In order to be able to work as a physical therapy assistant, you must complete a physical therapy assistant education by completing a physical therapy assistant degree . The required level of education for such professionals is an associate’s degree. Learn how you can earn such a degree, what it takes to graduate and how much will the education cost you.
The associate’s degree programs for physical therapy assisting are available from community, junior and technical colleges. A program typically lasts for 2 years. It has two main modules – classroom coursework study and clinical practice. The graduating students of this program will receive an associate degree, an associate degree is roughly half of a bachelors degree time wise, and often half or slightly more than half the amount of credits that will be required to complete a full bachelors degree.
Physical Therapy Assistant Degree: State Requirements
Most states require physical therapy assistants to obtain certification and licensure. In order to become a certified professional, you need to graduate from an accredited physical therapy assistant degree program. Currently, there are over 270 programs accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association’s Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. A list of the accredited programs is available on the commission’s web site, so you can start your search for a program from there.
Most programs have basic admissions criteria. You must have a high school diploma or GED. Some schools require you to have good grades in English and mathematics. You may have to show that you have taken classes in science and computers. Rarely, schools administer entry exams, but you may be asked to sit one, depending on the physical therapy assistant degree you have chosen to apply for.
It is not particularly hard to study towards earning a physical therapy assistant degree. You can expect to attend standard group classes. In public colleges classes are larger in size while in private colleges they tend to be smaller. You will attend classes during the day, in the evening or over the weekend, depending whether you have chosen to study full time or part time. If you have enrolled in an online program, you will be able to study in your own time.
Physical Therapy Assistant Degree Classes
The program curriculum includes fundamental courses, such as physiology, anatomy with a focus on the musculoskeletal system, physical therapy, disabilities and therapeutic procedures, devices and equipment used in physical therapy, psychology, medical terminology and medical ethics. These disciplines may seem complex, but with hard work and persistence, you will be able to complete the program successfully.
As part of the clinical practice module, you will get hands-on experience helping a physical therapist treat patients. You will practice first aid and get practical training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. You will get some laboratory training as well.
You will not be able to practice your profession after obtaining a physical therapy assistant degree without passing a licensure examination. The type of exam you will have to sit will depend on the state you want to obtain license in. Most states require licensure applicants to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). Some states, however, have their own exams administered by the respective state’s Board of Physical Therapy. You can expect an accredited program to include special examination preparation.
This is how to obtain a physical therapy assistant degree. You may find that it is not as easy as you have hoped, but given the excellent job and remuneration outlook, your effort will be worth it in the end. Now is the perfect time to enroll for a physical therapy assistant degree.