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Becoming A Physical Therapist Assistant 2022

Physical Therapist Assistant: Together with physical therapists, physical therapist assistants support individuals in leading active, healthy lives. Are you ready to be a Physical Therapy Assistant? Let’s get you started.

Physical Therapy Assistant

Who is a Physical Therapy Assistant?

Under the guidance and supervision of a physical therapist, physical therapist assistants offer physical therapy services.

Physical Therapy Assistants interact with the PT to change patient care as needed, collect data on the treatments given, and carry out many aspects of patient care.

From babies to those towards the end of their lives, Physical Therapy Assistants help the physical therapist treat patients of all ages.

Numerous patients require medical attention for wounds, impairments, or other health issues.

However, Physical Therapy Assistants also provide care for those who merely desire improved health and the avoidance of future issues.

The Physical Therapy Assistant’s services are under the control of the physical therapist.

Each person will get a physical therapy evaluation, and they will create a treatment plan to help them move more easily, manage their pain, regain function, and avoid becoming disabled.

Physical Therapy Assistants have the power to significantly impact people’s lives.

They support people in leading active lives, achieving their fitness goals, and regaining or maintaining their independence.


Where does a Physical Therapist Assistant work?

About 72% of Physical Therapy Assistant are employed by hospitals or independently run physical therapy clinics.

Others work in schools, rehab facilities, and home health care. A little over 28% of PTAs have part-time jobs.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants earn?

A physical therapist assistant makes $52,000 on average annually.

Salary varies according to role, years of experience, level of education, place of residence, and practicing environment.

Education and license of a Physical Therapy Assistant]

You must complete a physical therapist assistant education program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education in order to work as a physical therapist assistant in the United States.

As well as pass a national exam that is administered by each state in order to obtain the license or certification that is necessary in the majority of them.

A Physical Therapy Assistant program lasts two years on average (five semesters). Anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, clinical pathology, behavioral sciences, communication, and ethics/values are just a few examples of the curriculum’s primary core areas.

The Physical Therapy Assistant curriculum is composed of classroom (didactic) and lab study for around 75% of the time, and clinical education makes up the remaining 25%.

PTA students engage in full-time clinical education experiences for an average of 16 weeks.

Choosing the right Physical Therapist Assistant Program

APTA does not rank PTA education programs. CAPTE approves programs, which guarantees the quality of the education provided to physical therapist assistants.

When selecting your program, among the things to consider are:

  • Cost and financial aid opportunities. Many Physical Therapy Assistant students graduate with student loans. Make sure that you are financially aware and prepared. Programs offer different student experiences and have different costs.
  • Demographics and setting. You will invest a lot into Physical Therapy Assistant education. Make sure that you select a program where you feel at home.

To learn about the program’s merits and drawbacks, you could choose to speak with current students, recent alumni, or employers who hire graduates.


Associate degree-level education programs for physical therapist assistants are available.

To facilitate the application process to physical therapist assistant programs, APTA introduced the Physical Therapist Assistant Centralized Application Service (PTACAS) in 2020.

Through this tool, applicants can apply for consideration to many PTA programs. Currently, not all PTA programs accept the PTACAS application.

You can get a list of programs that accept PTACAS applications by clicking the link below.

If they do not list the program you want to apply to among those that are participating, you will apply directly to the program.

View PTACAS Programs

Through the APTA’s PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways program, physical therapist assistants can broaden their knowledge and abilities.

Acute care, cardiovascular/pulmonary, geriatrics, cancer, orthopedics, pediatrics, and wound treatment are among the subject areas covered.

A self-designated clinical mentor with subject-matter knowledge offers advice to participants. Physical Therapy Assistants are not obliged to join in the program in order to work in a certain location because it is voluntary.

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