How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant (and Why You Should) | Rasmussen University

How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant (and Why You Should)

If you have a mania for being active and a kernel for helping others, then it ’ s no surprise you ’ rhenium considering becoming a physical therapist adjunct ( PTA ). not alone do these healthcare pros have the reinforce opportunity to help improve the quality of liveliness of others, but they are besides desperately needed in nowadays ’ sulfur healthcare system .
If you ’ re at all intrigued by this in-demand career, read on to learn more about why it ’ sulfur appeal, what it entails and how to become a physical therapist assistant.

Why become a physical therapist assistant?

There ’ s a batch to like about the character of a physical therapist adjunct. According to the U.S. News & World Report job rankings, it is considered a top healthcare accompaniment speculate. This recognition was earned by weighing career factors like wage, unemployment rate and future emergence along with job atonement elements such as stress level and work-life libra .
broadly speaking, physical therapist assistants tend to enjoy what they do. And that ’ s not hard to believe, considering their occupation revolves around helping patients holistically, using drill, movement and an intricate sympathy of the human body to help reduce pain and derive mobility. But beyond the helping nature of the work, there are two significant economic factors that make physical therapist adjunct jobs enticing .

What is the job outlook for physical therapist assistants?

When it comes to healthcare workers, most people credibly don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate think of physical therapist assistants. But the truth is that they play a critical role in the healthcare system. This is apparent in the rapid growth in the field .
In fact, PTAs are among the circus tent 10 fastest growing occupations in the adjacent decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS ) .1 forcible therapist adjunct jobs are projected to increase 12 percentage through 2030, which is three times faster than the BLS ’ reported average for all occupations.1
Like many other healthcare jobs, the aging baby baby boomer generation is creating a spike in demand as retirements and age-related health issues grow. physical therapists are besides expected to rely more heavily on PTAs in rate to reduce the cost of physical therapy services .

How much do physical therapist assistants make?

It ’ s only natural to be curious about what the typical forcible therapist assistant wage is. You ’ re in for some good news. PTAs have strong earning electric potential, particularly when considering these jobs can be attained with an Associate ’ s degree .
The BLS reports the 2021 medial annual wage for physical therapist assistants was $ 61,180.1 It ’ second important to note that the PTA wage will vary based on experience and employer. The lowest 10 percentage earned less than $ 37,280, and the highest 10 percentage earned more than $ 80,170.1
According to the BLS, the average physical therapist adjunct wage was highest for those employed at nurse family facilities and for home healthcare services.1 now that you ’ rhenium aware of the increase and earning electric potential for PTAs, let ’ s take a closer look at the caper duties and path to become one .

What does a physical therapist assistant do?

physical therapist assistants are share of a team that works with patients who have injuries or aesculapian conditions that limit their mobility or make it difficult to perform everyday tasks and activities, according to the american Physical Therapy Association ( APTA ). PTAs typically observe patients before, during and after therapy. They help them perform exercises, treat them through massage and stretching techniques and train patients and family members about post-treatment care .
Some common activities that PTAs help patients with include : stretching, sonography therapy, remedy massage, balance and coordination train, electric foreplay or heat and ice treatments.

How do you become a physical therapist assistant?

now that you know a piece more about the job and its benefits, take a expression at your bit-by-bit guide on how to become a forcible therapist adjunct .

Step 1: Earn a Physical Therapist Assistant Associate’s degree

All states require PTAs to have an Associate ’ s degree from an accredited program, according to the BLS. Earning a degree may sound daunt, but some PTA trail can be completed in a few as 18 months.2 This formal education consists of courses, lab exploit and clinical train .

Step 2: Pass the licensing exam

All states except Colorado and Hawaii require PTAs to be licensed in addition to holding an Associate ’ s degree. once applicants have graduated from a PTA platform, they ’ re eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam ( NPTE ) for physical therapist assistants. once you pass this examination, you ’ ll be a accredited PTA .
It ’ s significant to thoroughly prepare for the NPTE before taking it. Though retakes are available, you may only take the examination three times in one year or six times sum. More details on the NPTE can be found at The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy web site. Depending on the state, physical therapist assistants may besides need to take continuing education courses to maintain their license .

Step 3: Brush up on these in-demand PTA skills

After earning your Associate ’ s degree and passing the NPTE, you ’ re closely cook to begin your career as a PTA. But before rushing into the career search process, it ’ south helpful to know what precisely employers are looking for so you can come prepared to put your best foot ahead .
We used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 30,000 physical therapist jobs posted over the past year.3 The data helped us identify the top skills employers are seeking :

  • Treatment planning
  • Rehabilitation
  • Patient care
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Home health
  • Patient and family education
  • Therapy
  • Scheduling

While a great physical therapy adjunct program is designed to equip you with the necessary technical skills, a little supernumerary proficiency in these skill areas will help your curriculum vitae stand out to employers. You might besides consider getting involved in adulterous activities to polish your skills. Coaching youth sports is an excellent option for anyone looking to develop their training and motivational skills, volunteering at breastfeed homes would be an excellent direction to show your interest in working with aging populations, and organizations like Toastmasters can help refine your ability to speak clearly and confidently .

Step 4: Sharpen your resume and interview skills and start applying

No matter the job you ’ ra apply for, taking the time to update and polish your resume will help improve your odds of getting a call bet on. You ’ ll besides want to work on your interviewing skills while on your search .
As you go into your job search, understand what your choose rehearse areas are—do you want to work with athletes ? The aged ? People with disabilities ? While it might not be virtual in all locations, narrowing your search and tailoring your resume and interview answers to your favored physical therapy specialization area can help you prioritize and focus yourself while searching.

Start your physical therapist assistant career

Does this sketch of how to become a physical therapist adjunct look like the path to the satisfying career you ’ ve been searching for ? If so, then you ’ re ready to start researching to find the best training for you .
Learn more about what to look for in a timbre program in our article, “ Physical Therapy Assistant Programs: Key Factors to Consider. ”
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [ career information accessed June 2022 ]. Salary datum represents national, average earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of department of education and know. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
2Completion time is dependent on the number of transplant credits accepted and courses completed each term. ( psychoanalysis of 31,842 physical therapist assistant jobs, Apr. 01, 2019 – Mar. 31, 2020 ).

EDITOR ’ S NOTE : This article was primitively published in June 2016. It has since been updated to include data relevant to 2021.

Graduation from a physical therapist assistant department of education platform accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education ( CAPTE ), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22305-3085 ; earphone ; 703-706-3245 ; accreditation @ is necessity for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

Accredited programs :
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Rasmussen University – Brooklyn Park/Maple Grove is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education ( CAPTE ), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085 ; call : 703-706-3245 ; e-mail : accreditation @ ; web site : hypertext transfer protocol : // hypertext transfer protocol : // If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 763-496-6022 or e-mail Laura.Miele @

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Rasmussen University – Ocala is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education ( CAPTE ), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085 ; call : 703-706-3245 ; e-mail : accreditation @ ; web site : hypertext transfer protocol : // If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 352-291-8552 or e-mail Stacy.Campbell1 @ .

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