FAQs for PTA 120 Introduction to Kinesiology

What is PTA 120 Introduction to Kinesiology? PTA 120 is a course that the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at Wallace State Community College (WSCC) in Hanceville, Alabama offers to pre-PTA majors or anyone who might be interested in the PTA Program. It is an opportunity to meet PTA program instructors, experience a PTA program class, purchase PTA program books, take PTA program tests and basically try out the PTA program to see if you are ready for all that will be required of you as a PTA program student or even to decide if the PTA major is for you. It is also an opportunity to take a class that will help prepare you for what has historically proven to be one of the most difficult PTA program classes.

Why should I take PTA 120? Two words….APPLICATION POINTS! Individuals who have completed the PTA 120 class are awarded additional points during the PTA program admission process based on the grade achieved in this class. If you complete PTA 120 with an “A”, you get thirty (30) points, a “B” will get you twenty (20) points, and a “C” gets ten (10) points added to the overall admission score.  And these points are making a difference….during the 2017 admission cycle, 78% of those admitted had completed or were currently enrolled in PTA 120.

However, even without application points, PTA 120 is worth your time. One of the primary goals in offering this course is to improve the success of students enrolled in the PTA program. We want to admit students to the programs who truly want to be PTAs, equip those students in advance to learn, study and test at the level required by the program, and to successfully retain and graduate those students that we admit. We believe that PTA 120 is a critical step in that process.

Is PTA 120 a required prerequisite course? While PTA 120 may become a program prerequisite in the future, at this time it is an ELECTIVE course. That means that PTA 120 is NOT required for program admission but we do strongly encourage you to take this course. In the future, whether this course remains an elective or becomes a prerequisite will depend on the research that is currently being conducted on the outcomes of this course.

Will any other courses substitute or transfer in the place of PTA 120? No. Since PTA 120 is not a prerequisite, there is no need to transfer in credits for this course nor will we accept any other course transfers. In order to receive the application points offered you must take PTA 120 through WSCC-Hanceville. While individuals who have taken other Kinesiology courses through their exercise physiology, athletic training, or other related degrees may find information in this course with which they are familiar, we believe that there is value in experiencing the teaching and testing styles of this PTA program. Look at it this way – you may find PTA 120 to be tremendously easy….if so, it will be the easiest application points that you have ever earned and is a very tangible step in moving you toward your goal of becoming a PTA.

Will PTA 120 guarantee that I will be admitted to the PTA program? Unfortunately, PTA 120 will not guarantee you a spot in the PTA program. PTA program admission is based on your prerequisite GPA, ACT score and total hours of observation – visit the PTA program website (www.wallacestate.edu , click on “Programs”, then select “Physical Therapist Assistant” from the list) for additional details. However, it will give you additional points towards the admission process and assist in preparing you to be successful if you are admitted to the program.

How is PTA 120 different from the PTA 220 Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology course that is part of the PTA program? PTA 120 is an introductory course. While it uses the same book as PTA 220, the content in the course is significantly less. PTA 120 moves at a slower pace, focusing more on general concepts, bony landmarks, motions and selected key muscles. PTA 220 moves at a much faster pace and covers more information. For example, the lower extremity unit in PTA 120 lasts approximately one month, covers three chapters and addresses nine focus muscles in detail. The lower extremity unit in PTA 220 covers four chapters and includes 33 muscles in detail in approximately three weeks!

Are there any prerequisites to PTA 120? PTA 120 does not have any prerequisites – it is open to any interested individual regardless of previous coursework. You will need to apply for admission to WSCC but that is an easy process. Visit WSCC Admissions (www.wallacestate.edu, then select “Admissions” )for more information. You may find that PTA 120 is easier for you after you have completed BIO 201 & 202 Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II and HIT 110 Medical Terminology. However, the PTA 120 course is designed as a first year, entry-level course with no prerequisite requirements.

Okay – I’m convinced….I want to take PTA 120 but I live far away. Is PTA 120 offered online? PTA 120 is currently offered each semester in an online hybrid format.  The hybrid class is fully online except for testing. If you elect to take this class in the hybrid format, you will be using the BlackBoard online course system, viewing Tegrity recorded lectures and downloading course materials. You will be required to come to the WSCC campus for 5 total tests days, scheduled throughout the semester. (PTA 120 is also offered as a traditional class during spring semester and meets one to two days per week on campus at WSCC with an actual PTA program instructor, in the PTA program classroom, using PTA program resources.

How often does the traditional option PTA 120 meet? PTA 120 in the traditional class format is generally offered during spring semester, meeting one or two days per week for about two to three hours each time.

How often does the hybrid option PTA 120 meet? PTA 120 (hybrid) meets for 5 scheduled tests dates throughout the semester. You may also elect to attend the traditional class orientation although that information is recorded and available within BlackBoard on the first day of class.

Why is a fully online version of this course not available? Due to accreditation guidelines, the PTA program must guarantee that the person taking an online test is the person actually registered for the course. Currently online testing technology does not allow for that assurance. Therefore we use live testing for all of our online classes. As online security measures continue to improve, we hope to be able to offer this course fully online in the future. However this is not an option at the current time.

I’m not sure if I should take PTA 120 in traditional or hybrid format. Which is best? Traditional classes are better suited for individuals who need a structured date and time, enjoy interacting with other students and their instructors in a face-to-face environment, need immediate feedback to questions, learn best in a lecture-type environment, and prefer hands-on learning opportunities. If you need to see it, hear it, touch it….traditional format is for you. Online courses are better suited for individuals who are self-motivated, disciplined and organized, learn best in an online environment, adjust well to feedback that is not instantaneous, enjoy interacting in a digital environment, learn best in an independent learning environment, and effectively utilize books, pictures, and online learning objects. If you have successfully taken online classes in the past, you will do well in the hybrid PTA 120. If you have not been successful online, we strongly recommend the traditional PTA 120. Also, if you are a single parent of 5 children all under the age of 4, work two full time jobs, just bought your first computer at a yard sale, and have never taken online classes before…..the PTA 120 hybrid option is not for you!

What if I register for hybrid (or traditional) and then decide I would rather be in the other section? No problem. When both a traditional and hybrid section are offered (usually spring semester), the classes share the exact same  online resources in BlackBoard.  You may sign up for either hybrid or traditional section and are free to move back and forth between whichever option works best for you. If you get sick and miss a day of class….no problem. The information is recorded and available to you in BlackBoard. If you think hybrid is the way to go but your test scores say otherwise…no problem, we have a seat for you. We want you to be successful in this class, regardless of the format that you choose.

If I sign up for the hybrid course, when does the class start? The BlackBoard online resources for PTA 120 become available on the official first day of class each semester. The live orientation to PTA 120 takes place during the first scheduled day of class for the traditional section. Check the WSCC Schedule of Classes for specific dates.

What book will I need for this class? PTA 120 uses the book Clinical Kinesiology and Anatomy by Lynn Lippert, published by F. A. Davis Publishing Company. We are currently using the 6th edition. The ISBN is 978-0-8036-5823-3. This class does not use the companion workbook or the muscle cards. This is the same book that will be used in the PTA program.

If I am admitted to the PTA program, how will this course help me? As mentioned above, this course is designed to affirm your career choice, improve your study & test-taking skills, and introduce you to the rigorous demands and expectations of the PTA program while helping you learn general content that will be foundational in the PTA program. Additionally it is important to note that over the past five (5) years, 68% of students who were not successful in completing the PTA Program either did not take PTA 120 or did not do well enough to have application points from the class.  However, perhaps the best recommendation for this course comes from people that are currently benefiting from their experiences in PTA 120. Here are some quotes from PTA program students who have taken PTA 120.

PTA 120 is by far the best class that I could have taken to prepare me for the PTA program. It introduced me to the style and speed of the program and allowed me to be familiar with [the] testing process. T. Tidwell, Class of 2012

PTA 120…has been the most beneficial basic I could have taken. I am in the program now and it gave me a heads up on vital material… Josh P., Class of 2012

…going into the program is very scary and 120 gives you the feeling of being prepared. It also cuts study time down so you can study more on other things in the program. The info…helps in every other class in the program. I highly recommend it. E. Nix, Class of 2012

PTA 120 has helped substantially to ORGANIZE, LEARN how to study, and PREPARE to score higher now that I am in the program. Anonymous, Class of 2012

I wish I could have taken PTA 120 because I would have been more prepared for [PTA]220; the grades that my friends make who took 120 are almost 2 letter grades higher than mine. Anonymous, Class of 2012

Gets you ready for [the] type of dedication and time you need to spend studying for [the] PTA program. Mitch M., Class of 2012

It gave me a head start on how the tests were going to look….Take PTA 120, it will make everything easier when you get in the program. Anonymous, Class of 2012

I would have been lost without it! C. Hudson, Class of 2012

It will either prepare you…or let you know it is more work than you want to put in for [the] PTA program. V.B., Class of 2012

I wish I would have tried harder in PTA 120. The little knowledge I did gain helped dramatically. If I would have applied myself even more and been serious with it I wouldn’t even stress in the actual class. Not to mention the fact it probably helped me get in the program. J.B.E., Class of 2012

I made it into the program without PTA 120 credit but if I had to do again I would have definitely tried to find the time to take the class. It seems the ones that participated in [PTA 120] have a jump start… Anonymous, Class of 2012

Not taking PTA 120 is a decision that has left me struggling to keep up with my classmates. S. Roberts, Class of 2012

Are there other things that I can do to improve my chances of being admitted to the PTA program? Admission to the WSCC PTA program is extremely competitive due to the fact that we receive approximately three times as many applications as we have space available. The PTA program makes the following recommendations for improving your chances for program admission. Program admission is based on three scores – prerequisite GPA, ACT, and observation hours. The higher your numbers are in each of the three categories, the better your chances for program admission. We have reached a point where you must have very high scores in two of the three admission categories (ACT, prerequisite GPA and observation hours) to counteract one below average category score. Based on the June 1, 2017 application pool, the average prerequisite GPA of those admitted to the program was 3.8, the average ACT scores was 22, and those admitted averaged 385 hours of volunteer observation experience.  [Please note – beginning with the 2018 application cycle, the maximum observation hours considered will be 100 hours.] Additionally, 78% of those admitted had completed or were currently enrolled in PTA 120. To improve your chances for admission we recommend several strategies. First, your prerequisite GPA is extremely important. The prerequisite GPA considers only the grades achieved in the prerequisite classes. Keep your grades high in those classes or begin to selectively retake any class in which you made a “C” and perhaps even the “B” classes that you are confident in improving the final grade. Thus, by retaking classes that you made a “C” (or even a “B”) in on previous attempts, you begin to move your GPA score towards a 4.0, the highest possible score. Because the admission process considers only prerequisite grades, every single grade that you improve has immediately effects in increasing the score that we will consider for program admission. If it has been a while since you took the ACT, retake it. You’ll often see an improvement in scores after taking math and science courses. There are also a variety of web-based resources, as well as study courses or books, available to help with ACT preparation. Finally, document as many observation hours as possible (up to a maximum of 100 hours), making sure that you have hours with at least two completely separate facilities. Those hours must be completed with a PT or PTA. You are also welcome to meet with a WSCC PTA program advisor who can review your transcripts and make individual recommendations. For additional information on the PTA program, please visit our program website (www.wallacestate.edu , click on “Programs”, then select “Physical Therapist Assistant” from the list).

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