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Essential Functions of a Physical Therapist Assistant Student

Students of Whatcom Community College’s Physical Therapist Assistant program must be able to meet these minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of the program requirements (separate from academic standards for admission). 

They must be capable of meeting these skills in a safe, reliable and efficient manner, in order to fully participate in all aspects of the training and educational program.

Prior to Admission: It is important for applicants to review this list to become familiar with the expectations of a PTA student herein after referred to as “Essential Functions.”

Experience hours requirement for application is reduced

Applicants only need 25 experience hours - no additional points will be awarded for earning more than 25 hours. Applicants will earn additional points for accruing hours at three or more locations. Also refer to the complete PTA program admission selection criteria.

Applying to the PTA program

The on-campus PTA core courses start each fall quarter and the online/hybrid PTA core courses start each spring quarter. There is an application deadline prior to each program start as follows.

  • Fall 2020 on-campus PTA program deadline: has been extended to Monday, June 8, 2020. Application packet available now.
  • Spring 2021 online/hybrid PTA program deadline: Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. Application packet available now.

All application requirements and steps must be complete by the application deadline.

STEP 1 - Apply to Whatcom Community College

Students must be enrolled at WCC and have an active student identification number (SID) in order to apply to the PTA program and pay related fees.

Apply to WCC online or request a WCC application by email at or by phone at 360-383-3001. Once you receive your SID number, proceed to STEP 2.

STEP 2 - Obtain and complete PTA selective application forms

Download the application packet for the program to which you are applying:

Or, contact the selective entry coordinator by phone at 360-383-3030 or by email at

STEP 3 - Pay application fee

Students must pay a program application fee ($50) on or before the application deadline to be considered. ***See below for payment instructions.***

STEP 4 - Submit PTA application form and all supporting materials

Submit the completed PTA application forms and all required supporting documentation in one complete packet. All materials must be received at the WCC Registration/Records Office by the deadline. Your packet should include:

  • Completed Application for Selective Entry Admission form
  • Completed Applicant Checklist
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges where you earned credits that may apply to the PTA program.
    • A minimum grade of C+ (2.3 grade point) is required in each prerequisite and general education course. While a minimum grade of C+ (2.3 grade point) is required in each prerequisite and general education course, an overall competitive cumulative grade point should be at least a B+ (3.3 grade point).
  • Experience verification forms
    • At least one form is required documenting 25 hours of experience in a physical therapy facility.
    • Experience may include paid or unpaid hours including observation, volunteer work, job shadows, and informational interviews. Experience in more than one physical therapy setting is also beneficial (e.g., a hospital and a nursing home; an outpatient clinic and a school).
    • Experience verification forms must be signed by a PT or PTA and returned to you in a sealed letterhead envelope from the facility in which your hours were obtained. Submit these with the sealed envelopes intact.
  • Recommendation forms
    • Recommendations should be completed by employers, supervisors, current or former instructors -- not friends or family members.
    • Recommendation forms must be returned to you in a sealed, letterhead envelope from the recommending person. Submit these with the sealed envelopes intact.
  • Personal statement
    • For online students only: Smarter Measure results (see personal statement on the application packet for details)
  • Receipt for the $11 purchase of a Washington State Patrol Background check through the WCC Business Office. ***See below for payment instructions.***

Background Check Information

Clinical placements, employment and licensure in a healthcare field often require a background check. WCC will conduct a Washington State Patrol background check on PTA program applicants. Results of the background check will be given to the PTA program coordinator. Students with a negative finding will be required to meet with the program coordinator prior to admittance to discuss possible options. Entrance and acceptance into the program is contingent upon background checks.

Incomplete files will not be considered for PTA program acceptance. All selective admission application materials will be placed in a confidential student file for review by the selection committee.

Application fee and background check payment instructions

While in-person services are temporarily not available on Whatcom's campus, mail one check for $61 ($50 application fee and $11 background check) made payable to "Whatcom Community College" to:

WCC Business Office
ATTN: PTA Application Fees
Laidlaw Building
237 W. Kellogg Rd.
Bellingham, WA 98226

Include a completed application fee payment form (page 1 of the application packet) with your check. Note your SID number and "PTA program" in the memo line of your check.

Admission is through a competitive application process

The PTA program selection committee will review applicants for acceptance into the PTA program based on the number of available seats. The selection committee consists of the PTA program coordinator, program faculty and representatives from the admissions office.

Selection criteria - For detailed information about how the applications are scored, refer to the PTA program admission selection criteria.

Applicants with a degree from outside the US may also be awarded the additional 0.5 points. To be awarded additional points, applicants must submit documentation - official or unofficial copies - from an international transcript evaluation such as AACRAO, confirm the degree is equivalent to a degree from a regionally accredited institution in the US.

Applicants will be notified of their status (accepted, alternate, or not accepted) six to eight weeks after the application deadline.

Admission to the college does not guarantee admission to a selective entry program. Applicants who were previously accepted into the PTA program and declined acceptance or withdrew after the program started need to reapply and are not guaranteed priority consideration.