Love making a difference? As a PTA, you’ll make it your job to help others grow stronger.

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) help individuals of all ages who are ill, injured, or have a health condition that limits the ability to perform daily activities.

Under the supervision of licensed physical therapists, PTAs can work in many different settings. These include: hospitals, outpatient centers, home health, sports/fitness, long-term care, and other facilities. PTAs teach patients exercises for mobility, strength, and coordination, as well as helping clients train for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers.

The Program

TCL’s full-time PTA program consists of 69 credit hours completed over five consecutive semesters. The curriculum includes general education, science, and PTA courses taught on site and in a variety of off-campus laboratory and clinical sites.

In the News: “Game Changer” Technology

The TCL’s Physical Therapist Assistant program’s new piece of high-tech equipment called the ‘Anatomage Table’ is enhancing teaching and learning in the classroom. Read the full story here.

Why choose the Physical Therapist Assistant Program?

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  • Important Dates

    The application period for Fall 2024 goes through May 28, 2024. Visit the Health Sciences Application Process page for all of the information about applying.

    You may contact Cindy Mooney at or make an appointment through your Navigate account to determine if you are eligible to apply. Appointments may be virtual!

    To schedule Achieve 3000—please email Health Sciences Advisor Cindy Mooney (

    • Last Day for Achieve 3000 testing will be June 16.
    • Achieve 3000 testing will take place at the Beaufort Campus.

    To schedule TEAS—please email

    As of May 18, 2020 math and science courses must be completed within the last 5 years to be considered for Health Science applications.

    Certify Your Skills

    Earn valuable industry credentials! Coursework qualifies students to apply to take the National Physical Therapy Examination for Physical Therapist Assistants (NPTE) exam. TCL’s graduates continue to perform well above the national average. PTAs must complete an associate degree and successfully pass NPTE exam to be licensed in most states including South Carolina.

    TCL PTA Program Specific Statistics
    Graduating ClassGraduation RateNPTE 1st Time Pass RateNPTE Overall Pass RateEmployment Rate
    2-year average (2022-23)84.6%85.7%100%100%
    Yearly Data    

    Accreditation & Accolades

    Physical Therapist Assistant Program at The Technical College of the Lowcountry 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 843-525-8335 or email

    Technical College of the Lowcountry is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Degree-granting institutions also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Technical College of the Lowcountry may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website ( 

    Quick Facts


    It pays to be a PTA: the median annual wage is $63,330.


    Learn about nutrition, kinesiology, therapeutic methods, and rehabilitation practices.


    The 2-year PTA program consists of 69 credit hours over five full-time semesters.


    The job outlook is exceptional for all TCL health sciences graduates. The South Carolina’s annual mean wage for a physical therapist assistant is $63,330, according to 2022 reports from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Earnings can increase substantially with time and experience


    Total Tuition: 69 credits x $214 per credit = $14,766.

    Remember, this is before S.C. Lottery Tuition Assistance and other financial aid, which could drop your costs by more than half. In fact, after financial aid, many TCL students attend for free. See more about paying for TCL.

    *Based on Fall 2022 in-state, in-service-area tuition. Your actual cost may differ. Does not include fees, books and other costs. Qualifications vary.


    “The Physical Therapist Assistant career path is a rewarding one with various job prospects.
    Make your career move by helping others stay in motion with the TCL PTA program.”

    Kara Santana

    Program Director


    Important Additional Requirements

    Applicants interested in the Physical Therapist Assistant program must first complete the college admission application process. The student will then make an appointment to meet with a Health Science Advisor. Acceptance into the college does not guarantee admission into a health sciences program. Applications for admission to the Physical Therapist Assistant program may only be obtained from Health Science Advisors. Call 843.525.8267 for additional information and to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

    Is this program for you?

    Yes, particularly if you:

    • like working with people.
    • excel in science.
    • Have physical strength to move and lift patients.

    Additional Information

    Program Summary

    The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program at Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) is a two-year, five-semester program leading to an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences. Course work in the Program consists of classes in general education, health-related sciences and technical course work. Three formal clinical education courses are scheduled during the third and fifth semesters.

    Program Mission

    The mission of the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Technical College of the Lowcountry is to prepare technically competent Physical Therapist Assistants that provide quality physical therapy services within a rapidly changing healthcare environment.

    To support this mission, the Physical Therapist Assistant Program provides a comprehensive curriculum that:

    •  Prepares the physical therapist assistant student with the knowledge and abilities necessary for entry-level practice. 
    • Prepares the physical therapist assistant students to work under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist in a safe and effective manner.

    Cohort Information

    • 2023 Cohort
      • 13 applicants, 12 met admission criteria, 12 accepted
    • 2022 Cohort
      • 12 applicants, 12 met admission criteria, 12 accepted
    • 2021 Cohort
      • 19 applicants, 18 met admission criteria, 16 accepted
    • 2020 Cohort
      • 31 applicants, 30 met admissions criteria, 16 accepted


    If a complaint or concern is in regards to the PTA Program or the ACCE, please contact the PTA Program Director Director, Kara Santana PT, DPT, at or 843-525-8335. If a complaint or concern is in regards to the PTA Program Director please contact the Health Sciences Dean, Joey Swearingen PT,DPT, ATC at or 846-525-8230.

    Concerns or complaints may arise that are outside the scope of the grievance procedure or that cannot be resolved by communication with the Technical College of the Lowcountry PTA Program faculty. Individuals may use the “Contact TCL” link on the TCL web page to file such concerns. Remarks submitted via the website are first read by a member of the TCL public relations department. The public relations department will forward the complaint to the appropriate personnell. If there were a complaint against the PTA Program, it will first be forwarded to the Health Sciences Division Dean, who will then discuss it with the PTA Program Director. Once an investigation is completed, the PTA Program Director, the Division Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs will then review the findings and determine the appropriate course of action. A log of all PTA program complaints is maintained by the PTA Program Director. There will be no retaliation by the program or college against an individual who files a complaint against the program.

    If a complaint is regarding program accreditation status a formal complaint may be filed with CAPTE. Please see section below “Process for Filing a Complaint with CAPTE” for additional details on this complaint process.

    Process for Filing a Complaint with CAPTE

    If complaints are regarding program accreditation; a formal complaint may be filed with CAPTE in the format provided by the Department of Accreditation. Complaints may not be submitted anonymously. CAPTE will act only on a concern when one or more of the practices or conditions indicate that the program may not be in compliance with the Evaluative Criteria for Accreditation or CAPTE’s expectations related to academic integrity. To obtain the materials necessary for submitting a complaint, contact the APTA Accreditation Department at 703-706-3245 or The formal complaint process can be accessed in the Accreditation Handbook, available through the CAPTE website ( There will be no retaliation by the program or college against an individual who files a complaint against the program.

    Program Dean

    Joey Swearingen

    Dean, Health Sciences


    Beaufort Mather Campus, Bldg. 4, Rm. 109


    Kara Santana

    PTA Program Director/PTA Instructor


    Beaufort Mather Campus, Bldg. 4, Rm. 113

    Kari Canfield

    ACCE-PTA Program/PTA Instructor


    Beaufort Mather Campus, Bldg. 4, Rm. 111