Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of physical therapists to help patients recover from injuries or manage chronic conditions. They assist in carrying out treatment plans, including therapeutic exercises, applying modalities such as heat or cold packs, and teaching patients how to use assistive devices.
To become a PTA, one must complete an accredited program that typically lasts two years. These programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and sometimes by universities. Admission requirements vary, but they usually include a high school diploma or equivalent, completion of prerequisite coursework, and sometimes an interview or observation hours in physical therapy settings.
During their PTA programs, students acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience to perform the duties of a physical therapist assistant effectively. The curriculum often includes coursework in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, therapeutic techniques, and clinical education. Students participate in clinical rotations, where they gain practical experience under the guidance of licensed physical therapists.
Upon completing their PTA programs, students must pass the National Physical Therapy Exam for Physical Therapist Assistants (NPTE-PTA) to attain licensure. This exam is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and is required to practice as a PTA in the United States.
While a college degree is not mandatory, obtaining an associate degree is a common pathway to become a PTA. An associate degree demonstrates a higher level of education, which may be beneficial for career advancement, future educational pursuits, or acquiring specialized certifications in certain areas of practice.
Furthermore, having a college degree might provide a competitive edge when seeking employment. Employers may value the additional education and skills gained through completing a degree program. Some states also require PTAs to have an associate degree or higher to obtain licensure.
In summary, while a college degree is not strictly required to become a physical therapist assistant, completing an accredited PTA program and obtaining an associate degree is necessary. These educational requirements ensure that PTAs receive the necessary training and knowledge to assist physical therapists effectively. However, it is crucial to research and understand the specific requirements of the state in which one intends to practice, as licensure regulations may vary.
Questions About Getting a Degree To be a Physical Therapy Assistant?
If you have any other questions about getting a degree to be a Physical Therapist Assistant, then ask us in the comments below.
Related Physical Therapy Assisting Questions
- Do You Need a Bachelor’s Degree to be a Physical Therapist Assistant?
- Do You Need a College Degree to be a Physical Therapist Assistant?
- Where Can I Get A Physical Therapy Assistant Degree?
- How Long Does It Take to Become a Physical Therapy Assistant?
- What Major Is Physical Therapy Assistant Under?
- What Degree Is Needed For Physical Therapy Assistant?
- Do You Need a Degree to be a Physical Therapy Assistant?
- What Can I Do With an Associates Degree In Physical Therapy Assistant?
- What Else Can You Do With A Physical Therapy Assistant Degree?
- PTA to PT Bridge Programs: Become a Physical Therapist (DPT)