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Preparing for The Physical Therapy Assistant License


For a student studying a career as a physical therapy assistant, graduation approaches at a rapid pace, the realization that you will complete your associates degree as a physical therapy assistant is soon to become a reality. Completing the degree is a huge relief for any student, but there is a test to prepare for after graduation that can leave a PTA student feeling a little bit nervous. Will you pass the state license exam to work as a PTA in your state?

Luckily for you, almost all physical therapy assistant schools offer prep courses for the state exam, which will increase your chances of obtaining a license. To write the test, States will generally need proof of graduation from an educational institute that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. The program in which you study must be recognized by the states board of physical therapy. You will have already completed this though by doing your research and choosing an accredited physical therapy assistant school to obtain your associates degree in the first place.

To give you an idea of what the structure of the exam will look like, and what is required to pass a state exam, below we have listed some of the common elements that are seen nation wide with regards to PTA testing. All physical therapy assistant schools will teach the program and prep you slightly differently, but still trying to follow the guidelines set out by the state. While license fees and other administrative requirements may change state to state, the core of the exam does not change that much from state to state. Each state wants a minimum competency for the physical therapy assistants licensed to work.

  • The exam will likely have at or around 200 questions
  • The examination may be completely computer based
  • Questions will be in multiple choice format
  • The score of the exam is on a scale of 200-800, 600 is considered the passing grade.
  • The exam is administered throughout the year at locations across the Nation
  • You are generally given 4 hours to complete the exam
  • Topics covered on the exam may include Standards of Care, Intervention, codes and ethics.
There are many study guides available for prep for the state license test. If you have been out of school for a long time and are thinking about relocating to another state, it is advisable to contact the given state before hand. They often offer a prep manual or prep courses for those wishing to take the state physical therapy assistant license exam.
Be confident that you have chosen the right physical therapy assistant school, and that you are a diligent hard worker who pays attention and pays attention to detail on the job. The license exam should not mean stress for a well prepared physical therapy assistant program graduate