Physical Therapist Assistant


SouthArk’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program combines a strong general education core with theoretical and applied learning experiences required for PTA education. The PTA Program is a 1 + 1 format. Students must successfully complete 32 semester hours of prerequisite courses prior to application to the PTA Program.

The technical phase of the PTA training consists of three (3) consecutive semesters of full-time, day-time studies including both classroom studies and clinical internships (30-40 hours/week). In-program technical studies begin in the summer semester and conclude the following spring semester. 

Enrollment in the technical component of training is limited to 20 students (admissions criteria are available in the PTA Program offices, rooms 250 and 252 Health Science Center, and are located under "Qualifications for Admission" at this website).

Students successfully completing the PTA Program course of studies will be awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree and are eligible to take the national licensure examination.  

The PTA Program at South Arkansas Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314, 703-706-3245, email: accreditation (at) apta.org, website:  http://www.capteonline.org.  Original accreditation was granted in May 2000, and re-accreditation was granted in April 2006, effective until June 2016.

Associate of Applied Science - Physical Therapist Assistant Degree Checklist

Qualifications for Admission

Academic Qualifications
Applicants must successfully complete the following courses* with a minimum of a grade “B” in each science course (BIOL 2064/L, Anatomy & Physiology I; BIOL 2074/L, Anatomy & Physiology II / Lab; and BIOL 2304/L, Kinesiology / Lab) AND a combined GPA of 2.75 or greater

Course Number Course Title Number of Credit Hours Minimal Grade Required
ENGL 1113 Composition I 3 credit hours C or better
ENGL 1123 Composition II 3 credit hours C or better
MATH 1023 College Algebra 3 credit hours C or better
CSCI 1003 Computer & Information Processing 3 credit hours C or better
PSYC 2003 General Psychology 3 credit hours C or better
BIOL 2064/L Anatomy & Physiology I/Lab 4 credit hours B or better
BIOL 2074/L Anatomy & Physiology II/Lab 4 credit hours B or better
BIOL 2304/L Kinesiology / Lab 4 credit hours B or better
PTA 1002 Introduction for Physical Therapist Assistants 2 credit hours C or better
HIT 1003 Medical Terminology 3 credit hours C or better

* Any substitutions to the stated academic prerequisites must be approved by the PTA Program Director prior to application to the PTA Program.

The TEAS V examination must be completed at any time prior to March 31 of the year in which the applicant expects to enter the technical phase of PTA training. Arrangements are to be made through the Testing & Learning Center, Room 220 of SouthArk's Student Center (SSC). There is a $ 40.00 charge for this examination.  Applicants must achieve an acceptable score in all areas of the exam (minimal score requirements are as follows:  Reading 55; Math 55; and English 55). Students who are unsuccessful in meeting the minimal scoring requirements will be required to follow the Health Sciences policies regarding remediation and re-examination. PTA Program applicants are allowed to take the TEAS V a maximum of three (3) times to achieve a successful score. Tutorial work is available in SouthArk’s Testing & Learning Center (at no charge) for the TEAS V.  Only scores obtained within 18 months of application will be accepted.

Criminal Background Information
Each applicant must successfully pass a criminal background check.  There is a $53.00 charge for the background check.  

Physical Therapy Observation
Students must conduct eight (8) total hours of observation in two (2) different physical therapy settings under the direction / supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist OR a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. One physical therapy setting must be in a home health, OR in a nursing home (long-term care) setting. The other physical therapy settings can be in an acute-care facility, a rehabilitation unit, pediatric center, OR out-patient clinic.  Applicants who are employed as physical therapy technicians/aides may have supervisor (PT/PTA) complete one (1) of the observation forms.  Observations must have occurred within the prior two (2) years, and should be submitted prior to March 1 of the year in which the student is applying to the PTA Program.  Attached to the application are the appropriate forms to document these observations. Students completing observations prior to application may obtain the appropriate forms from the PTA Program offices. 

Application Process

Obtain an Application:

Applicants may obtain an application from the PTA offices (rooms 250 and 252 Health Science Center) on the first day of the spring semester after completion of prerequisite coursework or enrollment in final prerequisite coursework.

Complete the application: A completed application includes demographic information, information pertaining to individuals who are to complete the recommendation forms, educational history, employment history, personal statement, observation forms, complete signature of applicant, and signed release for background check.

Transcripts from other colleges: South Arkansas Community College must receive official transcripts from all colleges in which the applicant has obtained college credit. Applicants should make arrangements through SouthArk's Office of Enrollment Services to obtain this information in a timely manner. (Note:  some colleges require a fee for this service.)

Recommendation forms:   Three (3) recommendation forms are included in the PTA Application Packet. The applicant should complete his/her name and SouthArk ID# on the form prior to providing one of these forms to three separate individuals. Recommendations from relatives / family members will not be accepted. Applicants are encouraged to seek recommendations from employers/supervisors, college faculty, or PTs/PTAs who can attest to the applicant's maturity, communication skills, and dependability. Recommendation forms are due on/before March 1. It is imperative that recommendation forms be submitted directly to the PTA Program (recommendation forms that are hand-delivered by applicants must be in an enclosed, sealed envelope on which the recommender has signed the seal).

Submit the Application:

  • Completed applications must be submitted on/before March 1 to the PTA Program Faculty directly either in person or by mail (PTA Program, rooms 250 and 252 Health Science Center, South Arkansas Community College, 300 South West Avenue, El Dorado, AR  71730).
  • Signed "Disclosure and Release form" must be included for application to be complete.

Class size

The PTA Program at SouthArk is limited to 20 students each year.  Students not accepted into the upcoming class are encouraged to re-apply for the future PTA class.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program has a selective admission process for qualified applicants. Selection is made based upon students whose applications reflect:

  • the GPA in all prerequisite courses;
  • the GPA in Science courses (BIOL 2064/L, Anatomy & Physiology I; BIOL 2074/L, Anatomy & Physiology II / Lab; and BIOL 2304/L, Kinesiology / Lab);
  • the TEAS V scores;  and,
  • recommendations, observation forms, and personal statement.

South Arkansas Community College and the Physical Therapist Assistant Program does not unlawfully discriminate in the selection of students to the PTA Program.

Timeline for Selection
  • Applications are available to prospective PTA students the first day of the spring semester.
  • Completed application, release for background check, observations forms and recommendation forms are due on/before March 1.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges must be received in the Office of Enrollment Services on/before March 1.
  • On/before March 31, each applicant will receive written notification of the status of his/her application to the PTA Program.
  • At the close of spring semester, all qualified applicants will be considered for acceptance based upon the selection criteria listed above. Each applicant will receive written notification of acceptance, or non-acceptance.

Students not accepted into the PTA Program at the time of application are encouraged to meet with the PTA Program faculty to devise an academic plan to enhance their qualifications for re-application.

Application Deadlines

To apply for admission to a HNS Professional Program, applicants must have completed:

  • all basic studies requirements,
  • all prerequisite classes (or be currently enrolled in) as specified in the SouthArk catalog for each professional program.

See SouthArk catalog for specifics regarding each program's requirements and/or consult program advisor.


Class Begins

Application Deadline

LPN – Spring Days and Warren

January, 2015
Spring Semester

September 25, 2014
By 5:00 p.m.

LPN -Evenings

January, 2016
Fall Semester



January, 2015
Spring Semester

  August 31, 2014

Surgical Technology

Fall Semester

Currently Accepting Apps until filled


Summer Semester

April 01, 2015


Summer Semester

March 1, 2015

Radiologic Technology

Fall Semester

 March 30, 2015


  Fall & Spring

 No Application Process – 
Open Enrollment Until Filled 


August, 2013
Fall Semester

 Applications Due
 July 18, 2014


 CNA Classes offered each Semester

 Applications Available 
until filled 

Respiratory Therapy

Fall Semster

April 28, 2015

Coding - HIT

August, 2014

No Application Process –
Open Enrollment Until Filled 

Transcription - HIT

August, 2014

No Application Process – 
Open Enrollment Until Filled


Fall Semester

Applications Available until filled


Fall Semester

Applications Available until filled

Student Expenses

Students who have been admitted to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at South Arkansas Community College should be prepared to incur the following expenses: (fees based upon 2014-2015 fee schedule)

Background Check $ 53.00
Tuition for full-time students $ 81.00 / semester hour 
(AR resident – in district)
$ 94.00 / semester hour 
(AR resident -- out of district)
$ 169.00 / semester hour 
(Non-AR resident)

Assessment fees   
Computer Tech fees   
Lab fees    
Textbooks, uniforms, etc.  
Liability & accident insurance    
Travel & professional development  
Drug screening (as required) 
Travel to clinical education sites   
Testing Fee
CPR certification
APTA Membership
Health Science Professional Program Fee
Activity Fee
Security Fee
Support Fee

$ 25.00 / semester 
$ 8.00 / semester hour
$ 140.00 / year
$1100.00 / year
$72.00 / year
$ 150.00 / year
$ 35.00 / occurrence
$ 1000.00** (approximate)  
$ 245.00 / year
$45.00 / year
$80.00 / year (highly recommended)
$75.00 / semester
$1.00 / semester hour
$4.00 / semester hour
$1.00 / semester hour

**  Students will be required to travel to clinical education sites outside Union County, and are responsible for all costs associated with this travel.

Graduates can expect to pay $ 400.00 - $ 600.00 to their respective state licensing boards to obtain licensure as a Physical Therapist Assistant. 

Course of Studies and Additional Requirements

PTA Program Course of Studies:
• The technical component of PTA training begins each summer semester. The course of studies encompasses three (3) consecutive semesters, completing with the close of the following year’s spring semester.
• Classroom, lab, and clinical education experiences are scheduled for full days (up to eight-hour days), Monday through Friday
• Clinical education experiences will require students to provide their own transportation (and lodging, if necessary) to clinical education sites outside the immediate college area.

Additional requirements prior to beginning the PTA Program:
Students accepted into the PTA Program will be required to:
• pass a medical physical examination (at personal cost to the student)
• obtain Hepatitis B Vaccine series (at personal cost to the student)
• obtain a recent tuberculosis test OR verification of IRGA (at personal cost to the student)
• obtain rubella and varicella titers OR proof of immunity (at personal cost to the student)
• obtain CPR certification (at personal cost to the student)
• document ability to meet the physical performance standards of a Physical Therapist Assistant as described by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles
• agree to SouthArk's "Student Substance Abuse Screening Policy"
• attend an orientation session provided by the PTA Program faculty

Graduation Program Pass Rate

Pass Rate


# Accept

# Grads

% Retained

# Taking Exam

#Pass 1st Time

# Pass Later

# Not Pass

% Pass

Natl. Avg
Pass Rate

Pass Rate



83% 1st time pass 

































19 13 6 0 100%





15 (1 unknown) 15 0 0  100%

**   3-year combined of ultimate pass rate.

Eighty-three percent of students entering the PTA program graduate (3-year average) and 100% of graduates pass the national licensure exam (3-year average).

Advisory Committee

Fall 2014

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program Advisory Committee, comprised of administrators from SouthArk, Physical Therapist managers, and Physical Therapist Assistant clinicians was originally established in 1997.  The committee oversees, reviews, and advises the PTA program and the College in all areas of advising, curriculum, recruitment, retention, policies, and assessment.

Kristel Thomas, PTA Melanie Britt, PTA

Matthew Langheld, PTA

Cindy Baumgarten, PTA

Shirley Greer, PTA

Rhonda Cardin, PT

Amber Pauley, PTA

Pam Carr, PT

Whitney Webb, PTA

Sam Allen, PT

Lacey Thomason, PTA

Ashley Rodriguez, PTA

Kerri Brown, PTA

Donna Barnes, PTA

Kristel Thomas, PTA

Stacy Daugherty, PTA

Jeanette Brown, PTA, ACCE

Nancy Whitmore, MEd, MS

Arthur Brown, BS, MPH

Jennifer Parks, PT, DPT

Barbara Jones, PhD

Professional Organizations

Professional Organizations

PTA Program faculty are members of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Arkansas Chapter of the APTA. In addition, The PTA Program Director is a member of the Education Section of the APTA and the PTA Program Special Interest Group.

All students enrolled in the technical training component of PTA education at SouthArk are strongly encouraged to join the American Physical Therapy Association.

Pi Theta Alpha (PTA) Club serves as the college's PTA student organization. All students in the technical phase of training are members of the PTA Club.

Faculty and Staff

Admin  |  Login