Physical Therapist Assistant

This Selective Program has a competitive entry selection process based on a competitive point system. Application requirements are included in the description below.

Associate of Applied Science

Physical Therapist Assistants, or PTA’s, are skilled health care providers who work under the supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs assist the physical therapist in implementing treatment programs to help restore or improve function, relieve pain, encourage independence, and educate patients and their families.

PTAs work in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, home health, schools, sports facilities, and more. Patients/clients treated in physical therapy range from newborns to the elderly and sample diagnoses include athletic injuries, back/neck problems, strokes, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, arthritis, and post-surgical conditions such as total joint replacements.

Care provided by a PTA may include:

  • teaching patients/clients exercises to increase movement and flexibility
  • helping increase a patient's/client's balance, strength and coordination
  • providing training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers
  • use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at South Texas College is accredited by:

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Telephone: 703-706-3245

Application Requirements

All applicants must:

  1. Participate in the required Prospective Student Information session. For the session schedule, access the information online at or contact the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at 956-872-3161.
  2. Be admitted to the college as a high school graduate or GED equivalent
  3. Meet TSI College Readiness Standards, or meet TSI exemption standards.
  4. Complete all prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of "B" as listed in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program degree plan. BIOL 2401 Anatomy and Physiology I must be completed within the past five years and PTHA 1409 Introduction to Physical Therapy must be completed within the past two years
  5. Complete the ACT Exam including the Writing component. Achieve an ACT composite of 19 or above and a minimum of 16 in all individual areas (English, Math, Reading, and Science). ACT Writing score must be a 6 or above. Scores must be current within the last 5 years. ACT Exemptions are not permitted.
  6. Earn a minimum grade of “B” in “Introduction to Physical Therapy” course within the last two years. Required ACT + Writing test scores are needed to register for this course.
  7. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all courses, including transfer courses, and those completed at STC.
  8. Pass a criminal background check, 10-panel drug screen through approved providers, and complete all required immunizations including Hepatitis B series. Students with criminal histories must provide proof of licensure eligibility from the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners (ECPTOTE) This process may take up to 6 months to complete. For more information contact the NAH Clinical Affairs Specialist at 872-3022.
  9. Submit Documentation of Experience Forms as evidence of a minimum of twenty-five (25) hours of volunteer or work experience under the supervision of a PT or PTA in two different settings, for a total of fifty (50) hours. One experience should be completed in an inpatient setting (hospital or nursing facility), and the other should be completed in a different type of setting such as an outpatient clinic or pediatric center. Home, Health hours are not accepted. Therapists who supervise volunteer experiences cannot be a relative or personal friend of the student applicant.
  10. Meet Technical Standards as stated by the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.
  11. Submit a completed Program application by stated deadline. For more information contact Physical Therapist Assistant Program at 872-3161 or access the information online at

Competitive Entry Selection Process

The PTA Program selection process is based on a Point System evaluation. Points are awarded for the following selection criteria: GPA of PTA Program prerequisite and general education courses, volunteer/experience forms, interview scores, Health Occupations Aptitude Examination scores, and optional points which may be obtained from items listed on the Application Form (for example, completion of CSFH 0101 College Success for Healthcare course with a B or better, etc.). Qualified applicants are numerically ranked based on the number of acceptance points earned, and are either accepted, placed on an alternate list, or not accepted. Due to program size limitations, a number of applicants who meet the additional program application requirements may not be admitted to the program. The typical number of new positions available on an annual basis is 20; the final number is dependent upon available resources. Should any of the accepted applicants decline admission, an alternate will be offered acceptance to the program. In the case of tied applicants, finalists will be chosen based on:

  1. previous alternate status, and
  2. date of application.

A new applicant pool is established for each admission period. Applicants who are not admitted for the current application period must re-apply to be considered for a later application period. PTA Program applications are available annually from the PTA Program Department. The window for submission of completed applications opens on the second Monday of June and closes on the second Monday of July of the current year. Selection of students is made one time a year during the summer. Newly selected students attend program orientation in the summer and begin program classes in the fall semester.

Graduation Requirements

To earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant, a student must meet college graduation requirements and complete all coursework as prescribed in the degree plan with a minimum grade of “C.” Students must achieve a minimum score of 75 percent to pass all PTA courses. Students must also pass the Level II Exit Exam as a requirement of the final Capstone course.

Licensure of Persons with History of Criminal Conviction / Substance Abuse

  • According to the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners PT Rules 343.5 the Board may deny a license to or discipline an applicant/respondent who has been found to have a history of substance abuse.
  • According to the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners PT Rules 343.9 the Board may revoke or suspend an existing valid license, disqualify a person from receiving or renewing a license or deny to a person the opportunity to be examined for a license because of a person's conviction of a felony or misdemeanor if the crime directly relates to the practice of physical therapy.

Additional information regarding rules governing licensure may be found in the complete Physical Therapy rules located on the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy ( website.

*STC Board Policy (#3337) applies to all students participating in a Nursing or Allied Health Program clinical course. This policy requires all students to pass a criminal background check and drug screening prior to enrolling in a clinical course. This policy is being implemented to ensure uniform compliance with health care agency and state licensing regulations. Students having questions about this rule should see the Clinical Affairs Specialists, the PTA Program Chair or the Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Division. All consultations are confidential.

Kilo Alaniz, PTA, Knapp Medical Center
Bertha Puig, PT (Committee Chair), Puig Physical Therapy
Javier Rocha, PT, Arbor View Nursing & Rehab
Robert Puig, DPT, Puig Rehabilitation
Eloisa Hernandez-Cabrera, PT, Tru Rehab
David Huerta, OTR, PT, Rehab Plus
Rick Moroles, PTA, Grand Terrace Nursing & Rehab
Randy Wright, PT, Legends Transitional Care Center
Marisa Longoria, PTA, Windsor Rehab
Kristina Ruiz, PTA, Evolutions Therapy


Plan of Study Grid
Pre-requisite Semester (Summer Session I)Credit Hours
BIOL 2401 Anatomy and Physiology I 1 4
ENGL 1301 Composition I 1 3
PTHA 1409 Introduction to Physical Therapy 4
 Credit Hours11
First Semester (Fall)
BIOL 2402 Anatomy and Physiology II 1 4
PTHA 1405 Basic Patient Care Skills 4
PTHA 1413 Functional Anatomy 4
PTHA 2201 Essentials of Data Collection 2
 Credit Hours14
Second Semester (Spring)
PSYC 2314 Lifespan Growth and Development 1 3
PTHA 1321 Pathophysiology for the PTA 3
PTHA 1531 Physical Agents 5
PTHA 2509 Therapeutic Exercise 5
 Credit Hours16
Third Semester (Summer Session)
PTHA 1266 Practicum I 2
PTHA 2205 Neurology 2
 Credit Hours4
Fourth Semester (Fall)
PTHA 2431 Management of Neurological Disorders 4
PTHA 2435 Rehabilitation Techniques 4
Humanities Elective 1 3
Select one of the following:  
Introduction to Humanities I - Western  
Introduction to Philosophy  
Introduction to Logic  
Introduction to Ethics  
 Credit Hours11
Fifth Semester (Spring)
PTHA 2266 Practicum II 2
PTHA 2267 Practicum III 2
PTHA 2339 CAPSTONE: Professional Issues 3
 Credit Hours7
 Total Credit Hours63 Credit Hours

Identifies courses to fulfill minimum 15 credit hour General Education requirement