College News

CCCC introduces physical therapist assistant program

10.04.2013College & CommunityCollege GeneralCurriculum Programs

LILLINGTON - Beginning spring 2014, students can pursue an Associate in Applied Science degree in Physical Therapist Assistant at Central Carolina Community College.

The program is being launched in response to the area's growth in the healthcare field and the growing "medical corridor" stretching from the Brightwater Medical Campus to the new Campbell Osteopathic School of Medicine.

The PTA curriculum is a full-time, day program that will encompass five semesters with an initial class of 12 students. General education requirements begin January and technical coursework in May. The general education courses are available through face-to-face instruction at the college's campuses in Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties, as well as through online delivery. PTA core courses will be delivered at the Harnett Health Sciences Center through face-to-face instruction to allow for required hands-on skill practice.

"The PTA program joins the current industry-leading allied health programs offered by CCCC at an exciting time," said Kim Leaird, M.Ed., P.T., PTA program director. "The college is appreciative of the community support necessary to build the 51,000 square-foot Harnett Health Sciences Center located near the Central Harnett Hospital Campus."

Leaird, a native of Harnett County, has been program director since March. She has 17 years of experience focused on treating patients, primarily in outpatient physical therapy services.

"I am proud to be a part of this unique experience with CCCC," she said. "The dedicated PTA space and contemporary industry equipment in the Center will provide an exceptional learning environment to train future PTAs for competent, effective, and safe patient care."

The expanding educational and health care environment will enhance opportunities for individuals in the CCCC service area to develop professional skills and remain in their local community to provide quality care.

The college will utilize existing partnerships with the surrounding medical community and, in the near future, collaborate to establish new clinical sites and educational partners in various provider settings.

The forecast for PTA jobs is promising at both the local and national levels. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment opportunities for PTAs are expected to increase as much as 40 percent between 2010 and 2020 due to the growing elderly population. That is much more rapidly than the average for all healthcare occupations.

Those interested in applying for the college's PTA program are encouraged to attend one of two scheduled information sessions to learn more. The first will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the Multipurpose Room at the Harnett Health Sciences Center, 51 Red Mulberry Way, Lillington. A second session is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in Room 9209 of the Science Building, at the Lee County Campus, 1105 Kelly Drive, Sanford.

For more information, visit or contact Kim Leaird, PTA program director, at or 910-814-8820.