How Do I Become a Physical Therapy Assistant?

3 minute read

A physical therapy assistant (PTA) is an in-demand career in the healthcare industry. In this position, you will work closely with a physical therapist to help patients regain mobility and relieve pain. Since you will utilize scientifically-based mobility techniques for your patients, you must meet specific education requirements to gain employment. Here’s more information on how to become a physical therapy assistant.

Requirements to Work as a PTA

In Pennsylvania, you must complete a set of requirements to work as a PTA. Those include:

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Associate’s degree
  • Pass an examination
  • State Licensure
  • Biennial license renewal
  • Continuing education units
  • No work experience is required
  • Payment of appropriate fees

As a healthcare professional, it is your job to show your future patients and employers that you are competent to provide excellent care. You can do this by completing the required coursework requirements. So, let’s learn more about what degree you need to become a PTA.

Complete a CAPTE Program

To become a PTA, you must complete an accredited physical therapy assistant program. This two-year program will result in an associate’s degree in applied science (AAS) or science (AS). To sum up, both of these degrees will allow you to obtain employment. Nevertheless, the significant difference is that a science (AS) degree is typically a transfer degree. You will take courses that prepare you to continue your education in an undergraduate program. This is perfect for those who want to advance their careers and become licensed physical therapists. 

It’s vital that you find a program through the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) program. You can find a list of approved schools by visiting their website. Also, it is important to note that without accreditation, your courses will not be approved for licensure. So, let’s dive into the state licensing process.

Obtain and Maintain PTA Licensure

After graduating with your associate’s degree, it’s time to take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination for PTAs. It is best not to wait to take this test. As a result, you will have a higher chance of passing the test if you take it directly after completing your associate’s degree.

Upon passing the examination, you must apply for state licensure. This is a seamless online process that can be done quickly by visiting the Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS). There will be an initial fee of $30 that you must pay before obtaining your license. It’s imperative to note that you must promptly send proof of meeting the education requirements. Otherwise, the board of nursing will not have the proper documentation to fulfill your licensure application.

Additionally, you will need to renew your license every two years. Upon renewal, you must complete continuing education units (CEUs) specific to your field of work. The requirement for physical therapy is 30 hours of CEUs. Visit the PA Board of Nursing webpage to find accredited physical therapy assistant programs that offer CEUs in your area. There will also be a renewal fee that you must pay before obtaining a new license.

Become a PTA Today!

A PTA is an occupation that fast tracks you to a lucrative salary in just two years. You can start making close to $20 an hour after completing a physical therapy assistant program. Also, this position is in such a high demand that you will never have to worry about employment opportunities or whether you will get laid off. So, why not start today?

CynaMed is a leading healthcare staffing company that wants to see you live your dreams. We connect medical professionals with reputable healthcare facilities. In fact, the facilities we work with offer the best wages, a friendly environment, and career development opportunities. So, visit our website for healthcare resources and start a rewarding career journey today!

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