Career Advancement


Applicants often ask about options for transitioning, or ‘bridging’ from being a PTA to a licensed physical therapist. There are some education options for this bridge, but they are limited. Click here to view the latest information from the American Physical Therapy Association on PTA-to-PT bridge programs.

PTAs also have the option of pursuing a bachelor’s degree for pre-DPT. Each student's situation, options and academic background are unique. Consider contacting an advisor at Whatcom, or in your home area, to discuss your options. During this advising session, you may find out about how many of your credits may transfer to a baccalaureate institution, after graduating from Whatcom's PTA program.

Career Pathway

While your Associate in Science - PTA is not a transfer degree, it does offer some transfer options...
  • Washington State, like some other states, requires a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree (DPT) to practice as a licensed physical therapist.
  • Prior to applying to a DPT program, students usually will complete a Bachelor's degree, including classes specifically to prepare for the DPT program. One example of a pre-DPT degree is the Bachelor's of Science in Kinesiology - Pre Physical Therapy program at Western Washington University.
  • Many students choose the benefit of earning an Associate in Arts and Sciences transfer degree, which requires 90 college-level credits.
  • A graduate of Whatcom's PTA program may have as many as 45 credits to apply toward a transfer degree. Consult with your advisor to consider your unique situation, your academic history, and planning for your professional advancement.

Career Pathways: A visual roadmap to help you reach your career goals.