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How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Massachusetts – MA

Steps to Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Massachusetts

These are the steps that a student in Massachusetts can expect to take in their venture to be a physical therapist assistant.


Step #1: Massachusetts Licensing Regulations
Massachusetts is a state that requires licensure of all physical therapist assistants prior to being able to work in a practice under the supervision of a physical therapist. Having a license in the state of Massachusetts helps ensure that only the most qualified of all professionals in this field are active and working in the state.

In the state of Massachusetts, a proficiency examination is required in combination with a completed application before a physical therapist assistant license can be issued. The fee for the application and the examination together is $512. However, the state does also offer does offer a discounted rate, at $455, if the student has already taken the proficiency examination and is only filling out the application for licensure. In rare cases, a physical therapist assistant candidate can be licensed in the state by endorsement; in which case the fee for that is only $167.

The licensing requirements in Massachusetts are very important for all potential students in this field to understand. It must be known that there are state licensure requirements and that they work in combination with training program accreditation.

Step #2: National Accreditation
Now that you know that you will not be able to get a physical therapist assistant license in Massachusetts without first having attending an accredited school, the next thing to learn is which accrediting agency that the state will recognize and approve.

The only organization that provides accreditation over the physical therapy assistant profession is the CAPTE, also recognized as the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. The CAPTE organization works along side of the APTA, or American Physical Therapy Association, and is also recognized by the United States Department of Education, as well as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation for governing accreditation of physical therapy assistant educational programs.

Remember that this accreditation is one of the requirements of the state of Massachusetts before a student can obtain a license as a physical therapy assistant. So, it is dually important that the school and educational program that you choose is approved by CAPTE.

Step #3: Taking the Certification Examination
Now that you have learned that you need to be licensed in Massachusetts and must attend an accredited school, you need to understand the last component of getting your physical therapy assistant license: passing the certification examination.


The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, or FSBPT, proctor and examination known as the NPTE test, or National Physical Therapist Examination. This test is designed to test the knowledge and skills of the entry-level physical therapy assistant. The most heavily graded portion of the test is the clinical applications of physical therapy principles and foundational sciences. This area of testing generally includes the musculoskeletal system, as well as the cardiac, pulmonary and vascular systems.

It is extremely important that a student is familiar with and capable of being tested on these areas of application before taking the NPTE test. The fee for this test is $370.


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