Physical Therapy Assistant Requirements

For those interested in a career in this rewarding field, the following are physical therapy assistant requirements you will need to meet before, during, and after your training.

Personal Qualities

  • Well organized
  • Detail oriented
  • Caring
  • Able and willing to take direction
  • Work well in a team situation
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Desire to help people

Educational Requirements
All potential physical therapy assistants (PTA) must have completed a high school education or equivalent. Beyond high school, all states require that physical therapy assistants complete an education training program

Certification, Licensure, and Registration Requirements
Requirements for physical therapy assistants vary from state-to-state regarding certification, licensure, and registration. Currently 45 states require PTAs to obtain either a certificate, license, or register. States that require licensure have specific stipulations regarding educational and examinations criteria. CPR and First Aid certification as well as a minimum number of fieldwork hours may also be required.

States that issue a physical therapy assistant license require that it be renewed on a regular basis. Typically licenses are issued for two years and can be renewed with your state board of licensing and regulations. There may also be additional requirements to renew your license such as continuing education classes, updated CPR certification and exam.

Continuing Education Requirements
Continuing education requirements for physical therapy assistants vary from state-to-state. Some states require as many as 20 continuing education hours every two years, while some states require none. Most employers prefer all PTAs to keep their CPR and First-Aid training up to date. Physical therapy assistants should also note that continuing education requirements are in a constant state of change. As legislature works harder to ensure that all patients are properly and safely cared for, they increase the accountability and standards to which medical professionals are held.

Advancement Options
Advancing as a physical therapy assistant is difficult, but not unattainable. Work experience is the best way to start to advance. Focusing on specific clinical areas after graduation should be the primary advancement focus of a new PTA. Additionally, PTAs can further their opportunities for advancement by becoming educated in the following physical therapy specialties which will gain recognition by the American Physical Therapy Association: o Cardiopulmonary o Geriatrics o Integumentary o Musculoskeletal o Neuromuscular o Pediatrics PTAs can also advance in non-clinical areas such as administrative and educational positions. If you are a PTA interested in becoming a physical therapist, look in to the limited PTA to PT education programs, as usually physical therapy assistants need quite a bit of additional education and training to become a physical therapist.

Physical Therapy Assistant Schools

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            Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab Program
            • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
            • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
            • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
            • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
            • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
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            Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
            Keiser University Campus , West Palm Beach
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            AS Physical Therapist Assistant
            South College , Knoxville
            • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for their Physician Assistant program in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Campus is 56,000 square feet of modern lecture classrooms, specialty laboratories with state-of-the art equipment, writing and math lab, student center, and more.
            • Programmatic accreditation from several organizations, including the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
            • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            AAS Physical Therapist Assistant
            • Flexible scheduling options are available; day, afternoon, and evening classes are available Monday through Saturday and terms begin in October, January, April, and June.
            • Offers bachelor’s, associate’s, and certificate programs in legal studies, business administration, healthcare, nursing, accounting, and more.
            • Assists students with various academic and career advising services.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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            • Accredited
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            • Transferable Credits
            Physical Therapy Technician Certificate
            • Students participate in an externship program with partnered organizations, where they can get real-world experience.
            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media, and offers a 20% military discount for students who qualify.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
            • 6 campuses located in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, Texas, with online programs available in Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits