Tennessee Promise

Physical Therapist Assistant

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a health-care professional who works under the supervision of a physical therapist. The PTA works with a variety of patients who have been disabled by illness, accident, or congenital handicap. The duties of a PTA include assisting the physical therapist in implementing treatment programs that may involve exercise, manual therapy and hydrotherapy; the use of heat, cold, electricity, or sound; and reporting to the physical therapist on the patient's responses. As clinicians, PTAs work in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, rehabilitation centers, and for physical therapists in outpatient independent practice settings.

Following graduation, graduates are eligible to sit for the state licensing examination. A criminal background check is required. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) (opens new window).


The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Southwest is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Program Outcomes

Graduation Rate

2012, 2013, and 2014 graduation rates were 95 percent, 100 percent and 90 percent respectively. Some students did not complete the program due to academic, financial, medical, or personal reasons.

Licensure Examination Pass Rate

  • Class of 2012 = 94.74 percent
  • Class of 2013 = 86.36 percent
  • Class of 2014 = 94.74 percent

Employment Rate of Graduates

100 percent of graduates from the classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014 have been offered employment within six (6) months of becoming licensed Physical Therapist Assistants.