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.
Admission and Acceptance
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|
|PTAP 1002||Introduction for Physical Therapist Assistants||2 credit hours||B or better|
|HCIT 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 examination must be completed at any time prior to March 1st 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 $ 55.00 charge for this examination. Applicants must achieve an acceptable score in all areas of the exam (minimal score requirements are as follows: Composite Score 55; Reading 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 a maximum of three (4) times to achieve a successful score. Tutorial work is available in SouthArk’s Testing & Learning Center (at no charge) for the TEAS. Only scores obtained within 18 months of application will be accepted.
Criminal Background Information
A criminal background check will be required if accepted to the PTA Program. There is a $53.00 fee for the background check which will be applied during the Summer Semester.
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.
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.
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 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.
Those students who were accepted into the PTA Class of 2016-2017 achieved the following:
- Science GPA (average) 3.7
- Prerequisite GPA (average) 3.6
- TEAS Reading 71.3
- Math 73.3
- English 66.2
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.
Disclosure Statement for Vaccinations, Immunizations, and/or Testing/Screening Required by Clinical, Practicum, Fieldwork and/or Internship/Externship Sites
Students currently in, entering into, or applying for entry into any health science program at South Arkansas Community College must understand that:
- Successful completion of the clinical, practicum, fieldwork, and/or internship/externship program component is a requirement for graduation from these programs;
- Clinical, practicum, fieldwork, and/or internship/externship sites require students to have received certain vaccinations, immunizations, possibly including the Covid-19 vaccination, and to have successfully passed testing/screenings such as a drug screen and a criminal background check, in order to be allowed to attend clinical, etc., in their facility.
- Some facilities do not allow students to attend clinical, etc., in their facility until after the student has fully completed the Covid-19 vaccination doses recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
- Therefore, if the student has not received or completed the vaccinations and immunizations, including a complete Covid-19 vaccination (if applicable), and successfully passed testing/screenings that are required by the clinical, practicum, fieldwork, and/or internship/externship site(s) and has not yet successfully completed these required program components, the student will not graduate from the program.
- Successful graduation from the applicable health science program is required in order to sit for the profession’s licensure, certification, registration, etc., examination.
- The program graduate will not be able to work in the applicable health science profession if he/she is not licensed, certified, registered, etc., in the profession.
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.
- In program Fall and Spring Semesters (GPS 4th & 5th Semesters) contain a total of 15 weeks off campus clinical rotation requirements occurring Monday through Friday. Students within the PTA Program during the 4th & 5th Fall/Spring Semesters will not be able to participate in additional face to face courses or campus related face to face activities outside of PTAP courses.
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 Rate 2 year average for 2021 & 2022: 85.3%
Employment Rate 2 year average for 2021 & 2022: 100%
NPTE Licensure Pass Rate 2 year average for 2021 & 2022: 75.8%
First Time NPTE Licensure Pass Rate 2 year average for 2021 & 2022: 65.5%
|Class of||Applied to PTA Program||Admitted to PTA Program||Completed PTA Program||NPTE Pass Rate||Employment|
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
|Matthew Langheld, PTA||Rhonda Cardin, PT|
Amber Pauley, PTA
|Pam Gathreaux, PT||Whitney Webb, PTA|
Donna Barnes, PTA
|Nancy Whitmore, MEd, MS||Meredith Watson, PTA|
Jessica Bell, PTA
|Hannah Christmas, PTA||Dr. Bentley E. Wallace, President|
Caroline Hammond, MNSc, Dean of Health Sciences
|Kelly Goodwin, PTA, ACCE||Sam Allen, PT, Program Director|
PTA Program faculty are members of the American Physical Therapy Association (www.apta.org) 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.
|Students who have been admitted to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at South Arkansas Community College should be prepared to incur the following expenses in addition to Tuition and College-based Fees: (Program-related fees based upon 2020-2021 fee schedule).
|Background Check||$ 53.00|
|Tuition for full-time students||College fees for full-time students|
Texbooks, uniforms, etc.
Travel to clinical education sites
APTA Membership (highly recommended)
Drug screening (as required)
$1100.00 / year
$1000.00 / year
$ 80.00 / year
$ 35.00 / occurrence
$ 45.00 / year
|Semester||Course Title||Description||Current Fees|
|Su||Applied PTA I Lab||Course Fee||70|
|Su||Applied PTA I Lab||Background Check Fee||53|
|Su||Applied PTA 1 Lab||Professional Program Fee||150|
|F||Phys Ther Proc Lab||Course Fee||70|
|F||Phys Ther Proc Lab||Testing Fee||220|
|F||Applied PTA II Lab||Course Fee||70|
|F||Applied PTA II Lab||Insurance Fee||25|
|F||Clinical Pract I||Professional Program Fee||150|
|F||Clinical Pract I||Travel Fee||150|
|S||Neuro & Rehab||Course Fee||70|
|S||Clinical Pract II||Professional Program Fee||150|
|Total Program Related Fees||1178|