Physical Therapist Assistant, Associate of Applied Science


Physical Therapist Assistant

Associate of Applied Science

Program Overview

If you are compassionate, enjoy working with a team, and want to help people improve their quality of life, then a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant is for you. The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) works under the supervision of a physical therapist to assist in the treatment of individuals suffering from disease or injury by relieving pain, restoring movement and improving function. The PTA works with other healthcare team members to ensure each individual is functioning at their maximum potential.

The PTA Program at Laredo College consists of 66 semester credit hours, includes three full-time clinical experiences, and can be completed in two years or six semesters (84 weeks).  Upon completion of the program, the student is awarded the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and will be eligible to sit for the physical therapist assistant national licensure exam.

Program Mission

The mission of Laredo College Physical Therapist Assistant Program is to provide a quality education that transforms students into caring, knowledgeable, and skilled entry-level physical therapist assistants committed to safe and ethical practice to meet the healthcare needs in the community and the region.

Learn more about the Program Vision, Program Goals and Program Outcomes. 

Program Vision, Goals and Outcomes PDF 

Job Opportunities

Employment opportunities for the PTA are good. There are a variety of settings that offer PTAs a promising career. Some of these include: acute care and long-term care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient rehab centers, private practices, home health, public school districts, and others. Career opportunities are available locally and throughout the state of Texas. 100% of LC PTA Program graduates who have passed the licensure examination are employed as PTAs.


Salaries for graduating PTAs vary depending on the setting (hospital, private practice, home health, outpatient rehab centers, etc.) and location (urban vs. suburban). The average annual salary for new graduate PTAs for this region is approximately $55,000 a year.

Program Costs 

The approximate cost of the two-year program for tuition, books, fees, and miscellaneous cost is $12,317.50 for in-district students, $15,617.50 for out-of-district students, and $19,049.50 for out-of-state students. Should a student choose to complete a clinical experience out-of-town, the estimated cost for room and travel per clinical experience is approximately $2,000 to $2,500. Please refer to the Laredo College PTA Program Financial Fact Sheet and LC catalog for information. Students seeking financial aid should contact the Financial Aid Center at either campus for more information. 


The PTA Program at Laredo College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE):

3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100
Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085
Telephone: 703.706.3245

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call Dr. Esmeralda Vargas at 956-721-5261 or email
CAPTE accreditation of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant program satisfies state educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Thus, students graduating from CAPTE-accredited physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website at

Physical Therapist Assistant Program Outcomes

Program Graduation Rates


Number Accepted

Number Admitted

Completed the Program

Graduation Rate *
2023 19 18 9 69.20%
2022 14 14 9 81.80%
2021 14 14 9 69.20%
2020 18 18 9 75%
2019 23 18 15 83.30%
2018 18 18 14 82.30%
*Graduation rate reflects the number of students that exited due to academic reasons  

PTA Licensure Exam Pass Rate and Employment Rates

2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018
First-time test taker 88.90% 88.90% 88.90% 100% 100% 100%
Ultimate licensure pass rates 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Employed within 12 months of passing licensure exam 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 
*(TBD) To Be Determined

 2-Year Rates



Class of 2022

Class of 2023

2-Year Rate

Graduation Rate




First-time Licensure Pass Rate




Ultimate Licensure Pass Rate




Employed within 6-12 months of passing licensure exam



100% (2022-2023 average)

*(TBD) To Be Determined

Marketable Skills

In addition to acquiring the knowledge and skills required to become a physical therapist assistant, students also develop marketable skills that are valued by employers. These skills include:

  • Active Listening
  • Monitoring
  • Speaking
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking


Community members may submit concerns or complaints about Laredo College's PTA Program, faculty, students, or program graduates.  Comments must be submitted by completing the Complaint Referral Form.  Completed forms should be emailed to Dr. Esmeralda Vargas, PTA Program Director at

Complaints regarding accreditation of this program and CAPTE itself should be addressed to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).  For further information, refer to File a Complaint with CAPTE.

*Neither the Board nor any College employee shall unlawfully retaliate against any member of the general public for bringing a concern or complaint.  


Campus Location

Laredo College South Campus

College of Health Sciences

5500 South Zapata Highway

Laredo, TX  78046

For additional information, students may contact Dr. Esmeralda Vargas at 956-721-5261 or via email



Admission Information


Applications are accepted beginning March 1st through the 2nd Thursday in May.

The student seeking admission to the PTA Program must:

  1. Apply for admission to Laredo College (click here for more information)
  2. Be college ready in Reading, Writing, and Math
  3. Earn a minimum GPA of 2.5 in PTA degree-specific courses (pre-requisite and academic courses), with a grade of "C" or better
  4. Complete four pre-requisite courses:
  • BIOL 2301 Anatomy & Physiology I (lecture)
  • BIOL 2101 Anatomy & Physiology I (lab)
  • ENGL 1301 Composition I
  • PTHA 1301 The Profession of Physical Therapy
  1. Complete 20 hours of observation shadowing a PT or PTA in any setting, except in home health.  Students employed as physical therapy techs/aides may count work experience toward this requirement.   If the applicant has work experience as a physical therapy tech/aide, a letter from the place of employment must also be submitted on company letterhead stating term of employment.

    List of Facilities for Observation Hours PDF

  2. Submit the following through the online application portal: The Application Portal will be available Monday, March 18, 2024.


Selection Process

Admission into the PTA Program will be based on the following (see PTA Program Candidate Score Sheet): 

  • Degree-Specific grade point average GPA (50%)
  • Pre-entrance exam (40%)
  • Observation Evaluation (2%)
  • Personal Interview (8%)
  • Bonus Points (see Frequently Asked Questions)
  1. Eligible students will be invited to sit for a pre-entrance exam the last week of May.
  2. Eligible students will be invited to sit for an interview the second week of June.
  3. Students will be ranked based on percentage points awarded.  Admission is based on achieving a minimum of 60% of points awarded.  A maximum of 18 students will be accepted.  Due to program size limitations, a number of applicants who meet the program admissions requirements may not be admitted. Additionally, only those students who meet the cut-off percentage score will be admitted each fall semester.
  4. Accepted applicants will be notified via email by late June.
  5. The applicant who is not selected for admission into the program may reapply the next application cycle and complete the admission requirements described above.
 PTA Program Candidate Score Sheet PDF

 Frequently Asked Questions PDF



A student accepted into the Physical Therapist Assistant Program must submit the following items prior to the first day of class.  The student is responsible for all fees associated with these procedures.

  1. A physical exam by a U.S. physician or nurse practitioner of choice within 45 days prior to the first day of class. To access Physical Examination Form, please click here.
  2. Proof of Immunization: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, MMR, Varicella, Tetanus-Diphtheria Pertusis (Tdap), Bacterial Meningitis (S.B. No. 62 requires that all college students under the age of 22 must receive the Bacterial Meningitis vaccine. If you are 21 or under, you may request an exemption form from the Texas Department of State Health Services, please click here for further information), annual flu vaccine.
  3. TB Skin test (annual) or chest x-ray (every two years)
  4. American Heart Association BLS Healthcare Provider CPR Certification
  5. Negative Criminal background check:
  6. Negative ten-panel drug screen

The PTA Program adheres to the Equal Educational Opportunity Policy as listed in the LC Manual of Policy FA (LEGAL), click here to access policy.


PTA Program Student Handbook

PTA Student Handbook 2023-2024


Clinical Education Resources

PTA Clinical Education Handbook PDF

Clinical Education Documents PDF



Plan of Study


SEMESTER 1 (PREREQUISITES)  (Summer Session) Semester Offered Credit Hours
BIOL 2301 Anatomy & Physiology I - CORE Fall, Spring, SSI, SSII 3
BIOL 2101 Anatomy & Physiology I Lab Fall, Spring, SSI, SSII 1
ENGL 1301 Composition I - CORE       Fall, Spring, SSI, SSII 3
PTHA 1301 The Profession of Physical Therapy Fall, Spring, SSI 3
  10 Hours
PTHA 1405 – Basic Patient Care Skills Fall   4
PTHA 1413 – Functional Anatomy Fall   4
PTHA 2201 – Essentials of Data Collection Fall   2
BIOL 2302 Anatomy and Physiology II - CORE Fall   3
BIOL 2102 Anatomy & Physiology II Lab Fall   1
  14 Hours
PSYC 2314 – Lifespan Growth & Development (C) Spring 3
PTHA 1321 – Pathophysiology for the PTA Spring 3
PTHA 1531 – Biophysical Agents   Spring 5
PTHA 2509 – Therapeutic Exercise  Spring 5
  16 Hours
PTHA 1260– Clinical I – Physical Therapist Assistant    Summer Session I 2
Elective – Language, Philosophy & Culture/Creative Arts (C)    3
  5 Hours
SEMESTER 5 (FALL)                                                                                          
PTHA 2371 – Concepts in Physical Therapy Fall   3
PTHA 2431 – Management of Neurological Disorders Fall   4
PTHA 2535 – Rehabilitation Techniques Fall   5
  12 Hours
PTHA 2339 – Professional Issues Spring 3
PTHA 2361 – Clinical II – Physical Therapist Assistant Spring 3
PTHA 2362 – Clinical III – Physical Therapist Assistant Spring 3
    9 Hours



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