Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical Therapist Assistants, or PTAs, are licensed skilled health care providers who work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs assist the physical therapist to provide treatment programs to help restore or improve function, relieve pain, encourage independence, and educate patients and their families.

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Selective/Competitive Entry Disclaimer

PTA Program Application

Download PTA Program Application

In order to make an appointment for submission of your completed application please contact: Mari Ponce-Vargas, Student Success Specialist at Please include your name, student ID#, email, and phone number. Reference the subject line as PTA Program Application.

Information Sessions

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program Information Sessions will be held via Zoom until further notice. If interested please email Mari Ponce-Vargas at to receive a meeting invite. Information sessions will be held on Thursdays from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

For additional information contact:
Nursing and Allied Health Student Success Specialist
Mari Ponce-Vargas
Phone: 956-872-3216
(Please make sure to leave a message)


  • Start: A new program class begins every Fall Semester
  • Delivery: Daytime, Full-time
  • Application Deadline: July 13, 2021 for Fall Term
  • Advising schedule is as follows:
    Wednesdays at 10:00 am (Room A100-D)
    Note: For an advising appointment please email Mari Ponce-Vargas


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at South Texas 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; email:; website:

If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 956-872-3152 or email

Program Outcomes

  • Graduation Rate: 89.5% of students graduated from the Program (2 year average – 2019, 2020).
  • Licensure Examination Pass Rate: 100% of the graduates passed the licensure exam (2 year average – 2019, 2020).
  • Employment Rate: 100% of program graduates have obtained positions as PTAs within 12 months of passing the licensure exam (2 year average - 2018, 2019).

Program Application Data

Year # of Applications submitted # of students offered slots (accepted) # of students who entered program (matriculated)
2018 55 22 21
2019 30 21 21
2020 55 20 20

Apply HESI A2 Assessment Competitive Entry Process Resources In the Spotlight

Application Requirements

All applicants must:

  1. Participate in the required Prospective Student Information session. For the session schedule, access the information online at or contact the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at 956-872-3161.
  2. Be admitted to the college as a high school graduate or GED equivalent
  3. Meet TSI College Readiness Standards, or meet TSI exemption standards ( view testing requirements).
  4. Complete all prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of "B" as listed in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program degree plan. BIOL 2401 Anatomy and Physiology I must be completed within the past five years and PTHA 1409 Introduction to Physical Therapy must be completed within the past two years
  5. Complete the HESI A2 (Admissions Assessment) Exam as follows: Achieve an English Language Composite Score of 75% or higher, a Science (Anatomy & Physiology) Score of 75% or higher, and a Math Score of 75% or higher.  Scores must be current within the last 2 years. HESI A2 Exemptions are not permitted (click here for testing requirements).
  6. Earn a minimum grade of “B” in “Introduction to Physical Therapy” course within the last two years. Required HESI A2 English Language Composite, Science, and Math test scores are needed to register for this course.
  7. Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all courses, including transfer courses, and those completed at STC.
  8. Pass a criminal background check, 10-panel drug screen through approved providers, and complete all required immunizations including Hepatitis B series. Students with criminal histories must provide proof of licensure eligibility from the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Examiners (ECPTOTE). This process may take up to 6 months to complete. For more information contact the NAH Clinical Affairs Specialist at 872-3022.
  9. Submit Documentation of Experience Forms as evidence of a minimum of twenty-five (25) hours of volunteer or work experience under the supervision of a PT or PTA in two different settings, for a total of fifty (50) hours. One experience should be completed in an inpatient setting (hospital or nursing facility), and the other should be completed in a different type of setting such as an outpatient clinic or pediatric center. Home Health hours are not accepted. Therapists who supervise volunteer experiences cannot be a relative or personal friend of the student applicant.
  10. Meet Technical Standards as stated by the Physical Therapist Assistant Program.
  11. Submit a completed Program application by stated deadline. For more information contact the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at 872-3161 or access the information online at

Students who have met the above requirements may submit their application. Applications will be evaluated through a competitive selection process. Due to program size limitations, meeting application requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.

HESI A2 Exam

The HESI (Health Education Systems, Inc.) Admission Assessment, administered at South Texas College is a computerized exam designed to assess prospective students entering certain health fields at STC. The South Texas College Board of Trustees has approved the HESI exam for Fall 2017. Beginning September 1st 2017, students can begin signing up for the HESI exam through the STC Marketplace and pay all applicable fees.

How do I register for the HESI exam?

Student taking the HESI A2 exam must follow these instructions:

  1. View the HESI available test dates at STC Marketplace using the HESI store. After you select a test date and time, you will be prompted to enter your information, payment, and to check off rules and regulations to test for the HESI A2 exam. Students are responsible to check out if they are testing for the HESI exam for the second time, failure to provide that information will result in taking the wrong exam. Absolutely no refunds will be given for providing the wrong information.
  2. Once all information is entered, and your payment has been processed, you will receive a test date receipt which you will need to bring with you on the day of the exam. Your receipt is your proof of purchase; without it you may not be able to test.
  3. Create an Evolve account at Click on I’m A Student, then click My Evolve. In the orange pop-up box, click Create Account. You will receive an email containing your username and password.
  4. Bring your payment receipt, your username and password, a valid non-expired ID. We do not recommend bringing in any other personal items; they are not permitted inside the testing room. If you bring any personal items, they will not be allowed inside the testing room. Students will be directed to place all personal items in a locker. STC nor the Student Assessment Center are responsible for any items damaged, stolen, or lost while being stored in the lockers.

What fees do I have to pay to take the HESI exam?

All students are required to pay a $25 reservation fee, plus a $45 test fee. All fees are not refundable and non-transferable. NO EXCEPTIONS.

What sections will I be tested on?

Students will be tested in seven areas and will be given a total of 5 hours for the exam.

Subject Items
Reading Comprehension: Provides reading scenarios in order to measure reading comprehension, identifying the main idea, finding meaning of words in context, passage comprehension, making logical inferences, etc. 55 items
Vocabulary & General Knowledge: Contains vocabulary terms that are commonly used in both general English speaking settings and in health care fields. 55 items
Grammar: Contains basic grammar, including parts of speech, important terms and their uses, commonly occurring grammatical errors, etc. 55 items
Basic Math Skills: Focuses on math skills needed for health care fields, including basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, decimals, ratio and proportion, household measures, general math, facts, etc. 55 items
Anatomy & Physiology: Provides coverage of general terminology and anatomical structures and systems. 30 items
Learning Style: Assesses the preferred learning style. 14 items
Personality Style: Assesses personality related to preferred learning style. 15 items

Where is the HESI exam administered?

At this time the HESI exam is only administered at the Pecan campus. All students should report to the STC Student Assessment Center located at 2603 Pecan Plaza.

What do I need to bring on the day of the exam?

On the day of the exam, students are only required to bring in their valid non-expired ID, receipt of payment, and student username and password . Personal belongings, including electronic devices are not permitted inside the testing room. Students are advised to not bring these items on the day of the exam, however a locker is provided to store personal items if needed. SAC is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items stored inside the locker.

How do I prepare?

A study booklet is available and can be purchased at the online store:

HESI Admission Assessment Review, 4th Edition
ISBN-10: 0323353789
ISBN-13: 9780323353786

When do I know the results of my exam?

A copy of the HESI test scores will be given after completion. The Student Assessment Center does not discuss test scores with testers. Students are recommended to discuss all test scores with their particular department of study.

If you have any further questions or comments, please contact the Student Assessment Center at 956-872-3484.

How many times can I test?

Students are allowed to test for HESI only twice per eligibility period only.

There are three eligibility periods:

  • January 1 through May 31
  • June 1 through August 31
  • September 1 through December 31

STC PTA program may not accept HESI scores for students who test for more than twice per eligibility period. Students will not receive any refunds if they test more than twice per eligibility period.

Competitive Entry Selection Process

The PTA Program selection process is based on a Point System evaluation. Points are awarded for the following selection criteria: GPA of PTA Program prerequisite and general education courses, HESI A2 Exam scores, volunteer/experience forms, interview scores, and optional points which may be obtained from items listed on the Application Form (for example, completion of CSFH 0101 College Success for Healthcare course with a B or better, etc.). Qualified applicants are numerically ranked based on the number of acceptance points earned, and are either accepted, placed on an alternate list, or not accepted. Due to program size limitations, a number of applicants who meet the additional program application requirements may not be admitted to the program. The typical number of new positions available on an annual basis is 20; the final number is dependent upon available resources. Should any of the accepted applicants decline admission, an alternate will be offered acceptance to the program. In the case of tied applicants, finalists will be chosen based on the date of application.

A new applicant pool is established for each admission period. Applicants who are not admitted for the current application period must re-apply to be considered for a later application period. PTA Program applications are available annually from the PTA Program Department. The window for submission of completed applications opens on the second Monday of June and closes on the second Monday of July of the current year. Selection of students is made one time a year during the summer. Newly selected students attend program orientation in the summer and begin program classes in the fall semester.

Degree Plans Faculty Staff Career Exploration

Name E-mail Phone Location
Hernandez, Diana - PT, MEd - Program Chair dianah 956-872-3152 NAHC A-323
Garcia, Arlene - PTA arleneg 956-872-3153 NAHC A-324
Ruelas, Sayda - PT sruelas_6210 956-872-3154 NAHC A-326
Polvado, Sharlene - PTA spolvado 956-872-3016 NAHC A-325

For faculty not listed, please contact the department.

Name E-mail Phone Location
Ponce - Vargas, Mari marip 956-872-3216 NAHC A-100D
Aguilar, Diana - Faculty Secretary danaya 956-872-3161 NAHC A-331
Garcia, Diana - Licensed Lab Asst. dgarcia_2490 956-872-3038 NAHC A-330
Calderon, Celania - Licensed Lab Asst. celania_9367 956-872-3038 NAHC A-330

Work Environment

PTAs work in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, home health, schools, sports facilities, and more. Patients/clients treated in physical therapy range from newborns to the elderly and sample diagnoses include athletic injuries, back/neck problems, strokes, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, arthritis, and post-surgical conditions such as total joint replacements.

Care provided by a PTA may include:

  • teaching patients/clients exercises to increase movement and flexibility
  • helping increase a patient's/clients balance, strength and coordination
  • providing training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers
  • use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation

Salary Data

National Average Wage: $25.63/hr. or $53,320/year (BLS, May 2013)
Texas Average Wage: $33.04/hr. or $68,730/year (BLS, May 2013)

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