AS, Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program

Embark on a journey that changes lives daily.

Florida SouthWestern State College's Physical Therapist Assistant program at the FSW Charlotte Campus equips you with hands-on expertise for a rewarding career in physical therapy. Start making a meaningful impact in the health and wellness of others with us.  


Graduates will be prepared for in-demand careers as Physical Therapist Assistants, a profession experiencing significant growth in Florida and nationally. Physical Therapist Assistants can find employment in industries such as:

  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Home Health
  • Rehab Centers
  • Schools
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Long Term Care Facilities
  • And more

Learn more about employability from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Applicants interested in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program should possess:

  • a strong desire to help others
  • excellent communication skills
  • the physical stamina needed for healthcare environments

What Does a PTA Do?

Under the direction of a Physical Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) assist in therapy sessions by providing specialized exercises, manual techniques, gait training, and balance training. They monitor patient progress and educate patients and their families on techniques for improving mobility and relieving pain. Ensuring safety during therapy sessions, collaborating with healthcare teams, and staying updated through continuing education are also crucial responsibilities. In summary, PTAs play a pivotal role in facilitating patient recovery and function under the supervision of physical therapists.

What We'll Teach You

The curriculum focuses on teaching:

  • patient care techniques
  • therapeutic exercises
  • the use of specialized equipment under the supervision of licensed physical therapists


Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)

Continuing Toward A Bachelor's Degree?

FSW offers several bachelor's degree programs for AA and AS graduates. Learn more about FSW's bachelor of science and bachelor of applied science programs.

Program Information

Core PTA classes begin Spring 2025 on the Charlotte Campus in Punta Gorda, pending CAPTE approval. The program aims to enroll 25 students annually in January, with potential expansion based on demand and approval. 

Program Mission

The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program is to graduate competent and compassionate physical therapist assistants who are equipped with contemporary knowledge, skills, and values necessary for success in the field under the guidance of licensed physical therapists. Our aim is to cultivate ethical, empathetic, and culturally competent practitioners to serve the communities we serve.

Program Overview

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program is designed to provide students with entry-level skills and knowledge to work under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist in the rehabilitation of patients with musculoskeletal and/or neuromuscular deficits, injury, disease, or disorders. Graduates will be eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam for licensing; a passing score is required to practice in the field of physical therapy. The PTA Program offers one start annually in January of every year and is offered in Punta Gorda on the Charlotte Campus only. Courses are three to five days a week from 8:30am- 5pm. The program consists of 3 and a half semesters (14 months). Enrollment in the PTA core program is limited to 25 students by the Commission of Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Curriculum Sequence Physical Therapist Assistant, AS – 74 Credits

This program is a planned sequence of instruction consisting of 74 credits that includes 15 credits of General Education Requirements, 15 credits of Program Specific Requirements, and 44 credits of Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program Requirements. This is a full-time program and students will progress through the program as a group/cohort and courses must be taken in sequence.

Spring Semester One Prerequisites – 10 Credits
ENC 1101 Composition I 3 Credits
BSC 1010C General Bio 1 w lab or BSC 2010C Microbiology w/ Lab 4 Credits
Math Core General Education Course (MAC 1105 Recommended) 3 Credits
Summer Semester Two Prerequisites – 10 Credits
BSC 1085C Anatomy and Physiology I 4 Credits
HSC1531 Medical Terminology 3 Credits
PSY2012 General Psychology or DEP 2004 Lifespan Development 3 Credits

Submit Secondary Application by September 15.

Fall Semester Three Prerequisites – 10 Credits
BSC 1086C Anatomy and Physiology II 4 Credits
General Ed Core Humanities (writing intensive recommended) 3 Credits
POS2041 American National Gov or AMH2020 History of US 3 Credits
Spring Semester Four Core Courses – 12 Credits
PHT1000C PTA Principles and Procedures w/ Lab 4 Credits
PHT1121C Kinesiology/A&P for the PTA w/ Lab 4 Credits
PHT1132C Musculoskeletal Disorders/ Pathology w/ Lab 4 Credits
Summer Semester Five Core Courses – 12 Credits
PHT2162C Neurological Disorders w/ Lab 4 Credits
PHT2210C Modalities w/ Lab 4 Credits
PHT2220C Therapeutic Exercise I w/ Lab 4 Credits
Fall Mini-A Semester Six Core Courses – 5 Credits
PHT2800L Clinical Internship I 5 Credits
Fall Mini-B Semester Six Core Courses – 9 Credits
PHT2228C Therapeutic Exercise II w/ Lab 4 Credits
PHT2951C PTA Capstone w/ Lab 3 Credits
PHT2931 PTA Seminar 2 Credits
Spring Mini-A Semester Seven Core Courses – 6 Credits
PHT2810L Clinical Internship II 6 Credits

How to Apply

The PTA Program at FSW is a very competitive, challenging, and rewarding program. The PTA program requires a second application process aside from the College's admissions process. Eligibility to PTA program is based on academic performance and additional requirements. Listed below are important requirements for admission consideration into the PTA Program.

  • The student must complete a second application online during the PTA Program application process. (May 1st to September 15th)

Quick Steps for the PTA Application process

  • Students are responsible for submitting all official transcripts to the College by the deadline. NO EXCEPTIONS!
  • All science prerequisites, with the exception of one science course, must be completed or in progress at the time of application deadline for science GPA calculation.
  • A 2.75 cumulative perquisites GPA and a 2.75 science perquisites GPA are required in order to apply to the PTA program. Students are subject to any changes made to GPA requirements regardless of admission date.
  • All prerequisites must be completed prior to starting the PTA Program (see below).
  • The student must have successful completion of Level 2 FBI background check and Drug and Alcohol test.
  • Qualified students must participate in a mandatory interview day on a Saturday in early October. The student must have all required immunizations and health physicals by Dec 1st. (See Health and Immunization Form)
  • If accepted the student must also attend a mandatory orientation day and be certified in HealthCare Provider CPR from the American Heart Association.
  • Two full time clinical internships are required. This many include, weekends and holidays which may be anywhere in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry or Glades Counties.
  • Working while in the program is highly NOT recommended.

The online application for the PTA program will be open from May 1 till September 15.


Program Contact: Tamra Pacheco

Health Professions Coordinator Email: Phone: (239) 985-3499

Program Director: Dr. Cynthia Vaccarino, PT, DPT

Program Director, Physical Therapist Assistant Email: Phone: (239) 489-9349


Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; phone; 703-706-3245; is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states. It is up to each state licensing agency, not CAPTE, to determine who is eligible for licensure. Information on licensing requirements should be directed to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT; or specific state boards (a list of state boards and contact information is available on FSBPT's website.

Florida SouthWestern State College is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist assistant education program from CAPTE. The program is planning to submit an Application for Approval of Substantive Change on June 10, 2024. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted for Accreditation status. Achievement of Accreditation status is required prior to implementation of the technical phase of the program; therefore, no students may be enrolled in technical courses until Accreditation status has been achieved.