How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant

Are you an active person who has a passion for helping others improve their quality of life? You may want to consider becoming a physical therapist assistant (PTA). This is an in-demand career that is growing faster than average. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs in the field are growing at a rate of 29%. In the year 2019, there were $149,300 jobs. In the upcoming 10 years, another 43,000 jobs are expected to be added.  Learn what a physical therapist assistant does.

Now that you know that PTA’s have a bright outlook, here are the four steps you can follow to become a physical therapist assistant:

Step 1: Earn an Associate’s Degree

The first step to becoming a PTA is that you receive a physical therapist assistant associate’s degree. All states require this degree from an accredited program. It can typically be completed in 18 months to 2 years. The degree work includes coursework, lab work and clinical training.

Step 2: Pass the Licensing Exam

Unless you reside in Colorado or Hawaii, you will need to pass a licensing exam in order to work. After graduation, applicants have to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). This is a five-hour long, computer-based, multiple-choice test. Even though you may take the test multiple times, you can take it only three times in one year or six times in total.

Step 3: Work on Your Skillset

Before, you start applying to jobs, make sure your skillset is sharp. This will allow you to be better prepared for the interviews. Some top skills that you may want to brush up on are:

  • Rehabilitation Care
  • Patient and Family Education
  • Scheduling
  • Treatment Planning
  • Patient Care

Step 4: Go for your dream job

Finally, you are ready to apply to the job of your dreams. You will need to have an updated resume for this. It is advisable to someone proofread it for you as well. You also should polish your interviewing skills while you prepare for the job. Good luck!

Our clinicians at Cornerstone Rehab are passionate about working with the older population at long-term care facilities. Learn how you can join our team.