicing PT for over 30 years.

Clermont College
4200 Clermont College Drive
Batavia, OH 45103
(513) 558-8316

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at the University of Cincinnati, Clermont College, is an intensive course of study.  The following standards resemble the physical, intellectual, and affective challenges that practicing physical therapist assistants encounter performing common physical therapy functions.  The program has the responsibility to the public to assure its graduates are capable of providing safe and effective treatment. 

A student’s ability to progress through the PTA Program is based upon satisfactory academic performance as well as the essential functions that serve to insure that the student possesses all the necessary attributes of the academic program for graduation.  Essential Functions incorporate the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective abilities required for employment as a physical therapist assistant in the clinical setting.  These standards are not to be exclusionary, but to establish performance expectations that will enable students to provide safe patient practice with or without reasonable accommodations. Students are to familiarize themselves with the essential functions and determine whether they are able to perform specified technical standards.

The University of Cincinnati does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, veteran status or gender identity and expression in its programs and activities (Notice of Non-Discrimination).

Individuals with disabilities must be able to perform the essential job duties with or without reasonable accommodations.  Students with disabilities are eligible to receive a variety of support services.  The policy of the University of Cincinnati Clermont College requires students to self-identify and provide proper documentation to the Accessibility Resources Office.  Questions may be directed to the Director of Accessibility Resources. 

We are committed to making reasonable accommodations for students who have disabilities.  If a student determines they cannot meet an essential function due to a disability, either upon admission or at any point thereafter, it is the responsibility of the student to notify the Disability Services Office of that determination and to request reasonable accommodation.  The presence of a disability does not exempt students from completing required tasks with a reasonable accommodation.    

Essential Functions for Physical Therapist Assistant Students
Categories of Essential Functions Definition

Examples of Technical Standards

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving Skills The ability to collect, identify, assess, question and integrate information and make decisions.

· Collect, identify, assess question and integrate information and make decisions.

· Read and comprehend relevant information in textbooks, medical records and peer reviewed professional literature.

· Identify cause/effect relationships in the provision of health care.

· Identify patient problems and adjust patient interventions appropriately under the plan of care.

· Integrates information from all courses to provide holistic, patient-centered care.

· Respond calmly and effectively to emergencies.

· Utilize universal precautions for all patients. 

· Use of effective teaching, learning and test taking strategies.

Interpersonal Skills

The ability to collaboratively work with all peers and program academic and clinical faculty in the classroom, lab and clinical setting.

The ability to interact effectively with patients, families, colleagues, other health care professionals, and the community in a culturally aware manner.

· Work collaboratively with all peers, academic and clinical faculty, staff, clinicians and patients in classroom, lab and clinical settings.

· Embody the spirit of cooperation and collegiality, employing basic conflict management skills, as situations require.

· Establish positive and supportive rapport with patients/clients and colleagues.

· Participate in all lab situations to experience both clinician and patient roles, receiving and communicating empathy.

· Respect differences in personality, lifestyle and learning styles during interactions with all persons.

· Recognize the non-verbal and paraverbal communication and emotions that others bring to professional interactions. 

· Establish unconditional positive regard and effective/harmonious relationships in diverse settings, with diverse patient/clients and colleagues.

Behavioral/Emotional/Social Coping Skills The ability to maintain a professional demeanor in all situations, identify sources of stress and implement effective coping behaviors as it relates to work/life scenarios. 

· Respond appropriately to stressful environments or during impending deadlines.

· Display maturity, good judgement, sensitivity, and emotional stability when in academic, clinical, community and professional settings.

· Manage heavy academic schedules and deadlines.

· Concentrate on professional duties without distraction in all settings.

· Set priorities and perform all aspects of physical therapy services in fast-[aced academic and clinical situations.

· Cope effectively with psychosocial issues involving illness, disability and death without hindering effective performance of duties.

· Maintain balance between professional and personal life.

Communication Skills The ability to communicate effectively using verbal, non-verbal and written formats with faculty, peers, patients/clients, families, and healthcare providers for a variety of purposes.

· Communicate effectively using verbal, non-verbal and paraverbal forms of communication, monitor impact of proxemics in communication and utilize appropriate written formats with faculty, peers, patients/clients, families and healthcare workers for a variety of purposes.

· Communicate collaboratively in classroom, lab and clinical settings with both individuals and in groups; maintain open and constructive communication.

· Describe and teach physical therapy procedures in verbal, non-verbal and written format.

· Give directions to patients/clients and family members.

· Demonstrate active listening skills. Recognize, interpret and respond to non-verbal behavior of self and others.

· Answer questions to the satisfaction of patients/clients, co-workers, physicians and other healthcare providers.

· Recognize that alternative communication methods with patient/client may be required (i.e., interpreter, language line, communication board).

· Keep accurate logs and records of treatment procedures and charges using appropriate medical terminology, correct spelling and grammar.

· Record of treatment in written or electronic format is objective, persuasive and explanatory in a logical, organized format.

Physical Mobility/Motor Skills Sufficient motor ability to execute the movement and skills required for safe and effective physical therapy treatment.

· Execute the movement and skills required for safe and effective physical therapy treatment.

· Demonstrate adequate coordination, balance, speed and agility to assist and safely mange patients on level and uneven terrain.

· Demonstrate and perform exercise programs and functional activities required of established plans of care by the physical therapist without injuring self or others.

· Move, adjust and position patients or equipment that involves standing, sitting, walking, bending, stooping, kneeling, reaching overhead, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling or guiding a weight of 5-40 lbs.   

· Provide emergency care and administer CPR.

· Perform transfer and gait training techniques using correct and safe body mechanics with and without use of safe patient handling equipment.

· Change position and location at speeds that permit safe handling of patients/clients.

· Utilize fine motor control repetitively to manipulate testing instruments and other physical therapy equipment, perform manual techniques and document in written or electronic format.

Sensory Abilities Sufficient auditory, visual and tactile ability to monitor and access health needs.

· Monitor and assess patient’s health needs with sufficient auditory, visual and tactile acuity. 

· Observe changes in patient/client status that may require modification of activity or intervention such as color of skin, breathing regularity, heart rate, skin temperature, muscle tone, facial expressions, acute alterations in speech, and mentation.

· Visual (with accommodation/correction as necessary)—recognize and interpret facial expressions, body language and patient posture, identify normal and abnormal patterns of movement, discriminate color changes and interpret and assess the environment; recognize and distinguish between red, green and amber colors; read and set parameters on physical therapy equipment and testing instruments.

· Auditory (with accommodation/correction as necessary)—recognize and respond to soft voices or voices under protective garb, auditory timers, equipment/emergency alarms, and effectively use devices for the measurement of vital signs and breath sounds; able to hear patients and respond to patient/client critical needs when not in direct line of site.

· Tactile (with accommodation/correction as necessary)—palpate a pulse and detect changes or abnormalities of surface texture, skin temperature, body segment contour, edema, muscle tone, and joint movement.

Professionalism The ability to demonstrate professional behaviors and a strong work ethic.

· Demonstrate unselfish, honest, moral and ethical behavior in all academic and professional settings following the Standards of Ethics for the Physical Therapist Assistant, Values Based Behaviors for the Physical Therapist Assistant and the Professional Behaviors for the 21st Century.

· Demonstrate leadership characteristics such as initiative, creativity, readiness to learn, preparedness, flexibility, enthusiasm, cooperation, tolerance, respect for authority, and diligence in all academic, clinical, community, and professional settings.

· Demonstrate time management skills that promote punctual attendance to class, labs, clinics as required.

· Demonstrate a work ethic consistent with professional standards.

· Recognize personal limitations and requests assistance as appropriate.

· Demonstrate responsibility for personal and professional development.

· Demonstrate respect for the patient, other health care providers and the profession of physical therapy.

· Maintain confidences; comply with HIPAA guidelines.

· Present professional appearance and maintain personal hygiene.

Follows standards stated in the current PTA Program Student Handbook, Policy and Procedure Manual, the Clinical Education Handbook.


Clarke State Community College. (2016, June). Essential Functions, Skills, and Abilities.  

Greenville Technical College. (n.d.). Essential Functions and Technical Standards for Physical Therapist Assistant Students. www.gvltec.edu/PTA_Essential_Functions/

Northland Community & Technical College. (n.d.). Essential Functions for Physical Therapist Assistant Students.

University of Evansville. (2015, April). Essential Functions for the PTA.

Dictionary of Occupational Titles. (n.d.).  PTA description.  

*Updated 11/15/2019; 1/3/2020

The Physical Therapy Assistant program at the University of Cincinnati Clermont College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org.

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please contact the program director at Carolyn.Shisler@uc.edu or (513) 558-5201 or email the Interim Department Chair of Science & Health at Brenda.Poynter@uc.edu.

The University of Cincinnati reaffirms its policy that discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or gender identity and expression shall not be practiced in any of its activities.

University Rule 3361: 10-13-01