Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

“Is the BPCC PTA Program Accredited? Why is that important?”

Bossier Parish Community College is proud to have an excellent, fully accredited PTA Program. The PTA Program is accredited by CAPTE (the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education), which is a requirement for graduates to be eligible to sit for the national PTA licensure exam. We encourage you to research the criteria for accreditation and view the most current list of accredited programs at capteonline.org.Will open new browser window or tab

“Are PTAs required to sit for a licensure/certification examination? How do your graduates do on the national PTA licensure examination?”

After completion of the PTA clinical program, graduates are required to take and pass the National Physical Therapy ExaminationWill open new browser window or tabto be eligible to apply for a licenseWill open new browser window or tabto practice as a PTA in the state of Louisiana.

For data related to BPCC PTA Program graduate success on licensure exam refer to the Program Data Chart.

“I live outside the Shreveport-Bossier City area. May I still apply to your Program?”

Absolutely. While the majority of our applicants and clinical students live and plan to work in this area, we encourage and are in fact actively recruiting students from other regions of the state. Job availability and salaries continue to grow in those communities not served by a local PT or PTA program and we receive frequent calls from rural hospitals and clinics seeking PTA graduates. If you are from out of town and are interested in pursuing a PTA degree from BPCC you are encouraged to contact a PTA advisor for additional information and to request a personalized transcript review.

“Do your graduates have any trouble finding employment after graduation? What kind of salaries are they making?”

Our program has a high reputation in the community and our graduates have a high rate of employment. While the job market and salaries in the Shreveport-Bossier City area are very good, the available jobs and salary ranges in more “rural” areas outside Shreveport-Bossier City tend to be even higher. For specific data regarding employment statistics of BPCC PTA Program graduates, refer to the Program Data Chart.

More information on the job descriptions, job outlook and salaries for PTAs can be found on the website for the Bureau of Labor StatisticsWill open new browser window or tabwebsite.

“I don’t currently live in the Shreveport-Bossier City area. Would I have to move to Bossier City to complete this degree?”

The majority of the pre-PTA curriculum for this Program may be completed at any accredited 4-year university or community college (near your home). In addition, the 4 scheduled clinical practice experiences/“internships” that occur during the clinical component (final year) of the program (each 4-5 weeks in length) may be scheduled in hospitals/PT clinics in or near your hometown. Your required time in Bossier would include:

  • A 4-week summer semester (BPCC summer session “C”) for the first 2 courses (3 credit hours) of PTA clinical curriculum (PTAP 200 and PTAP 201). Courses during this semester meet from 3 to 5 days a week.
  • A 10-week condensed fall semester for didactic (class/lab) PTA clinical curriculum (PTAP 202, PTAP 203, PTAP 203 and PTAP 205). Courses during this 10-week period meet 5 days a week.
  • A 10-week condensed spring semester for didactic (class/lab) PTA clinical curriculum (PTAP 212, PTAP 213, PTAP 214, PTAP 215 and PTAP 217). Courses during this 10-week period meet 5 days a week.

“I already have a degree (Associate/Bachelor’s/Master’s). Am I ready for application to PTA clinicals?”

While it is likely that within your degree you have taken some or even most of the pre-requisite course requirements, there is a strong possibility that you may be lacking one or more of the required classes. You should request that a PTA advisor review your transcript and help you identify what may be missing. Additionally, if a significant amount of time has passed since the completion of your degree, your advisor may recommend re-taking or auditing particular courses so that your knowledge in that content is current.

“What factors are considered in the selection process for clinicals?”

Selection for admission to the Clinical PTA Program is competitive and limited to the top 20 scoring applicants each year.

Phase I—Academic Scoring and Initial Applicant Ranking

  • The PTA Clinical Selection Committee will rank each applicant on the following predetermined academic criteria:
    • Science and General Education Qualification Course Grades
    • WorkKeys Scores
    • Cumulative GPA
  • The top ranking 50 applicants will be invited for an interview and will be eligible to move into phase II of the selection process.
  • All applicants will receive a letter informing them of their status.

Phase II—Non-Academic Scoring and Final Applicant Ranking

  • The PTA Clinical Selection Committee will rank each applicant on the following predetermined non-academic criteria:
    • Interview scores
    • Written essay
    • Clinical Observation Rating Form Scores
    • Academic Rating Form Score
    • These scores will be added to the previously computed academic score
  • The top ranking 20 applicants will be offered a position in the PTA Clinical Class that begins in summer semester, session "C"
  • All applicants will receive a letter informing them of their status.

“How many students do you accept each year into the PTA Program? How many people usually apply for clinicals each year?”

We accept a maximum of 20 students per year into the clinical phase of the PTA Program. The number of applicants varies from year to year, but has averaged around 90 for the past 2 years.

“What do I do if I am not selected for the PTA clinical program?”

We encourage any applicant not selected for the clinical program to meet with a PTA advisor to review strengths/weaknesses of their application packet. Options for students not selected include (a) pursuing another allied health program at BPCC (b) working on improving an application score with re-application to the PTA program the following year (c) working toward completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field or (d) investigating PTA Program application at another institution.Will open new browser window or tab

“How much does the Physical Therapist Assistant Program cost?”

The pre-PTA component of the program has only those costs associated with regular tuition per credit hour which is the same for all BPCC students. Once accepted into the clinical component of the program there are additional costs related to clinical fees, uniforms, immunizations, etc.

"Where can I get more information on financial aid, scholarships, grants and/or loans to help pay for the cost of school?"

You can find out about resources available through BPCC at the Financial Aid Scholarship page, and resources available through the American Physical Therapy Association.Will open new browser window or tab

“What is the difference between a PT and a PTA?”

Physical Therapist Physical Therapist Assistant
Education Education
Doctor of Physical Therapy (a Graduate School Degree) Associate Degree
Starting Salary Starting Salary
approximately $60,000 in Shreveport, LA approximately $38,000 in Shreveport, LA
Responsibilities Responsibilities
Evaluate patients/clients
Develop plan of care
Treat and reassess patients
Supervise the PTA
Work under the supervision of physical therapist.
Treat patients
Patient Conditions Treated (Examples) Patient Conditions Treated (Examples)
Stroke
Spinal Cord Injury
Sports Injuries
Back Injuries
Work-related Injuries
Neurological Disorders
Heart Attacks
Following Surgery
Physical Trauma
Pediatric Developmental Delay
Same as Physical Therapist
Work Place (Examples) Work Place (Examples)
Hospitals 
Nursing Homes
Home Health Agencies
Private Practices
School Systems
Same as Physical Therapist
Requires Licensure Exam To Work Requires Licensure Exam To Work
Yes Yes
Schools That Offer Training Schools That Offer Training
  • Louisiana State University Health, Shreveport, LA
  • Louisiana State University Health, New Orleans, LA
  • Bossier Parish Community College
  • Our Lady of the Lake Community College (Baton Rouge, LA)
  • Delgado Community College (New Orleans, LA)
  • Kilgore Community College (Kilgore, TX)
  • South Arkansas Community College (El Dorado, AR)
  • Louisiana College (Pineville, LA)

“Can becoming a PTA help me to eventually become a Physical Therapist?”

In order to become a Physical Therapist, a student must complete a Doctoral level program in Physical Therapy. In Louisiana, there are 2 institutions which offer that degree program Louisiana State University Health in Shreveport and Louisiana State University Health in New Orleans. While completing an Associate Degree in PTA is not the most typical “route” to take in pursuing a degree in Physical Therapy, it is one option.

Acceptance into the DPT Programs in Louisiana is on a selective/competitive basis. In order to apply for admission to those programs, you must first obtain a Baccalaureate Degree. Additionally, that B.S. degree must include all of the pre-requisite (pre-PT) courses required by the respective programs. For a more complete description of the pre-requisite requirements and application/selection process utilized by those programs we encourage you to review the website of those programs and/or contact faculty advisors/instructors with questions.

Typically, students wishing to become a Physical Therapist must first complete a 4-yr. B.S. degree and then apply for admission to a Doctoral-level Physical Therapy Program. Obtaining an Associate Degree in PTA first is neither necessary or common. Locally, however, there is an opportunity for graduates of the BPCC PTA Program to transfer to Louisiana State University in Shreveport and receive transfer credit for many of the PTA qualification courses and selected* PTA clinical courses if they wish to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Community Health.Will open new browser window or tab With careful attention to fulfill the pre-requisite requirements for PT school application while pursuing that B.S. degree, the LSU-S graduate may then make application to the Louisiana State University Health DPT Program. Students wishing to complete the PTA Program and then transfer to LSU-S to complete the Bachelor's Degree in Community Health should contact a PTA advisor for more information on that articulation.

Please be aware that the PTA Program at Bossier Parish Community College and the PT Program at Louisiana State University Health are in no way linked or affiliated. There is no “shortcut” toward achieving a degree in Physical Therapy provided by first becoming a PT Assistant. Additionally, please be aware that graduates of the BPCC PTA Program are not given preference in the selection process for the Louisiana State University Health DPT Program. Becoming a PTA while en-route to becoming a PT offers primarily the advantage of providing the student earlier opportunities for work experience and income earning in the field of physical therapy.

* BPCC PTA to LSU-S transfer students will need to schedule an appointment with an advisor in the LSU-S College of Education and Human Development Department of Kinesiology and Health SciencesWill open new browser window or tab for an official degree plan.

“I want to pursue this degree. What do I need to do first?”

  1. Contact a PTA advisor to answer any questions related to the Program and request a transcript review. While you are welcome to call, the most efficient way to correspond and receive responses is by email.
  2. Apply online, or contact the admissions office on the main campus of Bossier Parish Community College (318-678-6004) to request an application for admission to the college. Be sure to mark “PTA” on the application as your field of study so you will be assigned a PTA advisor.
  3. Visit the Cavalier Connection Guide for information about new student orientation, tuition and fees, student services, available courses and sessions, and dates for registration.
  4. Request information on financial aid by visiting the Financial Aid web site, the Financial Aid Office in building F, room 226, or by calling 318-678-6026.

"Can I complete the PTA Program as a part-time student? What is the time commitment involved in pursuing this degree?"

While the pre-PTA (pre-clinical phase) coursework can be completed in a variety of formats (ex: part-time or full-time; day or evening classes), students once accepted and enrolled into the clinical phase of the Program must be prepared to commit to a full-time day program schedule. While there is some variability based on guest speaker availability, field trips, conferences, and clinical site hours, most typically a PTA clinical student would be expected to be available for the following:

First Summer Semester of the Clinical Program

  • class/lab only (no clinical externship hours); classes meet on BPCC campus 3-4 days per week (7-8 hours/day) for a 5 week session.

Fall Semester of the Clinical Program

  • class/lab on BPCC campus for 9-10 weeks of the semester meeting 5 days per week (7-8 hours/day)
  • clinical externship 4 weeks in length during which the student works the full-time schedule of the supervising PT or PTA (40 hours per week); this may include early am hours, evening hours and weekend hours and possible travel outside the Shreveport-Bossier area

Spring Semester of the Clinical Program

  • class/lab on BPCC campus for 9-10 weeks of the semester meeting 5 days per week (7-8 hours/day)
  • clinical externship 4 weeks in length during which the student works the full-time schedule of the supervising PT or PTA (40 hours per week); this may include early am hours, evening hours and weekend hours and possible travel outside the Shreveport-Bossier area

Final Summer Semester of the Clinical Program

  • 9 weeks clinical externship during which the student works the full-time schedule of the supervising PT or PTA (40 hours per week); this may include early am hours, evening hours and weekend hours and possible travel outside the Shreveport-Bossier area