Expectations of a PTA Student

During the course of the PTA curriculum you are required to demonstrate certain physical, behavioral, and cognitive skills related to those expected in physical therapy practice, as well as specific factors related to the classroom experience. The CNM PTA program has adopted the following essential functions you are expected to possess. If you have a disability and are qualified you will not be denied admission into the program if you are able to perform these essential functions with reasonable accommodations. If you have a disability, you must contact CNM’s Accessibility Services to determine what reasonable accommodations are appropriate for this program. You will be expected to:

PTA Student Expectations

  • attend all classes, and be available for 40 hours per week during clinical assignments
  • tolerate extended sitting and/or standing in classroom and lab environment
  • give and receive treatment interventions such as physical modalities, therapeutic exercise, massage, and manual therapies
  • wear appropriate lab attire which may involve exposure of the area(s) to be treated
  • use critical decision making
  • exhibit professional behaviors including critical thinking, sound judgment, confidentiality, courtesy, and respect and participation in the Professional Behaviors assessment tool each semester
  • present professional attire as required by the clinical setting, which may prohibit visible tattoos, non-traditional piercings, or unnatural hair color
  • meet program standards for successful completion, including regular attendance, timely submission of work, and compliance with academic honesty guidelines 
  • reflect thoughtfully on personal strengths and weaknesses as opportunities for growth
  • have physical strength, endurance, and dexterity 
  • perform physical activities such as standing, walking, sitting, bending, squatting, kneeling, crawling, reaching, pushing, and pulling
  • lift a minimum of 50 pounds
  • demonstrate CPR, and be certified in CPR
  • have the ability to use hands for grasping, pulling, and fine manipulation
  • coordination sufficient to perform treatments, respond to patient needs, and use equipment appropriately


  • tactile sensation sufficient for physical assessment and discrimination of temperature
  • visual acuity sufficient for reading medical records, instruments, and for monitoring patients
  • hearing sufficient to hear soft voices, equipment timers, and to assess patients including breathing sounds, and to respond to emergency situations
  • sense of smell sufficient to maintain a safe environment and to respond to emergencies


  • ability to use spoken and written English, including appropriate interpretation and expression of information
  • ability to communicate with patients and members of the healthcare team, including appropriate cultural, intellectual, and social sensitivity

Central New Mexico Community College PTA Program

As a member of the general public, you have the ability to express a concern or register a complaint regarding the PTA program or its graduates. Complaints may be routed directly to the PTA Program Director via email at jehrenborg@cnm.edu. Unresolved complaints or complaints about the Program Director should be directed to the Dean of the School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety at (505) 224-4117 or via e-mail at mthomas25@cnm.edu. All complaints will be documented and kept on file in the HWPS office. Accreditation concerns should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), Complaints.