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How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Pennsylvania – PA

Step #1: PTA Licensing in Pennsylvania

All physical therapy students in Pennsylvania will have to contact the State Board of Physical Therapy through the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs when they are seeking a physical therapist assistant license. The function of this Board is to regulate the profession with the enforcement of rules and regulations effective through state law.


The State Board of Physical Therapy is responsible for licensing, renewing and determining appropriate eligibility factors of students in this particular field. Through the creation and regulation of such regulations, the Board is effectively able to protect the public and license all PTAs that are worthy of the state license.

Here are the steps that you will need to take in the State of Pennsylvania in order to receive your state license as a physical therapist assistant:

  1. All applicants must be at least 20 years of age or more.
  2. Graduate from a Pennsylvania physical therapy assistant training program approved by the CAPTE of the APTA.
  3. Have a passing score on the NPTAE.

A combined fee of $55 will be needed to initially apply for a license in this state; of which $30 is deemed for usage of the application fee and the remaining $25 is used to confirm certification after passing the NPTAE examination. Upon expiration, the cost of renewal will be $45 for each even numbered year.

Step #2: Age Requirement

While some states do hold age requirements on obtaining a physical therapist assistant license, most states generally only require an applicant to be 18 years old. However, in Pennsylvania, all applicants must be 20 years old.

This may sound like a strange requirement, but some states like to make sure that a student is mentally matured and dedicated enough to handle a practice like physical therapy. Theoretically, every student should meet this requirement due to the time that it takes to complete schooling.


Step #3: CAPTE Affiliation

There is absolutely no way around this step in the application process. Pennsylvania is completely resolute about future physical therapist assistants attending a school that is approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education, or CAPTE; as it is more commonly called. CAPTE is the accrediting division of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

As a PTA, you will learn to become familiar with the APTA because it will become your lifeline to all information new and changing in the world of physical therapy. They are a great resource for new federal laws, new affiliations, and new recommendations or standards in regards to the practice of physical therapy.

The CAPTE is probably one of the best known and most highly respected organizations of accreditation. While this is certainly a requirement for the application process, potential employers will be looking very heavily at the affiliation of the school you choose.

Step #3: Certification of the FSBPT

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, FSBPT, provides certification to all students that are able to pass the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination, NPTAE. Pennsylvania will not allow a student who has not done well on this test to be licensed in the state. So, it is of the utmost importance that you take this test as a most serious step in the licensing process.

This test is extremely thorough of the major cavities and aspects of the body. It will be used to test your knowledge about what you learned in school and it will ask you to apply that knowledge to different given situations. You will also need to have knowledge of the different medications used for treatment in this field.


When you complete pass this, you will be issued certification from the FSBPT. The certificate does not mean that you are automatically licensed in Pennsylvania; however, it does imply that you have met one of the requirements of the application process.

Step #6: Estimated Income of a Physical Therapist Assistant in Pennsylvania

A physical therapist assistant in Pennsylvania earns and estimated $60,000 yearly.


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