Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Physical Therapist Assistant helps client with lifting weights.

Applications for the Spring 2025 cohort are from August 1st to November 1st, 2024.

Application Process


The Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science Degree program offered by Bakersfield College is a two-year course that prepares students to work alongside licensed physical therapists to provide rehabilitation services to patients with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardiopulmonary conditions. The program consists of a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private clinics. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the national licensing exam and become licensed PTAs, ready to work in a rewarding and in-demand healthcare profession.

What is Physical Therapist Assistant?

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.

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

Is the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Right for Me?

Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare and have a passion for helping others would benefit from a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) associate degree. Additionally, those who enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and enjoy physical activity and movement would find the PTA profession fulfilling. PTAs must be detail-oriented, able to follow specific instructions, and have strong critical thinking and problem-solving abilities to help patients achieve their rehabilitation goals. Those who value teamwork and collaboration would also excel in the PTA profession as they work closely with Physical Therapists and other healthcare professionals to provide the best care possible to patients.

There are several key traits and skills that would make someone a good fit for studying to be a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA). Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Empathy and Compassion
  • Physical Stamina
  • Communication Skills
  • Attention to Detail
  • Adaptability
  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Patience
  • Commitment to Learning


person lying down getting their knee worked on by a doctor

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. 


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A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) associate degree can open pathways to a variety of career opportunities in the healthcare field. Here are some examples of careers that someone with a PTA degree can pursue:

  1. Physical Therapist Assistant: As a licensed PTA, you can work directly with patients under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist to provide rehabilitative services.
  2. Rehabilitation Technician: In this role, you would assist Physical Therapists and PTAs with patient care, including preparing patients for therapy, helping with exercises, and managing equipment.
  3. Exercise Physiologist: As an exercise physiologist, you would work with patients to develop exercise plans that promote physical health and help prevent or manage chronic conditions.
  4. Occupational Therapy Assistant: With additional training, a PTA can become an Occupational Therapy Assistant and work with patients to improve their ability to perform daily tasks, such as dressing, eating, and bathing.
  5. Home Health Aide: In this role, you would provide care for patients in their homes, including assistance with daily tasks and exercises prescribed by a Physical Therapist.
  6. Sports Medicine Assistant: In a sports medicine setting, you would work with athletes to develop rehabilitation plans after injuries or surgeries and assist with injury prevention.
  7. Orthopedic Technician: As an orthopedic technician, you would assist with the application and removal of casts, braces, and other orthopedic devices.
  8. Wellness Coordinator: As a wellness coordinator, you would develop and implement programs to promote health and wellness in a variety of settings, such as workplaces, community centers, and senior living facilities.
  9. Rehabilitation Aide: In this role, you would assist with patient care and management, including preparing patients for therapy, managing equipment, and providing administrative support.
  10. Research Assistant: In a research setting, you would work with a team to conduct studies and collect data related to rehabilitation and physical therapy.
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Beyond BC

Transfer to a University

Graduates with an Associate Degree from Bakersfield College may choose to continue their education at a university to earn a 4-year degree. See your Counselor and/or a Transfer Specialist for specific questions, options, and opportunities.

Academic Department: Kinesiology, Health & Athletics

Career & Learning Pathway: Health Sciences Pathway

Courses: Physical Therapist Assistant (PHTA) 

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Call (661) 395-4421.

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Program Contact Information

Suzanne Oesch, PT, DPT, Faculty Department Chair

Jason Ament, PTA, Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education ACCE

Norma Barron, Department Assistant III PTA Program

Language Arts 118

(661) 395-3540

Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science Program Accreditation

Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Bakersfield College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085 (703) 706-3245; Email:; CAPTE  Website. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call (661) 395-3540 or email

PTA Program Complaint Process:

Anyone wanting to file a complaint, issue or concern regarding Bakersfield College’s PTA Program should complete the Bakersfield College PTA Program Complaint/Issues/Concern Form. The form will be reviewed by the PTA Program Director and an email response will be issued within 5 working business days.

All complaints against the Program Director should be sent directly via email to the Dean of Kinesiology, Health and Athletics/Athletic Director, John Bolton at The Interim Dean of Kinesiology, Health and Athletics will then contact you directly regarding your complaint of the PTA Program Director.

Bakersfield College’s PTA Program follows Bakersfield College’s policy which prohibits retaliation against anyone including but not limited to employees, students or community members submitting a complaint, issue or concern about the PTA Program or PTA Program Director. The complaint process will be used in a fair and equitable manner, and not for purposes of retaliation against the submitter. All complaints, issues and concerns against the PTA Program and PTA Program Director are kept confidential.

CAPTE Complaint Process

CAPTE has a mechanism to consider formal complaints about physical therapy education programs (PT or PTA) that allege a program is not in compliance with one or more of CAPTE's Evaluative Criteria (for complaints about events occurring before Dec. 31, 2015) or the Standards and Required Elements (for complaints addressing events occurring Jan. 1, 2016, and thereafter) or has violated any of CAPTE's expectations related to academic integrity.

To obtain the materials necessary for submitting a complaint, contact the APTA Accreditation Department at 703-706-3245 or