Request Information
Call us for more information
Email Us
Order Textbooks
Physical Therapist Assistant Program

San Juan College PTA Program Directory Information

Directory Information

The PTA program is a structured 1 + 1 format requiring all applicants to complete all of the prerequisite courses prior to acceptance into the on-campus or distance education (expansion) technical programs. Faculty include five full-time members, one supportive member, three adjunct faculty members and several guest lecturers visiting each year from a variety of related medical fields. The date of matriculation is officially in the fall semester (applications and other requirements are due, before October 1, of every year for either program); however, the technical courses do not begin until the spring semester of each year.

Unique features of the program include utilization of new lecture and lab facilities, in March 2011 access to computerized databases throughout the campus, use of the new state of the art library, and integration of multi-media technology, for multiple units of study. Students spend approximately 20-25 hours in class each week and a variable amount of time in the laboratory setting.

Students in the on-campus program complete the first full-time (a minimum of 40 hours/week) clinical externship (four weeks in an acute setting) before the third academic semester and complete two additional full-time (a minimum of 40 hours/week each) clinical externships (seven weeks each in an outpatient and rehabilitation setting) during the fourth semester of the technical portion.

Students in the distance education (expansion) program complete the first four week full-time (a minimum of 40 hours/week) clinical externship in the fifth semester and the two, seven week full-time (a minimum of 40 hours/week) clinical externships in the sixth semester.

Upon successful graduation from the program, students are qualified to take the national computerized licensing exam. In addition to the current on-campus program, a distance education (expansion) program received accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education and began in the spring semester of 2006. Students applying to the distance education (expansion) program receive all lecture material in an online format, with lab reviews and examinations held for approximately one-two weeks per lab class, on-campus.

Access to the internet (DSL preferred) is a requirement for all students wishing to enroll in the distance education (expansion) program. Program requirements are the same for the distance education (expansion) students, with the exception of the time required to complete the program. Students enrolled in the distance education (expansion) program will have two years (six semesters) to complete the technical program for successful graduation.

For specific information on the on-campus or distance education (expansion) programs, please access the following website: Both the on-campus program and the distance education (expansion) programs are listed for review. Please email for more information or call (505) 566-3562 or (505) 566-3013.

Clinical Experience

For the on-campus program, students complete the first full-time (a minimum of 40 hours/week) clinical externship (four weeks in an acute setting), prior to the last academic semester for a total of 160 hours. On-campus students also complete two additional full-time (a minimum of 40 hours/week each) clinical externships (seven weeks each in an outpatient and rehabilitation setting) during the last spring semester for a total of 560 hours (total clinical hours=720).

Students enrolled in the distance education (expansion) program may complete the full-time clinical externships near their area of residence.  The first full-time (a minimum of 40 hours/week) clinical externship, in an acute setting and will complete two additional full-time (a minimum of 40 hours/week each) clinical externships (seven weeks each in an outpatient and rehabilitation setting) during the final or sixth semester.  Students enrolled in the distance education (expansion) program must complete their final two full-time clinical externships in one semester. San Juan College has approximately 125 clinical sites, with current contracts, across the US.


Total enrollment at the college is approximately 9,000 students. The on-campus physical therapist assistant program admits 20 students per year. The distance education (expansion) program admits 20 additional students.


Applicants for the on-campus program or the distance education (expansion) program must meet the same requirements for admission. Applicants are evaluated on several criteria including college grade point average (minimum of 2.75), taken the Test of Essential Academic Skills for Allied Health (TEAS V for AH), completed appropriate courses according to SJC’s policy as described in the college catalog, and registered as a SJC student. Other items considered include clinical observation hours (minimum 5, that are not site specific), PTA Program application (in addition to the San Juan College application) completion of the Admissions Exam, three professional letters of recommendation and official copies of all college transcripts to the admissions office at San Juan College and faxed unofficial copies of transcripts to the PTA Program office (505-566-3767).

Prospective PTA students are required to take a Human Body Structure and Function course (4 credits), in addition to a PTAP 116-Musculoskeletal Focus for PTA’s (3 credits), that are non-transferable. Evidence of a higher-level math class, freshman composition and other general education hours (total 25 credits) must be on record at the end of the fall semester for which the student has applied to either program. Please refer to the San Juan College PTA Program website for more information. All applications and other information (5 clinical observation hours, references, Admission Exam, etc.) must be submitted before October 1, prior to the spring semester of the beginning of the technical program for applicants to the on-campus and distance education (expansion) programs.

Students have until the end of the fall semester to complete all required prerequisite courses, before the final decision is made for acceptance into the technical portion of either program, in January of each year.

The program extends a preference to New Mexico residents who have acceptable qualifications (applicants from New Mexico will be awarded an additional 5% in the application point criteria). For complete application criteria, visit the PTA Program website at:

Tuition, Fees, Books and Aid

Specific information on tuiton, fees, books and financial aid can be found at

With tuition and fees for both programs, San Juan College's PTA Program is one of the most economical programs in the country. Financial assistance is available through the college on a per-need and on a merit basis.  For further information, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 505/566-3323. A $500 endowment scholarship, specific to the PTA program, is granted each fall semester to one PTA student.

Student Life

San Juan College is located in Farmington, New Mexico, in the northwestern portion of the state and in the middle of the Four Corners area. It is situated in the High Mesa Desert and is 50 miles south of the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Farmington offers a strong community of physical therapists of all specialties who are active in the college and in professional development. Located amidst the Anasazi Indian Ruins, Farmington offers a variety of activities (i. e., exploring, hiking, river running, skiing, mountain biking, mountain climbing, golfing and world-class fishing) The friendly climate and people make Farmington a choice place to live, work and go to school.


See for program outcomes over the past three years.


For more information, please call Sandra Sorrelhorse at 505-566-3562. Or send an email to