Physical Therapist Assistant Program Information

Warning! Interested PTA program applicants do not need to take BIOL& 160 (Biology) as a prerequisite for BIOL& 241 (Anatomy and Physiology). Please contact Loren Pemberton regarding this change.

Welcome to the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Spokane Falls Community College. We greatly appreciate your interest in the PTA Program and the opportunities available.

Student receiving cervical flexion examination

SFCC PTA Program Student Testimonial

Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.)

SFCC offers a two-year program to prepare physical therapists assistants for immediate employment in physical therapy facilities. PTA technical courses must be taken in sequence and are only offered to students accepted into the PTA program. The only prerequisite course to the program is Anatomy and Physiology Biol 241 or equivalent. However, students are encouraged to complete general education requirements and related coursework prior to entering the PTA Program, otherwise general education requirements can be completed during the summer quarter between the first and second year. If you are transferring from another college please contact our counselor, Loren Pemberton, by e-mail or (509) 533-3503 to see how your classes transfer or to finalize prerequisites.

Students using Hoyer for wheelchair tranfer

The PTA program incorporates a selective process for admission and we accept applications in early April for the following September start date. This admission process uses a point system based on relevant coursework completed at the time of application and verification of paid or volunteer experience in a medical setting. The highest scoring applicants are invited to an interview process to determine the admitted students. Please be aware that the completion of all prerequisites does not ensure admission to the program.

Admission Requirements

  • Apply for admission to SFCC.
  • Completion of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program Application Booklet which is available online or at the SFCC counseling center. Applications are due by the deadline noted in the Program Application Booklet.
  • 2.0 or better in one quarter anatomy and physiology lab course (Biol 241 or equivalent)
  • Documentation of either work or volunteer experience in a medical setting (prefer physical therapy)

Admission Recommendations

Since the selection process is based on points (please see the application), it is beneficial to meet the admission recommendations prior to applying to the program.

  • Appropriate placement test scores for English and math (unless you already have received a 2.0 in a college level English and Math course). If you have not taken college level math, after receiving your Student Identification Number (SID), call to schedule your placement exam at the SFCC testing center at (509) 533-3401.
  • General Psychology (PSYC& 100)
  • At least 40 hours of experience in a physical therapy setting

Upon Admission

  • Satisfactory TOEFL scores for students where English is their second language (contact the program for acceptable scores). Please refer to www.ets.org/toefl for more information.
  • Each successful PTA applicant may be required to complete a background check, drug testing and submit proof of immunization. Clinical facilities may deny access to a student for any of the following:
    • Lack of current immunizations required by the site
    • A "discrepancy" on the criminal background check
    • A positive drug test

While entrance to the PTA Program may not be denied because of such a rating, without access to the clinical facilities a student may not be able to satisfactorily complete the PTA program and will be so advised.

SFCC Application Process

Students smiling

In order for your application to be considered for the PTA Program, you must have the following completed and on file in the Admissions Office by the deadline noted in the application materials. (Please contact the PTA Program Director at 279-6224 if you have missed the deadline; there may be space available.)

  1. A Community Colleges of Spokane Application for Admission Form must be submitted to the Admissions Office if you are not currently enrolled at SFCC. You must apply to SFCC even if you are enrolled at SCC. You must reactivate your application if you were previously enrolled at SFCC. You can apply online now.
  2. Request official transcripts of all college coursework. Have them sent directly to the Admissions Office.
  3. Contact the Assessment Office at 533-3401 for an assessment for placement into English and Math. If you have already taken English 101 (composition) and Math 92, 94, or 96 (Elementary Algebra II) with a GPA of 2.0 or better - proven by a college transcript - you do not need to contact the Assessment Office.

PTA Application Directions

The supplemental application materials must be submitted to the Office of the PTA/OTA Secretary, Bldg. 27, Room 356, Mailstop 3029, by the deadline noted in the application materials. These materials are accepted only once each year for evaluation by the advisory board. It is your responsibility to make sure your application is complete and submitted on time. If all positions are not filled at the advisory meeting, applicants will continue to be evaluated by an ad hoc committee.

  1. To begin the application process, set up an appointment with Loren Pemberton, Counseling Center, 533-3503, Building 17, Room 210. He will review your materials and give you a copy of the PTA Program Application Booklet. We can not emphasize the importance of this appointment to make sure you are fulfilling the needed prerequisites and preparing for your future as a PTA.
  2. Refer to the Apply Now tab for the downloadable PTA Program Application Booklet.
  3. Submit at least two (2) Experience Verification forms (more may be submitted; you may photocopy the blank forms).
  4. You must supply unofficial copies of all previous college coursework, even if you are or have been enrolled at SFCC or SCC. Your application will not be evaluated without all unofficial transcripts attached. Official copies of transcripts must be sent directly to the Admissions Office (refer to #2 under SFCC Application Process above).
  5. Submit documentation of SFCC assessment scores placing you into ENGL& 101 or a transcript showing completion of a 5 credit English composition class with a GPA of 2.0 or above.
  6. Submit documentation of SFCC assessment scores placing you into Math 92, 94, or 96, or a transcript showing completion of Elementary Algebra II with a GPA of 2.0 or above, or completion of an appropriate prerequisite for placement into Math 92, 94, or 96 with a GPA of 2.0 or above.
  7. You must show proof of completion of 5 quarter credits of the laboratory course BIOL& 241 within the past 5 years with a GPA of 2.0 or above or a transcript showing completion of an equivalent Anatomy and Physiology course with a GPA of 2.0 or above. Coursework older than 5 years will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  8. Applicants will be rated on their academic preparedness. Additional courses to take prior to application to show evidence of academic preparation and to strengthen your application may include: BIOL 242, PSYC& 101, ENGL& 101, and MATH 92, 94 or 96. All courses must show a GPA of 2.0 or above. Coursework older than 5 years will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  9. Please include a cover letter addressing any pertinent facts you feel the selection committee should be aware of.

What is the field of physical therapy like?

Geriatric Fitness exersizes with young woman and elderly woman

Today's physical therapists (PTs) and their assistants (PTAs) play a major role in health care. Physical therapy means the assessment, evaluation, treatment and prevention of physical disability, movement dysfunction, and pain resulting from injury, disease, disability, or other health related conditions. Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of a physical therapist in the delivery of physical therapy services. Their duties include assisting the physical therapist in implementing treatment programs according to the plan of care, training patients in exercises and activities of daily living, conducting treatments, using special equipment, administering modalities and other treatment procedures, and reporting to the physical therapist on the patient's responses.

Physical Therapy work involves patients of all ages - from children to the elderly - and can be in many different settings: hospitals and medical centers, rehabilitation centers, pediatric facilities and school systems, private orthopedic clinics, home health care agencies, convalescent centers and extended care facilities. In particular, small communities have a high need for therapy services.

What program does SFCC offer?

SFCC's seven-quarter PTA program is designed to prepare graduates for immediate employment. Students complete 103 credits and graduate with an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. The program includes study in anatomy and physiology, social science, technical physical therapy courses and practical clinical experience in area health care facilities affiliated with the college. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association. The technical courses for the physical therapist assistant program are not designed to transfer to four-year schools.

Admission into the program is competitive. Potential students are rated in two areas: academic preparedness and previous experience (either paid or volunteer) in a PT facility or related medical field.

The SFCC PTA program is rigorous and demanding. Students may find it difficult to work while in the program (even part-time). Embedded in the program are more than 565 hours of clinical education, and students spend this time working in physical therapy clinics as part of their coursework.

What do PTAs do?

Students smiling

Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of a physical therapist in the delivery of physical therapy services. Their duties include assisting the physical therapist in implementing treatment programs according to the plan of care, training patients in exercises and activities of daily living, conducting treatments, using special equipment, administering modalities and other treatment procedures, and reporting to the physical therapist on the patient's responses.

Physical therapy practitioners work with the entire spectrum of the patient population and are employed in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals and medical centers, rehabilitation centers, pediatric facilities or school systems, private physical therapy clinics, home health care agencies, convalescent centers and extended care facilities.

Most PTAs are drawn to this field because of their desire to work with people to help them regain their functional abilities.

Questions about Physical therapy Jobs

How do I find jobs?

Students smiling

Use SFCC's Online Job Listing Database to get connected with the Jobs and Resources you need to succeed!

Where will I get a job?

Nationally, job placement of graduates of Physical Therapist Assistant programs is excellent. The Physical Therapist Assistant profession is rated by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the fastest growing professions, and current projections indicate that this trend will continue. Graduates of SFCC’s Physical Therapist Assistant program can expect to be hired immediately; to date, 100% of graduates who sought employment found work as Physical Therapist Assistants. There are many job opportunities for both men and women, and career opportunities for pursuit of specialty interests in rehabilitation, orthopedics, geriatrics, and pediatrics.

Licensure is required in Washington State for the Physical Therapist Assistant as of July 2007. Graduates are prepared to sit for the licensure exam.

How much will I earn?

Physical Therapist Assistant salaries vary with the type of facility, so there is significant salary disparity in the field. Generally, PTA salaries start at about two-thirds the salary of a Physical Therapist. In Spokane, starting salaries vary in range from $19 - $25 per hour and include benefits.

  • Theraband Exercises
  • Strengthen with Pulleys
  • Neuroscience
  • Balance Exercises
  • Pediatrics
  • Infection Control
  • Manual Muscle Test
  • Ankle Taping
  • Pediatric Therapy
  • Posture Assessment
  • Aquatic Rehabilitation
  • Transfers

Cole, Marie; Instructor

Cole, Marie; Instructor Office: 27-351

Phone: (509) 279-6224

Email: Marie.Cole@sfcc.spokane.edu
Lab Videos Neuroscience
Pediatric Videos PTA Courses

Marie Cole, PT, MEd. Program Director and Instructor

BS in Physical Therapy, BS in Health and Physical Education, University of Montana; MEd in Adult Education Eastern Washington University.

Marie Cole has been a physical therapist since 1983. She received her Master’s in Adult Education in 2001. Ms. Cole describes herself as a generalist in that she owned her own private practice, been a clinician in almost every hospital in Spokane, practiced in rehabilitation, outpatient orthopedic, and skilled nursing facilities.

Ms. Cole is certified in Adult Neurodevelopmental Therapy and Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy for treatment of lymphedema. She was involved in the development of the SFCC PTA program and has been a faculty member in the program since its inception and has taught the majority of the courses offered in the program at one time or another.

Along with her husband, Marie owns and operates a Certified Organic Orchard on Green Bluff, and enjoys running, dog agility and gardening in her spare time.

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Aley, Lynn; Instructor

Aley, Lynn; Instructor Office: 027-0358

Phone: (509) 279-6094

Email: Lynn.Aley@sfcc.spokane.edu

PT, MS, DHS, Adjunct Instructor

Lynn Aley has undergraduate degrees from Whitworth College, a BS in Biology and BA in English and from the University of Indianapolis, an MS in PT and a DHS (Doctorate of Health science) in Physical Therapy. Lynn has worked at St. Luke's Rehab Institute for the past 22 years, primarily in the outpatient Neuro Department and has taught Intro to Neuroscience since 2012 at SFCC for both OTA and PTA programs. Lynn also guest lectures on Aquatic Therapy and Balance/Fall prevention.

Dr. Aley is married with four kids, has two dogs, and enjoys playing soccer, skiing, and camping.

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Blevins, Gary; Instructor

Blevins, Gary; Instructor Office: 028-134

Phone: (509) 533-4370

Email: Gary.Blevins@sfcc.spokane.edu

Bio 241 A&P 1 Bio 242 A&P 2 IMBD Bird Workshop PTA/OTA 106 Regional Anatomy and Physiology Bio 280 Cadaver Prosection
Gary Blevins teaches Clinical Regional Anatomy for the PTA and OTA programs. He is also the lead instructor of Anatomy and Physiology within the Life Sciences Department here at SFCC.

Mr. Blevins started his college teaching career at Hutchinson community College in Kansas where he taught Biology, Ecology, and Anatomy and Physiology. During his time in Kansas Mr. Blevins also taught as an adjunct instructor at Wichita State University teaching Anatomy and Physiology and Comparative Anatomy. He finds the greatest reward from teaching is the success that many former students have had in their careers after taking A&P classes.

Gary's passion in biology outside of A&P has been birds. He's been active in the Audubon Society at the national, state and local levels as well as conducting bird banding research to exploring bird migration and population trends. Gary also enjoys many outdoor activities such as kayaking, camping, hiking, and skiing.

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Compton, Renee; Instructor

Compton, Renee; Instructor Office: 027-0353

Phone: (509) 279-6245

Email: Renee.Compton@sfcc.spokane.edu


Renee Compton, PTA, ATC, AT/L, Instructor

BEd, Athletic Training, Gonzaga University; AAS Physical Therapist Assistant, SFCC.

Renee has been an athletic trainer since 1986 and a physical therapist assistant since 1997 primarily in outpatient orthopedic and home healthcare. She has been involved with teaching since 1998 and in 2010 became a core faculty member. She is currently on the editorial advisory board for the PT WA newsletter. She received Recognition of Advanced Proficiency for the Physical Therapist Assistant from the American Physical Therapy Association in 2007. She has served as an athletic trainer for many area high schools over the past several years and has been a guest speaker for several coach's clinics in the Spokane Area. She is a certified trainer for the Sportsmetrics Injury Prevention Program and has had advanced training in bike fitting for the competitive and recreational cyclist. Renee is currently in the Master's program for Adult Education at Eastern Washington University.

She is an avid cyclist and races in road, cyclocross and cross country mountain bike events.

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McPhee, Dana; Instructor

McPhee, Dana; Instructor Office: 027-0358

Phone: (509) 279-6094

Email: Dana.McPhee@sfcc.spokane.edu


Dana McPhee PT, MS, NCS, Adjunct Instructor

MS in Physical Therapy, Pacific University
BS in Biology, Gonzaga University

Dana McPhee has been a physical therapist since 1993. She became a Neurologic Certified Specialist in 2004. She has practiced in rehabilitation, inpatient acute care and long term acute care. Her specialty is in Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke. Ms. McPhee is also an adjunct professor at Eastern Washington University in the Physical Therapy Program and at SFCC in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program. She has given one and two day courses on Brain Injury in the community and tri-state area. Dana enjoys running, cycling, kayaking and reading.

She enjoys running, cycling, kayaking and reading.

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Odren, Donelle; Instructor

Odren, Donelle; Instructor Office: 027-0347

Phone: (509) 279-6249

Email: Donelle.Odren@sfcc.spokane.edu


Donelle Odren PT,DPT; ACCE/Instructor

BA Education, Whitworth; BS Physical Therapy, Eastern Washington University, DPT, Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions

Donelle Odren is the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education. She is primarily responsible for the student's clinical affiliations and internships. Her classes include Introduction to Orthopedics and all clinical coursework. She also teaches Medical Terminology, Introduction to Neuroscience and Issues in Therapy for the OTA and PTA programs. Her passion for teaching comes from the student's excitement and a love for the profession. Faculty are constantly challenged with ever changing careers and Dr. Odren considers it a joy to have an impact on the newest members of the profession. She completed a transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2008 and chose to enter academia.

Donelle's professional expertise is orthopedics and geriatrics, in her free time enjoys travel, reading, music and exercise.

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For more information contact

Marie Cole, MEd, PT- Program Director
Phone: (509) 279-6224
Email: Marie.Cole@sfcc.spokane.edu
The PTA Hotline (if living outside Spokane County)
Phone: (509) 279-6073
  • Spokane Falls Community College
  • Counseling Center MS 3011
  • 3410 W Fort George Wright Drive
  • Spokane WA 99224-5288
  • (509) 533-3503
Student receiving a compression wrap