Physical Therapy Assistant Programs

Physical Therapy Assistant Programs generally consist of an Associate’s Degree, but with a heavy emphasis on the sciences. Becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant may be perfect for you, especially if you like to work with your hands, be around people, but are not excited about the idea of enrolling in grad school.

Working as a Physical Therapy Assistant, you will be under the direction of a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) to help patients that have an impaired ability for movement. The patients can range from wounded athletes to those recovering from surgery, or even those with disabilities.

There are many excellent physical therapy assistant programs in the US, in fact, there are programs available in 47 States. Before deciding to sign up for any physical therapy assistant programs, it is important to note that the training to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) is very different than the training to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). For this reason, you may wish to research thoroughly before entering a physical therapy assistant program so that you don’t waste your time in the wrong program. In other words, becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant is not a stepping stone to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

It’s important to make sure that the Physical Therapy Assistant Programs that you are considering are all accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). CAPTE is the only organization that the US Department of Education recognizes for accrediting physical therapy assistant programs and schools. There are over 200 CAPTE accredited schools in the US.

All physical therapy assistants must obtain a degree from one of these accredited physical therapy assistant programs or schools in order to become eligible to take the national licensing exam. Most States require passing the exam before becoming a practicing Physical Therapy Assistant. The position below a Physical Therapy Assistant is a Physical Therapist Aide. Requirements to become a Physical Therapist Aide are much easier and usually only involve on-the-job training.

Physical therapy assistant programs prepare students for the job of assisting a Doctor of Physical Therapy. The perfect candidate for a Physical Therapy Assistant Program should be good at following directions, have good physical strength and health, like working with people, have a good disposition, and be able to be polite–even when patients are not.

Preparing For Physical Therapy Assistant Programs

Before applying to one of the physical therapy assistant programs, a strong focus on math and the sciences in high school is recommended. Maintaining very high GPA’s in these courses is very important, since there are usually more applicants to the PTA programs than there are openings. Maintaining high grades, and logging volunteer hours in a Physical Therapy work environment are two of the ways that you can improve your odds of being accepted into one of the Physical Therapy Assistant Programs that you might apply to.

While most physical therapy assistant programs are typically several years shorter than that of a DPT, (two-three years instead of seven), the salary levels are also considerably lower.

Income Data for Graduates of Physical Therapy Assistant Programs

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for graduates of physical therapy assistant programs in 2011 was $51,110. The bottom 10% of earners brought home around $32,000 while the upper 10% earned in excess of $71,000 per year.

Median annual wages for graduates of physical therapy assistant programs varies based on industry. Listed below are the median salaries for physical therapy assistants as of May 2011:

  • Home health care services $60,090
  • Nursing care facilities $55,720
  • General medical and surgical hospitals $48,800
  • Offices of other health practitioners $49,430
  • Offices of physicians $46,840

The section below lists all of the Physical Therapy Assistant Programs by State. Click any link below to find a School in your State.

Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Alabama
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Arizona
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Arkansas
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In California
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Colorado
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs in Connecticut
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs in Delaware
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Florida
Physical Therapy Assistant Schools in Florida
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Georgia
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Hawaii
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Idaho
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Illinois
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Indiana
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Iowa
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Kansas
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Kentucky
Physical Therapy Assistant Programs In Louisiana
Physical Therapy Assistant Schools in Texas

After graduating from one of these physical therapy assistant programs, you can expect to earn a respectable Physical Therapy Assistant Salary as soon as you  pass the national licensure examination and become employed as a PTA.

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