Physical Therapist Assistant - Home

The Fall 2017 on-campus (Whatcom Community College) PTA Program deadline is April 27, 2107.

The Fall 2017 application deadline for the online/hybrid program has not been announced.

Program Information

Pierce and Whatcom Community College's' shared online Physical Therapist Assistant program targets students interested in receiving high-quality career training, while still maintaining their family and work schedules. Physical therapist assistants work with licensed physical therapists to provide treatment for physical injuries and disabilities. This includes training patients in therapeutic exercises, providing hands-on treatment, documenting patient progress, and using special equipment.

Pierce College partners with Whatcom Community College to offer labs at Pierce College.  This online/hybrid program is offered in a part-time format.  Students who are admitted to the program only come to campus approximately one weekend per month.  Students selected for the PTA program are Whatcom students on "paper" but attend the lab sessions at Pierce.  Lab space is limited so some students may be asked to attend the monthly lab in Bellingham. It is a schedule that accomodates students with family and work obligations.


Prerequisite courses (see below) must be completed by the end of summer quarter, before the application deadline. These courses can be taken at Pierce College. The application process is competitive and applications are only accepted once per year in November. Students who are notified they have been accepted to the program begin their first quarter in the PTA Program the following Spring quarter. The program is a rigorous and academically demanding course of study. If admitted, this program requires 20 to 30 hours per week outside of class on homework assignments. It is recommended that students admitted limit their outside obligations as much as possible.


Students should first familiarize themselves with the program by reviewing all of the program requirements: Prerequisites and also go to the Whatcom Community College website to download the selective application criteria, application and review all other requirements.

Visit the Whatcom Community College website here:

If you are a Pierce College student or anticipating completion of your prerequisite courses for the PTA Program at Pierce College please contact the Program Advisor, Lisa M. Murray at


To be considered for the Physical Therapist Assistant program, students must have earned at least a C+ (2.3 gpa) or better in each of the following courses. Please note this is the minimum; most applicants obtain a 3.0 or higher.

  • English 101 (ENGL& 101): Composition 1
  • Business 107: Business math OR Math& 107
  • Psychology 100 (PSYC& 100) or Sociology 101 (SOC& 101)
  • Any science lab course (biology, chemistry, or physics)
  • Business Information Technology 150: Medical terminology; BTECM 150
  • Biology 241 (BIOL& 241): Human anatomy and physiology I (BIO& 160 and CHEM& 100 are required prerequisites for BIO& 241)
    -This course cannot be more than 10 years old unless a student has recent work experience using this knowledge. If this is the case, please contact Margaret Anderson for approval.
  • Prerequisite for BIOL& 160 is: Completed MATH 096 with a 2.0 or eligible for MATH 098 AND eligible for ENGL& 101. Completed CHEM& 100 with a 2.0 grade or better or CHEM& 139 or concurrently enrolled in CHEM& 121 or CHEM& 161 or beyond.
  • Optional: Communications studies (CMST& 101, 210, 220, or 230 are highly recommended, but not required for admission to the program.)

Employment possibilities

Physical therapist assistants are needed in hospitals, pediatric centers, sports medicine clinics, private practices, retirement communities, and home health agencies. Demand for trained physical therapist assistants is very high in Washington, where they can earn $16-25 per hour.

For more about general information on PTA duties and work environment, please visit the American Physical Therapy Association website.


Lisa Murray
Kinesiology and Physical Therapy Assistant Program Coordinator

Whatcom Community College Advisors