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.

Physical Therapist Assistant Pathway

Important update regarding PTA online/hybrid program lab locations: Earlier this year, it was communicated that Pierce College was pursuing the option to offer a stand-alone Physical Therapist Assistant program. However, Pierce was not able to move forward with the program. In order to serve students, Whatcom Community College has agreed to continue offering its online/in-person hybrid program with a lab option at Pierce College. This will be in effect for the November 2017 application deadline for the cohort starting April 2018.
This is a competitive program with a competitive application process. All prerequisites must be completed prior to the fall quarter application date. The application can be accessed at Whatcom Community College. All applications from Pierce College students must be reviewed and signed by the Program Advisor, Lisa Murray.  Admitted students will be notified Winter quarter for the April 2018 start date and will be able to attend in-person lab classes at Pierce College campuses. Please contact Lisa Murray for advising at


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