Whatcom Community College offers a two-year associate in science degree program to prepare PTA's for immediate employment. The PTA degree contains prerequisite courses including study in anatomy and physiology, general education/related instruction requirements such as English, math and social science, and the PTA core of physical therapy application courses and practical clinical experience. PTA core courses must be taken in sequence. 

There are two program formats available to students:

The program is a rigorous and academically demanding course of study. Both formats require 20 to 30 hours per week outside of class on homework assignments. It is recommended that students admitted to the full-time program limit their outside obligations as much as possible.

Find out more at an information session. These sessions cover a lot of information and will likely answer most of your questions.


Full-time, on campus

The full-time, on campus program begins each fall quarter and is offered in a 1+1 design format: the first year to complete program prerequisites and general education requirements and the second year to complete PTA core classes spanning five consecutive quarters (15 months).

The final quarter of the on campus format consists of two full-time clinical affiliations scheduled 40 hours per week.

Quarter-by-quarter course sequence (full-time, on campus)

 First Year
 Fall Quarter
   Credits
 HLTH 202
 Applied Anatomy and Clinical Kinesiology (lab)
 5
 PTA 101
 Introduction to Physical Therapy
 3
 PTA 110
 PTA Procedures I (lab)
 5
 PTA 273
 Anatomy & Pathophysiology I for the PTA
 3
     16
 Winter Quarter
   
 PTA 105
 Tests and Measurements
 2
 PTA 111
 PTA Procedures II (lab)
 7
 PTA 113
 PTA Procedures III (lab)
 4
 PTA 151
 Clinical Experience I (internship 80 hours)
 4
 PTA 274
 Anatomy & Pathophysiology II for the PTA
 4
     21
 Spring Quarter
   
 HLTH 201
 Clinical Neurology
 3
 PTA 251
 Clinical Experience II (internship 80 hours)
 4
 PTA 225
 PTA Procedures IV (lab)
 5
 PTA 227
 PTA Procedures VI (lab)
 7
     19
 Summer Quarter
   
 PTA 226
 PTA Procedures V (lab)
 4
 PTA 201
 Ethical Issues in Physical Therapy
 3
 PTA 280
 Special Topics in Physical Therapy
 2
 PTA 285
 Manual Therapy for PTA's (lab)
 1
     10
     
 Second Year
 Fall Quarter
   
 PTA 253A
 Clinical Affiliation I (internship 280 hours)
 9
 PTA 253B
 Clinical Affiliation II (internship 280 hours)
 9
     18
     
 Graduate!

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Part-time, online/hybrid

The part-time, online/hybrid program begins each spring quarter. Prerequisites and general education requirements typically take one year to complete and then two years to complete the PTA core courses over nine consecutive quarters.

This program is described as a hybrid program because only the lecture portion of it is online. The remainder of the program (labs and clinical experience) is set up in the same way as the on-campus program, but with a different schedule. Once accepted into the PTA core program, students are only required to come to campus approximately one weekend per month.

The final clinical affiliations are split into two quarters for the online hybrid format and may be done in your home area.

The PTA program has established a consortium with Pierce College in the more southern area of the state which allows students options of which college lab space they attend. Students in the online/hybrid program are assigned to a site for attendance of lab sections.

Attendance options

Pierce College / Southern Puget Sound – Students located in the South Puget Sound area who you are accepted into the PTA program may be interested in attending monthly labs with a group of students at the Pierce College campuses (Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood, or Puyallup). WCC and Pierce College advisors and faculty work together to help you, starting with prerequisites and on through the entire PTA program. 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.

PTA Program Advisor, Pierce College
Lisa Murray
Health Education Center, Room 109
253.964.6482
lmurray@pierce.ctc.edu

Yakima Valley / Eastern Washington – For applicants closer to Yakima and the surrounding central Washington area, Yakima Valley Community College offers a dedicated advisor who is especially familiar with the PTA program. This person can advise you on local options for prerequisites and the PTA application process. YVCC and other students in the area who are accepted into the PTA program will have the option of attending labs in Bellingham or Lakewood (location option may be limited by space availability). Check back here from time to time for possible announcements regarding PTA lab sessions being offered at YVCC.

Quarter-by-Quarter Course Sequence (part-time, online/hybrid)

 First Year
 Spring Quarter
   Credits
 PTA 101
 Introduction to Physical Therapy
 3
 HLTH 202
 Applied Anatomy & Clinical Kinesiology (lab)
 5
     8
 Summer Quarter
   
 PTA 110
 PTA Procedures I (lab)
 5
 PTA 273
 Anatomy & Pathophysiology I for the PTA
 3
 PTA 105
 Tests and Measurements
 2
     10
 Fall Quarter
   
 PTA 111
 PTA Procedures II (lab)
 7
 PTA 274
 Anatomy & Pathophysiology II for the PTA
 4
     11
 Winter Quarter
   
 HLTH 201
 Clinical Neurology
 3
 PTA 113
 PTA Procedures III (lab)
 4
     7
     
 Second Year
 Spring Quarter
   
 PTA 151
 Clinical Experience I (internship 80 hours)
 4
 PTA 201
 Ethical Issues in Physical Therapy
 3
 PTA 227
 PTA Procedures VI (lab)
 7
     14
 Summer Quarter
   
 PTA 251
 Clinical Experiences II (internship 80 hours)
 4
 PTA 225
 PTA Procedures IV (lab)
 5
     9
 Fall Quarter
   
 PTA 226
 PTA Procedures V (lab)
 4
 PTA 280
 Special Topics in Physical Therapy
 2
 PTA 285
 Manual Therapy for PTA's (lab)
 1
     7
 Winter Quarter
   
 PTA 253A
 Clinical Affiliation I (internship 280 hours)
 9
     9
     
 Plus One More Quarter
 Spring Quarter
   
 PTA 253B
 Clinical Affiliation II (internship 280 hours)
 9
     9
     
 Graduate!

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Public comment policy and processes

Whatcom’s physical therapist assistant program is committed to ongoing program assessment and improvement. Community members may contact us with concerns through a formal process that is meant to insure fair treatment of all parties.