Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant

What Physical Therapist Assistants Do

physical therapist assistants provide physical therapist services under the commission and supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs follow through components of affected role worry, obtain data related to the treatments provided, and collaborate with the PT to modify care as necessary .
PTAs assist the physical therapist in the treatment of individuals of all ages, from newborns to people at the end of life. many patients have injuries, disabilities, or other health conditions that need treatment. But PTAs besides worry for people who merely want to become healthier and to prevent future problems .
The physical therapist is responsible for the services provided by the PTA. A PT will examine each individual and develop a treatment design to improve their ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore routine, and prevent disability .
PTAs can have a profound effect on people ’ randomness lives. They help people achieve fitness goals, regain or maintain their independence, and lead active lives.

Visit, APTA ’ s official consumer information web site, to learn more about the benefits of physical therapy .

Where Physical Therapist Assistants Work

The huge majority of PTAs, approximately 72 %, work in hospitals or privately-owned physical therapy practices. Others work in home health, schools, and rehab units. approximately 28 % of PTAs work half-time .

How Much Physical Therapist Assistants Earn

The median income for a physical therapist assistant is $ 52,000. Salaries vary based on military position, years of know, degree of department of education, geographic location, and exercise set .

Physical Therapist Assistant Education and Licensure

To work as a physical therapist adjunct in the United States, you must graduate from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education -accredited forcible therapist adjunct education program and pass a state-administered national examination to obtain licensure or certificate required in most states .
The duration of a PTA program is typically two years ( five semesters ). elementary message areas in the course of study may include, but are not limited to, human body, physiology, exert physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, clinical pathology, behavioral sciences, communication, and ethics/values.

approximately 75 % of the PTA course of study is classroom ( didactic ) and lab study and the remaining 25 % is dedicated to clinical education. PTA students spend on average 16 weeks in full-time clinical education experiences .

Choosing the Right Program

APTA does not rank PTA department of education programs. Programs are accredited by CAPTE, which assures quality in physical therapist assistant education. Among the factors you should keep in mind when choosing your program :

  • Cost and financial aid opportunities. Many PTA 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 be investing a lot into PTA education. Make sure that you select a program where you feel at home.

You may wish to contact stream students and late graduates of the program or interview employers who hire graduates to ask about course of study strengths and weaknesses .


Entry-level physical therapist adjunct education programs are offered at the companion degree level .
APTA launched the Physical Therapist Assistant Centralized Application Service ( PTACAS ) in 2020 to help simplify the application process to physical therapist adjunct programs. Applicants can apply to multiple PTA programs through this service using a single application. not all PTA programs accept the PTACAS application at this time.

A list of programs accepting applications through PTACAS can be found via the liaison below. If the program to which you are matter to in applying is not on the number of participating programs, you will apply directly to the program .
Learn more about PTACAS

After Graduation

physical therapist assistants have the opportunity to increase their cognition and skills through APTA ’ s PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways program. Content areas are acute manage, cardiovascular/pulmonary, geriatrics, oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, and hurt management. Participants experience steering from a self-designated clinical mentor who has expertness in the capacity area. The course of study is voluntary ; PTAs are not required to participate in order to work in a particular area .

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