Frequently Asked Questions

What is Physical Therapy and what does a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) do?

Physical Therapy is a health care profession whose practitioners work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practice, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sport and fitness facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and work settings to optimize movement and functional mobility.

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a member of the health care team who provides physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. The PTA helps people from all age groups with health or medical problems who have limited ability to move or perform functional activities in their daily lives.

The PTA once graduated and licensed provides care through instruction to patients/clients' exercises for range of motion, strength, and coordination along with mobility training for functional activities such as gait, transfers and bed mobility with varying assistive devices, wheelchairs, crutches, canes, and walkers.

The PTA is also skilled in soft tissue mobilization and usage of modalities/physical agents such as electrical stimulation or ultrasound and cryotherapy /thermotherapy. The PTA provides all services under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

More information about the PTA profession visit the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) at Review the APTA “Becoming a PTA” section and explore careers in physical therapist assistant.

How long is the Physical Therapist Assistant AS Program?

Bakersfield College's Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science Program provides concurrent didactic and clinical education. The program is 4 semesters in length (excluding prerequisite coursework) and begins each year in January. Students should anticipate making a full- time commitment to the program during the school year. The program is primarily scheduled during the day, but there may be weekend/evening classes or clinicals.

Clinical education sites include hospitals, acute rehab facilities, out-patient clinics, and skilled nursing facilities in Kern County and surrounding areas. Students may be assigned to any clinical education center in any geographical location and must provide their own transportation to these centers.

General Education courses are required to be completed for the A.S. degree. English and Math are recommended to be completed prior to applying to the program since the student will need to be able to the concepts learned in this class in the technical program. The three prerequisites of Anatomy and Physiology (B32 & B33 or equivalent) and PHTA B50 Introduction to PTA (only at BC) must be completed prior to admission into the PTA Program. Please see the Physical Therapist Assistant Pathway for recommendations to complete the A.S. degree in 2.5 years.

How do I get into the Physical Therapist Assistant AS Program?

  • Graduate from an accredited high school or GED Equivalency
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher in college courses.
  • A “C” in each prerequisite course: Anatomy/Physiology I & II (BIOL B32 (4 units) &B33 (4 units) or equivalent and PHTA B50 Introduction to PTA (2 units). Students may apply if finishing a prerequisite course during the Fall semester if they are receiving a passing “C' as of October 15, for 16-week and Early Start 8-week courses. Students who are taking a late start 8-week prerequisite course will be required to have that form signed by their instructor confirming their enrollment with final acceptance into the program dependent upon a final passing grade of “C” or better. If students are accepted into the program but fail to maintain their “C” for the final grade, they will forfeit their spot in the program.
  • Clinical placements will require background check and drug screen prior to clinical courses.
  • Applications due by November 1st each year for spring semester. Upon admission to the program, you must have the following:
    • Current American Heart Association Health Care Provider CPR Card
    • Health Clearance (Immunizations and Physical Exam)
    • Current California Driver's License
    • Current California automobile insurance and use of an automobile.
  • Currently Bakersfield College has enrollment numbers of 20 students each year with more students anticipated to apply than there are spots. Students who meet the qualifications for admission into the PTA program will randomly be ordered through a lottery system to determine the 20 students admitted to the program. If a slot becomes vacant from the original admission notifications, then the next student on the list will be offered admission into the program. Once the cohort is set for the year, the waiting list does not carry over and students must reapply the following year.
  • Acceptance Letters or notification letters will be mailed by November 25th for start date of Spring 2023 semester.
  • Important Dates:
    • August 1st thru November 1st, 2023 - Application Filing Period
    • November 8th - Confirmation Email of Receiving PTA Application
    • November 25th - Notification Letters of Acceptance or Non-Acceptance into the PTA Program
  • All applicants that submit an official transcript from another institution must submit a Request for Evaluation Form.
  • Submit your filled out Request for Evaluation Form to Admissions & Records via email at
  • The process of evaluating transcripts can take a minimum of 12-24 weeks by the Bakersfield College Admissions and Records office.

How much does the Physical Therapist Assistant AS Program cost?

Estimated Costs Bakersfield College's PTA Program

Item Cost
Tuition $2024 (technical coursework)
Books/Supplies $1500
Physical Exam/Immunizations $379
Background Fee/Misc Fees $200
License Exam Fee $1100
Uniform $200
Travel Expenses $1000
Total: $6400

*See Bakersfield College's Financial Aid for more information on eligibility of assistance with costs of the program.

How much does a Physical Therapist Assistant PTA make?

Average Hourly Wages for PTA's Per Hour in California and Kern

County Employment Development Department for the State of California

Hourly Wages for 2020 Low (25th percentile) Median (50th percentile) High (75th percentile)
California $26.85 $34.48 $39.53
Kern County $29.17 $33.16 $37.27

Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 at Wages do not reflect self-employment.

Who are the Faculty and Staff of the PTA Program?

What Other Important Information Should I Know?

What is the PTA Program Contact Information?