With the field enjoying a projected 35% growth in employment in the current decade, more and more individuals are looking into becoming a physical therapy assistant. Of course, it’s one thing to want to do something, and it’s another thing to know how to actually go about it, and what will be involved with that journey. Here, find a quick guide to help get you started as you learn all about how you can become a physical therapy assistant.
Physical therapy assistants are licensed professionals, which means that there is a fairly strict but straightforward path to becoming a PTA and entering the field for your new career. It all starts by choosing the right educational program, and there’s no shortage of options. In fact, as of the latest figures, there are 276 accredited PTA programs in the United States, and that number is on the rise as well. There are schools in just about every state and location, so almost any individual should be able to get started with a high quality program.
The key is the accreditation, and that’s provided by CAPTE, or the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. They provide accreditation for educational programs not only for PTAs, but also for full physical therapists. Individuals who want to be able to take the national licensing exam will need to have completed a CAPTE accredited PTA program, so this is essential.
PTA educational programs typically last about two years in length, spanning about five total semesters. The outcome is an associate’s degree as a physical therapy assistant, and you will have learned and obtained all of the knowledge and skills that you need to enter the workforce.
The next step will be to take the national physical therapy exam. Passing this exam will allow you to obtain your license in almost every state or location, although some states may require an additional test or another step to complete the process. You’ll want to double check any regulations or standards that your state may have, while staying in touch with the latest developments industry wide which could have an impact on new standards or licensing requirements.
It’s also important to note that certain states may require continuing education credits in order to maintain your license. These can be obtained by taking short courses or even in some instances attending workshops, conferences or other sponsored events. Once again, look into the specific requirements that your state has so that you know exactly what to expect and you never fall behind.
Once the exam has been passed, you’re free to become a physical therapy assistant! With that amazing 35% projected growth rate for the industry, it shouldn’t be long at all before you find a job in the field, and one which suits you and your interests perfectly. You’ll also enjoy a high salary, as well an intrinsically rewarding work environment as you directly help patients and clients each and every day that you’re on the job.