Thank you for your interest in the Physical Therapist Assistant program. If you would like information beyond what is on the website, please complete our interest form.

Observation Requirements

*The following criteria describes the application process for the Fall Class of 2021. Applicants intending to apply after fall 2021 will have a different observation hour requirement.

The Colby Community College PTA program understands the COVID-19 pandemic has decreased the accessibility of students to receive observation hours in various settings.

We believe observation hours are an important part of assessing the role of Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants, along with understanding the PT profession as a whole. In order to fulfill this requirement, we have established the following to assist you in understanding the diversity of PT and to imagine yourself working in the field of physical therapy.


  1. If you are able to do in-person observation hours please do so, there is no particular setting or minimum hour requirement. if you have obtained observation hours, please complete the observation form.
  2. Use the following instructions to watch the following video from the American Physical Therapy Association and the different settings of PT
    1. Go to the Colby Community College PTA website:
    2. Click on Prospective Students
    3. Under observation requirements, watch the video You Can Be Me - A Career in Physical Therapy:
    4. Once you have completed the video, click on the survey:
    5. Complete the survey. You MUST include a logical written response on the last question.
    6. Your information will be recorded and you will receive points for fulfilling the requirements.

Please contact Autumn Hoffman at 785-460-5443 or if you have any questions.


What is the application process?

The application process to the sophomore (professional) year is as follows:
1) First year pre-requisite courses are completed or will be completed by August 1 of the application year. 
2) The applicant will contact the PTA department about his/her intention to apply so applicant names are on a database with the program prior to February 1 of application year.
3) Application to the program is sent on February 1 and is due, along with transcripts (unofficial are accepted) and the application fee by the deadline in March.
4) Applications are screened and letters are sent to verify interview date and time.  All eligible applicants are interviewed.
5) Mandatory interviews are scheduled on a Friday in April. After interviews and grade review (approximately 3rd week of May) letters are sent to applicants verifying acceptance (final if all classes are complete or contingent if classes are to be completed by August 1); alternate list status or non-acceptance.
6) Classes will begin the second week of August in application year.

What is observation?

Observation of the physical therapist and/or PTA is a requirement for any student preparing to apply to the PTA program. The purpose is to help the applicant make a firm commitment to the career. The 40 hours of required observation must be done in at least four (4) separate settings: Acute hospital over 50 beds (preferred over 100 beds); Neurological rehabilitation setting (rehab floor of any large hospital or separate rehab facility like Craig in Denver, Mid America in Kansas City, Madonna in Lincoln, Wesley Rehab in Wichita or Our Lady of Lourdes in Wichita); Outpatient setting (separate clinic or small 25 bed hospital department); and Skilled nursing facility (like Colby Care Center). The remaining 24 hours of observation may be done at any facility that is most convenient for the applicant. 40 hours of observation is the minimum hours required and receives the minimum points. More than 40 hours, personal experience in PT, having worked as a PT tech/aide or in a health related field increases the points given on application. Persons considering PTA may observe at any time, signed documentation is required and forms can be found online. The observation hours must be completed by the date of interview (April) into the sophomore year.  

What are interviews?

Interviews are an integral part of the application process to PTA. In April each year, all eligible students are invited to campus for a half day process that includes both individual and group interviews. Points are given for the interviews.  The interviewers consist of faculty, staff and PTA advisory board members.

What is the point system used to determine admission to the PTA program?

Points are given in the following areas:
Points are given in the following areas:
1) Interviews—up to 18 points possible.
2) GPA—up to 16 points (required courses only)
3) Essay—up to 8 points (one page handwritten, topic given day of interview)
4) Observation—up to 10 points
5) Total—52 points possible. 39 points are required to be eligible for admission to the program.

How many students are admitted each year?

Each August CCC admits 24 eligible students.

How many students apply?

2015: 30
2016: 34
2017: 31
2018: 26

What happens if I do not get accepted in the first 24 students?

After points are complied, letters are sent to applicants. The top 24 students are accepted, final — if all classes and grades are reported or contingent — if still completing classes until August 1. Each eligible student below the top 24 is numbered as an alternate. It is common for one or more alternates to be accepted due to applicant decision changes over the summer.

What is the class schedule during the sophomore (professional) year?

Sophomore PTA classes start at 8:00 am, Monday through Friday. They are usually complete by 3:00 pm.  In the second semester, there is one day a week that does not finish until 5:00 pm. Schedules are occasionally flexible therefore this statement of schedule is not considered the only schedule possibility. If you plan an 8-5 work day, you will have additional time to study. All clinical affiliations are 40 hours a week — full time.