Education Needed To Become A Physical Therapist Assistant

Education Needed To Become A Physical Therapist Assistant – Physical therapist assistants work directly with physical therapists to guide patients through rehabilitation. As a therapist, I know firsthand the important role that PTA plays in a patient’s development. If you are interested in physical therapy, don’t miss the opportunity to become a PTA. I will give you all the steps below!

Although the path to becoming a physical therapist assistant is not as long as that of a physical therapist, you still need to have strong training to obtain state certification.

Education Needed To Become A Physical Therapist Assistant

I will explore each step in detail later in this article. But first, let’s take a look at a career as a therapist assistant so you can decide if this is the right career for you.

How Long Do You Have To Go To School To Be A Physical Therapist Assistant?

PTAs not only help physical therapists, but also patients and hospitals. Their main responsibilities are as follows:

PTAs may spend more time with patients than physical therapists. Although PTAs do not prescribe or prescribe care plans, they have the ability to change treatment plans to reflect patient needs.

Like PTs, most PTAs work in outpatient clinics, but there are many other settings in which PTAs perform services.

In addition to hospitals, PTAs work in hospitals, such as urgent care or rehabilitation facilities, where they help hospitalized patients recover and be discharged. A nursing home or skilled nursing facility may have its own treatment clinic that is open to residents or other patients who do not have a place to go.

Associate In Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapist assistants may work in other settings outside of healthcare settings. For example, a home health PTA provides rehabilitation care in each patient’s home, just as they would in a hospital. Some schools and fitness centers have parent-teacher associations (PTAs) to help people with mobility disabilities promote health. As a PTA, you may even work for an agency or agency, such as the military, or be tasked with helping corporate offices achieve ergonomic working conditions.

In general, physical therapy is a very useful skill, and PTAs are sought after not only across the country, but also in industry.

As the population ages and the baby boomer generation declines, the need for physical therapy will only grow. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of physical therapist assistants will increase by 33% between 2019 and 2029.

The job prospects for PTs and PTAs are high, but their salaries vary greatly. On average, PTAs make over $28 an hour, or $59,000 per year, a full 30 times less than the average PT salary. PT salary increases come with their own tuition fees and, in most cases, the potential burden of student debt. So just because the PTA makes less money doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice.

Physical Therapist Assistants

What are employers looking for in a PTA? Well, in addition to education and qualifications, which we will discuss later, employers are also interested in PTA’s soft skills. If the job doesn’t suit your strengths, all the training in the world won’t make you love it.

Not only will these qualities help you determine if a school PTA is worth the investment, they will also show potential employers that you have what it takes to thrive in this career.

In order to work as a PTA, you need to hold a valid, current PTA license from the state. But getting this license requires more than just filling out an application. In fact, becoming a PTA requires years of training in and out of the classroom.

PTAs require extensive knowledge of physical therapy and confidence in treatment methods such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation. A good PTA is also a good communicator and can effectively educate patients on the care process and use of specialized equipment.

How Long Does It Take To Be A Physical Therapist Assistant?

So before you apply for a PTA job or PTA license, you need to go to school!

After graduating from high school or completing the GED exam, you will need to apply to an accredited physical medicine assistant program and complete a 2-year associate’s degree.

In order to qualify for the program, it must be CAPTE (Commission for Accreditation of Physical Education) accredited. CAPTE is the only agency accredited by the US Department of Education for early childhood treatment programs.

The best way to find PTA jobs is through the CAPTE website. With more than 350 accredited programs across the country, you’re sure to find a school that fits your needs.

What Is An Occupational Therapy Assistant?

Typically, accredited PTA programs culminate in an Associate of Science or Associate of Science degree.

Regardless of the actual title of your degree, if it is an accredited PTA program, it may include 5 full-time semesters of coursework and clinical experience. Some PTA programs allow part-time status or online courses, so flexibility is possible. Otherwise, allow two years to complete your studies.

To complete the PTA program, you can earn 65 to 75 credits, 3/4 of which are earned through teaching courses, such as these courses:

In addition to coursework, your education includes at least 16 hours of hands-on clinical experience in a clinical setting under the supervision of a PT or PTA. Clinical internships typically occur during the final three semesters and take place in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities.

Medical Assistants Vs. Physical Therapist Assistants (ma Vs. Pta)

After completing the PTA program and earning an associate’s degree, you will be eligible to take the board exam, the National Physical Examination, or NPTE.

All PTs and PTAs must pass the NPTE to become certified or licensed. If you want to become a PTA, you will take 4-4 questions type, 200. NPTE is a timed test that should not exceed 4 hours, with at least one break in between.

Unlike other standardized tests, the NPTE has no multiple-choice questions, and no penalties for wrong answers. But don’t let this mislead you into thinking that NPTE is a piece of cake. The exam is scored on a scale of 200-800, and you need at least 600 to pass. You can pass the NPTE in three consecutive attempts, or a total of six attempts in your lifetime.

Obviously, when you are planning to take the NPTE, make sure you give enough time to study. I took the NPTE myself a few years ago and I believe these NPTE study tips will be as helpful to future PTAs as they were to me.

Accelerated Physical Therapist Assistant

All states require passing NPTE scores as a condition to obtain a PT or PTA license. However, many states require other things as well. For example, half require license applicants to pass a law exam, while others conduct background checks or require professional liability insurance. So before registering for the exam, check your state’s requirements if you need to complete different steps first.

The FSBPT (Federal State Board of Physical Education) has put together this process for prospective PTAs to determine their state’s licensure requirements. Just enter the name of your school and the state you want to get licensed in, and the process will detail the rest of the process. The FSBPT is the agency that issues the NPTE, so you can be sure that this information will be up to date.

Once you have completed all licensing requirements, you can apply for your PTA license! Some states automatically issue a license after receiving a notice of progress from the NPTE. However, to process the license, you need to complete all the other steps, including paying any application fees.

A licensed PTA never stops learning, and not just figuratively. Almost all states require licensed PTAs to demonstrate “continuing education” or “continuing experience” as a condition of licensure. In other words, you can’t renew your license and keep your job unless you regularly take additional PTA classes or participate in qualifying learning activities.

Physical Therapist Assistant

Just as licensing requirements vary from state to state, so do continuing education requirements. Expect to take 10 to 40 hours of continuing education units (called CEUs) every year or every two years. Depending on your state, you may be able to choose from a few courses and providers, or you may not be required to complete anything. Your state may limit your time during your first renewal and not require a certain number of CEUs, but it’s a good idea to confirm this ahead of time, at least a few months before your license expires.

After working with a therapist at a hospital or clinic, you may decide to become a PT instead of a PTA. In addition to a higher salary, you will have greater leadership and decision-making opportunities. Personally, I love being a PT and there are many benefits that we cannot fully share with PTAs.

About 1 in 10 PTAs become PTs, so it’s not that bad

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