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 and Whatcom Community College (WCC) have partnered over the last four years to provide access to Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program labs in Pierce County as part of an online hybrid PTA program offered through WCC. The current model, with online didactic and one weekend per month clinicals, has been very successful and will now be expanded upon through a new program offered through Pierce College to provide additional access to Pierce County-based students to this in-demand career field.

In the meantime, Pierce College and WCC will continue to work together to serve students in the current South Satellite cohort (start date of April 2017), while Pierce College moves forward on the process of pursuing a stand-alone program. During this transition, WCC will continue to offer the online hybrid PTA program on its normal schedule, but there will not be a Pierce-based clinical program offered in 2018 (all clinicals will be held on WCC’s campus). If approved, the new Pierce College program is expected to begin admitting one year from State and National accrediting approval processes with a proposed start date of Winter 2019.

Lisa Murray is still the point of contact for advising questions:


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 work with licensed physical therapists to provide treatment for physical injuries and disabilities. 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. See the American Physical Therapy Association website for more information on PTA duties and work environments.

Apply to Pierce College

Enrollment is open throughout the year. Start in the fall, winter, spring, or summer quarters. Special funding assistance may be available for unemployed workers or low-wage working parents.


Get more information about Pierce College and our programs.


Program Contacts

Whatcom Community College Advisors
Lisa Murray
Kinesiology and Physical Therapy Assistant Program Coordinator