November 24, 2009


Physical Therapy Assistant Program Expands

Northeast Alabama Community College, in cooperation with Wallace State Community College (WSCC) in Hanceville, is pleased to announce the admission of the second group of off-campus Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program students who will begin classes at NACC spring semester 2009. This unique partnership, one of the first of its kind in the nation, affords local students the opportunity to access a fully accredited PTA program at their home campus at Northeast.

The PTA Program at WSCC has been fully accredited since 1990, serving students throughout northern Alabama. The program requires one year of basic prerequisite classes including English, math, speech, humanities, psychology and sciences. Students then apply to WSCC for the final three (3) semesters of the program. Traditionally, the program year of classes was only available on-campus in Hanceville. Now students admitted to the off-campus sites can access the final year of the program at NACC, through a combination of traditional, online and laboratory classes.

The Physical Therapy Assistant program has opened doors of opportunity to students who might otherwise have settled on another career field. For example, some students will make their decision on career training choices based upon the availability of childcare, available hours in their day, and of course the economics of being on the road long hours each day, perhaps even the need to rent an apartment near their training program site.

“I believe the Linkage partnership with Wallace State Community College has enhanced the opportunities for people in our area to pursue careers that might not otherwise be available to them from a practical or logistical standpoint,” said Roger Wootten, contact person for the program on the NACC campus.

Local students who are accepted into the PTA program benefit by not having to commute for up to three hours each day, which can free up time for study and family responsibilities. Students are also better able to meet their limited budgets by saving on fuel and automobile maintenance expenses.

The program has been well-received by local students. Josh Rogers, a NACC student from Henagar is currently completing his second semester of the PTA Program. “The NACC program has helped me tremendously,” reports Rogers. “The money I save in gas and travel related expenses each week allows me to not have to work a full-time job while I am in school. Plus, the smaller class allows for more one on one time with the instructor.”

Beth Jackson from Flat Rock has also taken advantage of the NACC/WSCC partnership. “Having the PTA program closer to home means a great deal to me. Less time on the road means more study time and less gas money. I also have enjoyed having a small close-knit class. These people have become family to me during our quest to become PTAs. I am very thankful that this opportunity was available for me,” said Jackson.

The PTA Program is under the leadership of DeKalb County native Alina Smith Adams. Ms. Adams is a graduate of Crossville High School and completed her degree in physical therapy from the University of South Alabama in 1991. Ms. Adams has been director of the PTA Program since 1993. “We have served students in the DeKalb and Jackson county area for a number of years,” says Adams. “Finally we can bring that same quality education to them much closer to home.” Students enrolled in the Rainsville campus expansion can expect to travel to Hanceville only one day per week. Housed in a classroom in Northeast’s new Health Education Building, students are taking lab classes under the instruction of seasoned WSCC PTA instructors utilizing the same equipment and resources traditionally available only in Hanceville. “We are thrilled with our Rainsville location,” says Adams, “Everyone at NACC has gone out of their way to make us feel welcomed.”

“We are very pleased to provide this program in conjunction with Wallace State Community College,” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “When we opened our new Health Education Center, we wanted to expand the programs that we can offer in the health care field, because this is a great area of need in our area and the nation as well. By working with Wallace State, we are able to make this program available to students in our immediate area. This program is an excellent example of how colleges can form partnerships with other colleges or agencies to provide services and at the same time controlling operational costs. We are very appreciative of Wallace State and WSCC President Vicki Hawsey in working with us to establish this program.”

Students interested in the PTA Program expansion are encouraged to visit the WSCC website for more information. The PTA Program Web site can be accessed at  hen click on “Programs” and choose PTA from the list. The job outlook for PTA graduates is extremely good, which makes program admission very competitive. Currently the program is receiving twice as many applications as they have space available. In addition, program accreditation standards limit the off-campus expansion sites to only ten (10) students per location. Prospective students should begin preparing early by keeping their grades high in prerequisite classes.

For more information, contact Adams at WSCC at 1-866-350-WSCC or 256-352-8332 or by e-mail at Wootten can be contacted at Northeast at phone ext. 355 or by e-mail at

Physical Therapy Assistant students are pictured in one of the classroom/laboratory settings at NACC. Front, left to right: Beth Jackson, Sheree Tate, Krissy Gossett, Tina Davis, Kade Harris. In the background, left to right, are Josh Rogers, Tyler Hamilton, Jason Gibson, and Tamaron Bridge.