✔️ Page updated: August 20th, 2023
This page has all of the information laid out in steps, including application forms, and fees to become a physical therapist assistant in Pennsylvania and get licensed.
All PTA licensing in Pennsylvania is regulated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy.
Below are the requirements to become a licensed PTA in Pennsylvania.
PTA License Requirement
Required in Pennsylvania?
|Complete Accredited PTA Program||Yes|
|Send Official Transcripts Directly from School to State PT Board||Yes|
|Complete PTA License Application||Yes|
|Mail passport style photo to State PT Board||No|
|Pay non-refundable application fee||Yes, $30|
|Pass Jurisprudence Exam||No|
|Pay jurisprudence exam fee||No|
|Pass the National Physical Therapy Assistant Exam (NPTAE)||Yes, $370|
Pennsylvania PTA License Application
For detailed information and instructions to become a PTA in Pennsylvania, see the board’s online Application form. To apply online, click the icon to the right.
Pennsylvania PTA Board Contact Info
P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
More PTA Info for Pennsylvania:
Learn how to become a physical therapist assistant in 7 steps completing all education and licensing requirements.
Steps to Becoming a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant in Pennsylvania
To become a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) in Pennsylvania, there are several steps and requirements that need to be fulfilled. The Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy sets the qualifications and guidelines for obtaining a PTA license.
The first step is to graduate from a Physical Therapist Assistant program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). It is important to choose a program that meets the educational requirements set by the state board.
Once the program has been successfully completed, the next step is to submit an application for licensure to the Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy. The application process requires the completion of certain forms and payment of the application fee.
After the application has been processed and approved, the next step is to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs. This examination tests the knowledge and skills necessary to be a competent PTA. Successful completion of the NPTE is a requirement for obtaining a PTA license in Pennsylvania.
Once licensed, PTAs can begin their career in various physical therapy practices. It is important for PTAs to engage in continuing education to maintain a current license. The Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy requires PTAs to complete a certain number of contact hours for license renewal. This ensures that PTAs stay updated with the latest developments in their field and maintain their competency.
Now let’s go over each step to becoming a PTA in Pennsylvania in complete detail.
Step 1. Graduate from a CAPTE-Accredited Physical Therapist Assistant Program
To become a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) in Pennsylvania, the first step is to graduate from a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). These programs typically result in an Associate’s degree. You can enter your zip code below to see programs near you.
You can also use these resources to research CAPTE Accredited PTA Programs:
CAPTE accreditation ensures that the program meets a high standard of quality and prepares students to become competent PTAs. During the program, students undergo a combination of coursework and clinical experience to develop their knowledge and skills.
The coursework covers a range of topics related to physical therapy. Students learn about anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, therapeutic exercises, and therapeutic modalities. They also study subjects like medical terminology, patient care techniques, and communication skills. Additionally, courses in ethics and professional responsibilities are also included.
In addition to classroom learning, students gain practical experience through clinical internships. These hands-on experiences provide valuable opportunities to work with patients under the guidance of licensed physical therapists. It allows students to apply their knowledge and develop their clinical skills in a real-world setting.
By successfully completing a CAPTE-accredited program, graduates are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide effective care as PTAs. This sets them on the path to pursue their licensure and begin their careers in the field of physical therapy.
Step 2. Submit an Application for Licensure in Pennsylvania by Examination
After completing a physical therapist assistant (PTA) program from a CAPTE-accredited institution, the next step towards obtaining a PTA license in Pennsylvania is to submit an application for licensure by examination. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
1. Obtain the application form: Visit the Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy website to download the PTA application for licensure. It is essential to use the correct application form to ensure that your submission is valid and processed accordingly.
2. Complete the application: Fill out the application form accurately and provide all the required information. This may include personal details, educational qualifications, background information, and any previous licensure history. Make sure to answer all questions honestly and thoroughly.
3. Payment of application fee: Along with your application, you will need to submit the required fee. The current application fee for a PTA license in Pennsylvania is $125. Payment can be made online through the State Board’s website or via check or money order payable to the “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
4. Submit the application: Once you have completed the application form and paid the fee, gather all the necessary supporting documents, such as your official transcripts, proof of graduation from a CAPTE-accredited program, and any other required documentation. Mail the completed application, fee payment, and supporting materials to:
Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy
P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
5. Application processing times: It is important to note that the processing time for licensure applications can vary. It typically takes four to six weeks for the State Board to review and approve an application. Therefore, it is advisable to submit your application well in advance to ensure timely processing.
By following these steps and providing all the required information and documents, you are one step closer to obtaining your PTA license in Pennsylvania. Once your application is approved, you can take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs to further progress in your career as a licensed PTA.
Step 3. Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs
After successfully completing a physical therapist assistant (PTA) program from a CAPTE-accredited institution and obtaining a PTA license in Pennsylvania, the next vital step in your career as a PTA is to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs.
The NPTE-PTA is a comprehensive examination that assesses the knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level PTAs. The exam is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and covers various content areas, including therapeutic modalities, safety and protection, interventions, equipment and devices, and PT data collection. It consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that examine your understanding and application of physical therapy principles and practices.
In order to pass the NPTE-PTA, you must achieve a scaled score of 600 (out of 800). It is essential to thoroughly prepare for the exam to increase your chances of success. There are several resources available to help you with your exam preparation, such as textbooks, review courses, online practice exams, and study guides.
If you, unfortunately, do not pass the NPTE-PTA on your first attempt, you may retake the exam. The FSBPT allows you to retake the exam up to three times in a 12-month period. However, you must wait a minimum of 45 days between each exam attempt.
Passing the NPTE-PTA demonstrates your competency as a PTA and is a requirement for obtaining licensure in many states, including Pennsylvania. By adequately preparing for the exam and utilizing available resources, you can increase your likelihood of passing and further advance your career in physical therapy.
Step 4. Begin your Career as a Physical Therapist Assistant in Pennsylvania
Once you have obtained your PTA license in Pennsylvania, you are ready to begin your career as a Physical Therapist Assistant. There are various job opportunities available for PTAs in the state, with inpatient rehabilitation centers and outpatient clinics being popular settings.
Inpatient rehabilitation centers provide intensive rehabilitative services to individuals who require specialized care after surgery, illness, or injury. These centers often have multidisciplinary teams, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists. As a PTA in an inpatient rehabilitation center, you will work closely with physical therapists to implement treatment plans, assist patients during therapy sessions, and monitor their progress.
Outpatient clinics, on the other hand, focus on providing therapy services to individuals who do not require hospitalization. These clinics may specialize in specific areas such as sports medicine, orthopedics, or pediatrics. As a PTA in an outpatient clinic, you will work with patients of different ages and conditions, helping them improve their mobility, relieve pain, and regain independence.
To start your career as a PTA in Pennsylvania, you can explore job opportunities at various healthcare facilities throughout the state. Some notable employers of PTAs in Pennsylvania include Advance Physical & Aquatic Therapy in Springfield and ManorCare Health Services in Lancaster and Bedford.
By applying for available jobs at inpatient rehabilitation centers and outpatient clinics, you can begin your journey as a Physical Therapist Assistant and make a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals seeking physical therapy to improve their health and well-being.
Step 5. Complete Continuing Competency Hours and Keep your License Current
To keep your PTA license in Pennsylvania current and active, you must fulfill the requirements for completing and maintaining continuing competency hours. These hours are a vital part of your professional development and ensure that you stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field of physical therapy.
During each biennial renewal period, which occurs every even-numbered year, you are required to complete 30 contact hours of approved continuing physical therapy education. These contact hours must cover various subjects, including child abuse and law/ethics. This ensures that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective care to your patients.
To fulfill these requirements, you can attend workshops, seminars, conferences, or online courses that offer approved continuing education for PTAs. It’s essential to choose courses that are recognized and accepted by the Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy.
When it’s time to renew your license, you must submit the renewal forms along with a $45 fee to the Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy by December 31 of every even-numbered year. It’s crucial to plan ahead and ensure that you have completed the required continuing competency hours before the renewal deadline.
By completing your continuing competency hours and renewing your license on time, you demonstrate your commitment to maintaining high standards of professional practice as a Physical Therapist Assistant in Pennsylvania. This not only ensures your continued eligibility to practice but also enhances your knowledge and skills, enabling you to provide the best possible care to your patients.
Why Be a PTA in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania has over a dozen PTA Programs available which is a high number compared to the number of PTA schools available in many states. PTA jobs and salaries are good as well ranging from $56,792 to $69,340 annually. Learn more about becoming a physical therapist assistant in Pennsylvania by clicking the links below.
More PTA Info for Pennsylvania: