Physical Therapist Assistant - Home

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.

The online/hybrid program begins each spring (April) with applications due the preceding fall(November). Prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of summer quarter, before the application deadline.

Visit the Whatcom Community College PTA program website

Register today

Deadline to apply is in November for the following spring quarter. (Note: all prerequisite courses must be completed by the application deadline.) Contact the program advisor for deadline and registration information at (253) 964-6482.


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:

  • 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
  • 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.)


Advisors at both Pierce and WCC work together to help you, staring with prerequisites and on through the entire PTA 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
DHFT Program Coordinator PTA
Program Advisor

Whatcom Community College Advisors