Skip To Main Content

Occupational/Physical Therapy

Associate of Arts (AA) Transfer Degree

ECC students studying skeleton

Physical Therapists provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. They are often an important part of rehabilitation and treatment of patients with chronic conditions or injuries. Physical Therapists should have a compassionate desire to help people, and strong interpersonal skills to successfully educate patients about their treatments.

Physical Therapists, sometimes called PTs, typically review patients’ medical histories and any referrals or notes from doctors or surgeons; diagnose dysfunctional movements by observing patients stand or walk and by listening to their concerns; set up a plan of care for patients, outlining the patient’s goals and the expected outcome of the plan; use exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy and equipment to ease patients’ pain, help them increase their mobility, prevent further pain or injury, and facilitate health and wellness; evaluate a patient’s progress, modifying a plan of care and trying new treatments as needed; and educate patients and their families about what to expect from and how best to cope with the recovery process.

PTs provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from back and neck injuries; sprains, strains, and fractures; arthritis; amputations; neurological disorders such as stroke or cerebral palsy; injuries related to work and sports; and other conditions. They work as part of a health care team, overseeing the work of physical therapist assistants and aides and consulting with physicians, surgeons and other specialists.


Physical Therapists typically work in home health care agencies, health practitioner offices, nursing and personal care facilities, hospitals, medical doctors’ offices and clinics and private practice. They spend much of their time on their feet, actively working with patients.

NotePhysical Therapists entering the profession need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree; all states require Physical Therapists to be licensed.


ECC’s two-year Associate of Arts (AA) transfer degree is designed to meet the requirements of colleges and universities to which students may wish to transfer for completion of baccalaureate (BA or BS) degrees. In many instances, transfer colleges accept this degree as equivalent to their own general education requirements.

Because the requirements for an AA transfer degree change periodically, students should check with their academic advisor or the ECC Admissions Office to confirm that they have the most current information. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements for the degree they hope to obtain and for planning their schedule accordingly.

Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State, UNI and Iowa

ECC participates in the Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa to enable ECC students to transfer credits seamlessly to any of the state universities. Participants are dual-enrolled at ECC and the university with access to academic advising and student services at both institutions. The universities guarantee admission into the desired degree program, provided all requirements are met. Ask the ECC Admissions Office for more information!

The Ellsworth Experience

  • ECC currently has the 17th highest student success rate (graduation rate + transfer rate) of any community college in the nation.
  • The College offers generous scholarships and financial aid packages, which is why our graduates have one of the lowest average student debt loads of any college in Iowa, public or private, two-year or four year!
  • What students appreciate about ECC is our smaller class sizes, which results in more one-on-one attention from the instructor and greater classroom success.

Faculty Contact

Jim Cheaney

Jim Cheaney

Jim is a native Hoosier from Evansville, IN, although his roots are in Kentucky. He received a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molec...

Jim is a native Hoosier from Evansville, IN, although his roots are in Kentucky. He received a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Mississippi State University and a master’s in Poultry Science with a minor in Reproductive Physiology, also from MSU. Despite being warned about Iowa winters, he moved to Iowa to get...

Read More