Getting Started


All students interested in admission to the PTA program are encouraged to submit their completed application early in the enrollment process which extends from early December to early April of each year. The inaugural class will begin August 2019.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission, the applicant must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in both science and non-science prerequisite courses and must have completed a minimum of 48 quarter units (or 32 semester units) at an accredited college or university. Admission is a selective and competitive process. Criteria used include: science and non-science, GPA, completion of subject requirements, interview, essay, recommendations, and observation/volunteer/work experience.

  1. Acceptance to Southern Adventist University
  2. Satisfactory completion of all required academic prerequisites (minimum GPA of 2.5 and minimum grade of C+ in BIOL 101, BIOL 102, PHYS 135, MATH 215)
  3. PTA application submitted by April 1 the year prior to starting PTA training (which begins in August)
  4. Documentation of minimum 80 observation hours completed in a physical therapy clinic setting (20 inpatient, 20 outpatient, 40 your choice)
  5. Work experience in a physical therapy setting (recommended but not required)
  6. Signed agreement to uphold the university mission statement
  7. Letters of recommendation (minimum of three)

Prerequisite College Course Requirements for Admissions

The PTA program has established key prerequisite courses as part of the admission process for a couple reasons. First, student success is the primary objective throughout this program. The prerequisite courses selected closely reflect the level of intensity and difficulty of the PTA courses. Second, students need to be aware of the time commitment required to complete the PTA program. Student commitment and focus are critical to ultimate success.

If a student is scheduled for an advising appointment, please reference the sample course progression listed below. Students are encouraged to bring all college transcripts from colleges or universities where prerequisites were completed. Unofficial copies are okay initially, but official copies must be requested and supplied during the application process for admission to Southern.


The deadline for PTA applications is each April 1 prior to an August start date. Southern encourages students to apply early within the enrollment period, due to the popularity of this program. This also allows for ample time to include all the needed requirements for application. Waiting or putting off submitting your application and/or not completing all admissions requirements early on may decrease your chances of acceptance.

Once the application is closed, all applications submitted will be reviewed for completeness. The top candidates will progress to the interview stage of the process.

International students need to apply early for extended processing. See International student information for further details.

PLEASE NOTE: Grades of C minus (C-) are not transferable for credit. Credits must be from an accredited college.

Program of Instruction

Physical Therapist Assistant Associate in Science

The program of instruction outlined below is for students who are enrolled at Southern Adventist University. Courses are taught during daytime hours and usually four to five days a week, depending on the semester of study. Class times may vary by quarter depending on instructor and classroom availability.

A minimum grade of C or 73% is required for all courses in the program

If you have questions regarding our PTA program, feel free to call or email our department, (423) 236-2858 or When you call, set up a time to come by and visit the campus. This is a great opportunity for you to see first-hand what Southern Adventist University has to offer. Please call or email us to plan your visit. We request that you bring a copy of your transcripts, the prerequisites sheet, and any questions you may have.

Program Cost

Once a student is accepted into the technical component of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program, the following tuition fees apply:

  • Second year cost of program
    • Fall 2019 - $10, 825
    • Winter 2020 - $10, 825
    • Fall 2020 - $10, 825
      • Total = $31, 650

Please note: This is tuition only. Additional fees for housing, books, meals, and/or lab fees may apply. Please refer to the current undergraduate catalog.

First Class Admissions:

In April 2019, the PTA Program received 22 student applications with 13 students meeting all admission requirements. 

Sample Course Progression

First Year

Semester 1
  • BIOL 101 - Anatomy & Physiology I with lab; 4 credits
  • ENGL 101 - Critical Thinking in Academic Reading and Writing; 3 credits
  • PHYS 265 - Conceptual Physics; 3 credits
  • NOND 101 - Southern Connections; 1 credit
  • HIST - Historical Perspectives (Any qualified history course); 3 credits
  • RELB 125 - Life and Teachings of Jesus or RELT 177 Christian Spirituality; 3 credits
Semester 2
  • BIOL 102 - Anatomy & Physiology II with lab; 4 credits
  • CPTE 100 - Computer Concepts; 1 credit
  • MATH 215 - Statistics; 3 credits
  • PSYC 128 - Developmental Psychology; 3 credits
  • PEAS 125 - Fitness for Collegiate Life; 1 credit
  • HLED 210 - Medical Terminology; 1 credit
  • RELT 138 - Adventist Heritage, RELT 225 - Last Day Events, or RELT - 255 Christian Beliefs or Any RELB except RELB 125; 3 credits

Second Year 

Semester 3 (Fall)
  • PTAS 100 - Physical Therapy Perspectives; 3 credits
  • PTAS 205 - Therapeutic Modalities with lab; 4 credits
  • PTAS 105 - Kinesiology with lab; 3 credits
  • PTAS 115 - Fundamentals of PT Practice with lab; 4 credits
  • PTAS 212 - Clinical Pathology; 2 credits
Semester 4 (Winter)
  • PTAS 209 - Orthopedic Rehabilitation; 2 credits
  • PTAS 201 - Observation and Measurement with lab; 2 credits
  • PTAS 215 - Neuromuscular Rehabilitation with lab; 4 credits
  • PTAS 220 - Therapeutic Exercise with lab; 3 credits
  • PTAS 235 - Clinical Affiliation I; 4 credits
Semester 5 (Fall)
  • PTAS 218 - Rehabilitation with lab; 3 credits
  • PTAS 225 - Capstone Seminar; 1 credit
  • PTAS 245 - Clinical Affiliation II; 6 credits
  • PTAS 255 - Clinical Affiliation III; 6 credits