The county's two public colleges are teaming up to create a pathway for physical therapy assistants to continue their education.

Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts signed an articulation agreement on Thursday that opens the opportunity for a four-year degree in health sciences with a concentration in pre-physical therapy to BCC graduates.

iBerkshires.com reports the health sciences and community health education were added to the degrees offered by MCLA last year. The concentration in pre-physical therapy will now allow BCC students who have earned their associate's degree as a physical therapy assistant to matriculate into the MCLA program to complete the final two program years and earn a bachelor's degree.

Physical therapists require a clinical doctorate to practice, which usually means four years of undergraduate and three years of graduate study. College officials say the BCC-MCLA program helps ease the cost burden because students will be licensed to work as assistants while they continue their studies.

MCLA also has an articulation agreement that gives applicants from its pre-physical therapy program preferred admission the Sage Colleges' doctoral program.