Why Become A Physical Therapist Assistant – Physical therapist assistants work directly with PTs to guide patients through rehabilitation. As a physical therapist I know firsthand the invaluable role PTA plays in a patient’s progress. If you are interested in a career in physical therapy don’t overlook the opportunity to become a PTA, I’ll walk you through all the steps below!
Although the path to becoming a physical therapist assistant isn’t as long as that of a PT, you still have to go through rigorous training to earn your state-regulated certification.
Why Become A Physical Therapist Assistant
I will explore each step in detail in this article, but first, let’s take a closer look at physical therapist assistant careers. So you can decide if this is the right path for you.
How To Become A Physical Therapist Assistant In 5 Steps
PTAs don’t just help physiotherapists. But also for patients and clinics. His main job duties include the following:
Compared to physical therapists, PTAs may take more time to connect with patients. Although they do not assign or design the care plan, PTAs have the authority to modify treatment according to the patient’s needs.
Like PTs, most PTAs work in outpatient clinics. But there are other places where many functions of PTA are required.
In addition to clinics, PTAs work in hospitals such as acute care or subacute care facilities. This helps hospital patients recover and leave the hospital. Nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities may have their own physical therapy clinics. which is open to residents or other patients who have nowhere to go
How To Become A Physical Therapy Assistant
Physical therapist assistants may work in settings other than a medical facility. For example, a home health PTA provides rehabilitative care in each patient’s home. Just like they do in the clinic. Some schools and fitness centers have PTAs on their roofs to help people with mobility disabilities and promote their well-being. As a PTA, you may work in a state or government agency, such as the military, or be called upon to help corporate offices provide a more ergonomic work environment.
In summary, physiotherapy management is a highly relevant skill, and PTAs are not only needed across the country. But it is also required by all industries.
As the population grows and the baby boom slows. Further physiotherapy treatment is required. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of physical therapy assistants will grow 33% over the 10-year period between 2019 and 2029.
The career outlook for PTs and PTAs is positive, but salaries vary widely. On average, PTAs make $28 an hour, or $59,000 a year, which is 30 grand less than the average PT salary. Student debt can add up dramatically, so just because you’re making less money as a PTA doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice.
Become A Physical Therapy Assistant At Mcc, Application Period Now Open
What do employers look for in a PTA besides education and qualifications? About which we will talk later. Employers care about PTA’s soft skills. All the training in the world won’t get you the job if the job doesn’t suit your strengths.
Not only do these features help you determine if a PTA school is a worthwhile investment. It can also show potential employers that you are qualified to succeed in this career.
To practice as a PTA, you must have a valid and current state-issued PTA license. But getting a license requires more than filling out an application form. In fact, becoming a PTA requires training both in and out of the classroom.
PTAs need to be well versed in physiotherapy and feel confident in administering medications such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation. A good PTA is also a good communicator. Able to effectively educate patients on care plans and use of specialized equipment.
Occupational Outlook For Physical Therapist Assistant
So, before you apply for a PTA job or apply for a PTA license, you must go to school!
After graduating high school or completing a GED, you will need to apply to an accredited physical therapist assistant program and complete a 2-year associate degree.
Programs must be accredited by CAPTE, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, to be eligible. CAPTE is a sole agency of the US Department of Education. Entry-level physiotherapy program accepted into accreditation.
The best way to find PTA programs is through CAPTE’s website, which has over 350 accredited programs nationwide. You will find a school that suits your needs.
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Accredited PTA programs typically have an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree.
It doesn’t matter what the real name of your degree is. If it’s an accredited PTA program it’s likely five full-time semesters plus clinical experience. Some PTA programs allow part-time status or online courses. So flexibility is possible. Otherwise, take two years to complete your degree.
To successfully complete your PTA program, you will have 65 to 75 credits, of which ¾ credits are earned through coursework in subjects such as:
In addition to the course your studies will include a minimum of 16 hours of clinical experience, which is hands-on learning under the supervision of a clinical PT or PTA. Clinical training usually takes place during the last 3 semesters. and are held in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, and outpatient treatment facilities.
Shadowing A Pt: What You Need To Know
Once you complete the PTA program and earn an associate degree, you will be eligible to sit for the board exam. National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE)
Both PTs and PTAs must pass the NPTE to become certified or licensed. If you hope to become a PTA, you will choose a version that is 4 parts long and contains 200 questions. NPTE is a timed test and should not exceed 4 hours with at least one timed halfway break.
Unlike other standardized tests, the NPTE has no essay questions—only multiple choice and no penalties for wrong answers. But don’t let that mislead you into thinking that NPTE is just a piece of cake. The test ranges from 200-800 points and you will need at least 600 to pass. You are allowed to clear NPTE three consecutive times. Or make a total of six attempts during your lifetime.
Of course, when you’re ready to sit for the NPTE, make sure you give yourself enough time to study. I took the NPTE myself a few years ago. And feel confident that these NPTE study tips will be as helpful to future PTAs as I am.
How To Become An Acute Care Physical Therapist Assistant
All states require a passing score on the NPTE as a requirement for PT or PTA licensure. However, many states require other items as well. For example, half require prospective licensees to pass a bar exam. When conducting other background checks or authorizing professional liability insurance. Check your state’s requirements. If you need to complete the second step first.
The FSBPT (Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy) has compiled this flowchart for prospective PTAs to define their state licensing requirements. Just enter the name of your school and the state in which you want to get licensed. A flowchart then spells out the rest of the process. FSBPT is the issuing body of the NPTE, so you can be confident that this information is up to date.
Once you have met all the license requirements. You can apply for a PTA permit! Some states issue licenses automatically after notification of passing scores from NPTE. You will need to take other steps. All including payment of application fee in advance
A licensed PTA never stops learning. Not just in a metaphorical sense. Almost all states require a licensed PTA to demonstrate “continuing education” or “continuing competency” as another condition of licensure, unless you take additional PTA courses periodically. or participate in appropriate learning activities. You may not be able to renew your license and continue to practice.
How To Become A School Physical Therapist Assistant
The same applies to licensing requirements that vary from state to state. So are continuing education needs. Expect to clock anywhere from 10-40 hours of continuing education units, known as CEUs, every year or every two years. Depending on your state you may have specific courses and providers to choose from. Or you don’t need to do anything. Your state may shorten your initial renewal period and not require as many CEUs, but it’s worth checking at least a few months before your license expires.
After working with a physical therapist in a clinic or hospital you may decide to become a PT instead of a PTA. You will get more leadership opportunities and freedom in decision making. I personally love being a PT and there are many benefits that not all of us share with PTAs.
About 1 out of every 10 PTAs become PTs, so not so.
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