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Clinical Information


Clinical education provides opportunities for students to develop professional skills and competencies in collaboration with clinical faculty, patients, administrators and healthcare professionals. Clinical courses are designed to support didactic course work and address the student’s professional development needs.

Johnson College Physical Therapist Assistant students complete three clinical experiences. Students participate in a 3 week experience in the 3rd semester and two 6 week experiences in the 5th semester.

Without the contributions of our clinical coordinators and clinical instructors, this vital component of our curriculum would not be possible. Their time and dedication to the education of our students is greatly appreciated.

Clinical Education Philosophy

It is the philosophy of Johnson College that the clinical experiences included within the Physical Therapist Assistant Program are a vital component of the educational experience. The clinical experiences should be challenging, but at the same time, supportive. This is where students are able to apply the skills and information which they have been learning in the classroom to real patients in real life situations. Students must recognize that safe and effective patient care is the priority in the clinical experience, and all students are expected to demonstrate safety and professionalism during all patient contacts.

General Clinical Education Guidelines for the Clinical Instructor to Promote an Optimal Learning Experience

  • Be welcoming and view the student as part of the team
  • Expose the student to a variety of patients and treatments
  • Support the student in setting daily and/or weekly goals to succeed
  • Encourage self-assessment of skills and knowledge
  • Frequent open communication is the key to success
  • Recognize that each student learns and progresses in their own way
  • Respect that a first clinical student requires more supervision and guidance than a last semester clinical student
  • Ensure the student reads and understands every PT evaluation and reevaluation before actively treating a patient
  • Encourage the student to critically think about interventions to meet established goals set in the evaluation while working within the plan of care

PTA Student Direction and Supervision

The clinical instructor is responsible to provide the appropriate level of supervision for students in the clinical environment based upon the student’s education level, complexity of the patient, the clinical setting, state practice act, and reimbursement requirements. The students will have an understanding of the appropriate level of supervision however they will need to know what is expected from them and who will be supervising them. Physical therapist assistant students can be supervised by a licensed physical therapist and/or physical therapist assistant working under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

Refer to the attached documents from the APTA regarding Levels of Supervision, Supervision of Student Physical Therapist Assistants, Direction and Supervision of the Physical Therapist Assistant, Clinical Education Site Guidelines, and Mentoring of Professionalism in Academic and Clinical Education.

Please notify the ACCE if a need arises for training on student/clinical issues at your facility. The ACCE is available for onsite in-services and/or telephone conferences/development if a need arises.

Clinical Instructor Resources


To request further information on your program(s) of interest please click the button above to continue to our information request form.

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