Physical Therapist Assistant Applicants - Southwestern Illinois College

Application Requirements

Materials Needed to Apply

Students must apply and be formally accepted into the Physical Therapist Assistant program before beginning program courses.

Applicants must submit the following to the Enrollment Services Office:

1. Physical Therapist Assistant application:
  • Applications are available between Sept. 1st to May 20th each year for fall start.
  • Supporting documentation (transcripts, test scores, etc.) must be on file by identified deadlines.
  • College course grades supersede high school grades when both appear on official transcripts.
  • The most recent grades in courses meeting these requirements will be used.

The passing score for all PTA classes is 75%.  For this reason, students who strive for As and Bs in general education classes have more success in the program than C students.  As and Bs in your general education classes will improve your chances of acceptance to the program.  Also, because of the 75% passing score, the minimum cumulative GPA required to enter the program is 2.5.  If you are returning to school or have extenuating circumstances that contributed to a lower GPA, you may request an individual transcript review.

Human Anatomy and Physiology knowledge is the basis of all classes in the PTA program.  Students should strongly consider taking BIOL 157 AND 158 in preparation for the program.  This is not required for graduation, but will give you more in-depth knowledge in preparation for the program. 

Students who have taken BIOL 157 AND 158 and scored a B or better before the application deadline will receive 3 additional points to their application.  Students who take the one semester course required for graduation, BIOL 105, before the application deadline and scored a B or better, will receive 2 additional points on their application.

If you take the 2- semester course of BIOL 157 and BIOL 158, this satisfies the HUMAN BIOL 105 requirement for graduation.  You do not need to take BIOL 105 in addition to BIOL 157 and BIOL 158.

2. Official transcripts:
  • Official high school transcripts or proof of GED.
  • Official transcripts from all colleges, universities or accredited schools of Physical Therapist Assistant attended.
  • SWIC transfer credit evaluation form, a requirement for the transfer of credits from another institution.
3. Test Scores:
  • Contact Academic Advising ( to determine placement testing needs. The SWIC placement test identifies skill levels in math, reading and writing. Students must score high enough to be eligible to enroll in ENG 101 and above MATH 97. If placement test results are too low, students must complete required developmental courses prior to enrolling in ENG 101, BIOL 105 or MATH 94.

Prepare to Apply

Fill out the Planning Guide

Entrance into the PTA program is highly competitive. The PTA Planning Guide explains application requirements and offers suggestions on how to maximize points in each section and increase chances of being accepted to the program.

Meet with an Academic Advisor

Call or visit the Enrollment Services office for more information on entrance requirements for the PTA program.

Applicant Selection

Application Point System

Applications for the PTA program will be rated on a point system. See PTA Planning Guide for details.

Notification of Acceptance:

Students will be notified by mid-June on their status via their student email.  Students who are alternates may stay on the alternate list until the start of the program. 

More Candidates than Seats Available:

In the event that there are more qualified applicants than spaces available in this program, applicants residing outside the SWIC district or in a district that does not have a joint agreement with SWIC for this program will not be eligible for consideration or admission if there are more applicants than positions to be filled. Search the college catalog for Interdistrict Cooperative Agreements. Resident status is determined by address on file with the Enrollment Services office. Change to proof of residency needs to be on file by application deadline.

The admission procedures for the PTA program are in accordance with Illinois law. The law requires that programs with insufficient space and resources to accommodate all applicants will accept the best qualified applicants using rank, ability and achievement scores as guides, with preference given to students residing in the district. Out-of-district students will be considered as in-district status for this application process if their community college has an Inter-district Cooperative/Career agreement with SWIC. Search the college catalog for Interdistrict Cooperative/Career Agreements to see if your college is listed. To qualify for the application process, the student must submit paperwork from their home district to SWIC Enrollment Services by the application deadline. Contact the secretary of the Board of Trustees at your home district school to get the required paperwork.

Fewer Candidates than Seats Available:

In the event that there are fewer qualified candidates than there are spaces available, applications will continue to be accepted until the program’s maximum capacity has been reached or through the first week of classes during the fall semester.

The college reserves the right to fill the program in those years when there are fewer applicants than spaces available by whatever means it deems necessary to assure both academic integrity and fairness in the selection process.

Other Requirements

The following criteria are required of accepted applicants and all information will be explained in detail at program orientation meetings:

Orientation & Performance:

Applicants accepted to this program must attend all required orientation sessions and be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. Applicants or enrolled students are encouraged to contact the Disability & Access Center to discuss potential issues associated with meeting these requirements. See the PTA Handbook, found under General Information tab of web site for Procedures for Requesting and Receiving Accommodations via Disability and Access Center and the Policy and Procedure for PTA Program Reasonable Accommodations.

Health Insurance:

Health insurance is required during clinical education courses. Students are responsible for any costs incurred for illness or injuries occurring during their clinical experience.

Medical Requirements:

These requirements do not have to be fulfilled until they are explained at the orientation meeting. PTA students will be required to show proof of medical examination, health insurance and all applicable test, immunizations, and vaccinations before beginning any clinical experience. To request a medical and/or religious exemption, please contact the program coordinator.

Background Checks and Drug Testing:

Background check and drug testing are required.

  • To participate in the clinical portion of the program, required clinical sites will be surveyed to determine if clinical placement can be accomplished for students with “disqualifying” offense(s). If the survey results indicate clinical sites prohibit the conviction, the student will be removed from the program. A complete list of disqualifying convictions is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health at
  • Drug testing will identify illegal and prescription drugs. If results are positive, the student must provide proof of prescription in his or her own name in order to pass the drug test. Medical marijuana, which is not FDA approved, is also considered a positive drug testing result.
Graduation Requirements:

Applicants admitted to the program must follow the requirements for graduation at the time they are admitted and must meet all specified course, program, degree and sequencing requirements. Students are responsible for program policies as listed in the PTA student handbook. Students who fail to meet program specific requirements will be dropped from the program and may be required to reapply and compete for admission in the succeeding application period.