Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant Schools and Licensure

Licensed physical therapist assistants support physical therapists in helping those with injury or disease return to optimum health. Read on to find out what education you'll need to become one and how you can earn your license. Schools offering Physical Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

To become a licensed physical therapist assistant, you will need an associate's degree from an accredited institution. Check with the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education to verify that a program is accredited. You will also probably need to pass an exam and get a license.

Degree Associate's degree
Courses Physiology, physical therapy, medical terminology
Licensing Required in all states except Colorado and Hawaii

What is the Role of a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)?

As a licensed PTA, you would aid physical therapists in diagnosing, treating and monitoring patients who have physical injuries or diseases that hinder their ability to function normally. You might be called upon to assist patients with rehabilitation or therapeutic exercises as part of your daily routine. You also might assist in advising patients on personal health and fitness or disease and injury prevention. You could work in hospitals, physical therapy offices, schools, nursing centers and sports facilities.

What Education Do I Need?

Most states require that you complete an associate's degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), which currently accredits programs at 235 community colleges, colleges and universities nationwide (www.capte.org). Admissions requirements might include a high school diploma or GED, current immunizations, a health screening and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. You must graduate from a CAPTE-accredited program to sit for your licensure examination.

What Topics Might I Study?

PTA associate degree programs combine classes in math, humanities and science with classes and laboratory work in physical therapy assisting. These programs also give you clinical experience with a licensed physical therapist. Your coursework likely will cover the following subjects:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Orthopedics
  • Exercise therapy
  • Kinesiology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical terminology

Can I Earn My PTA Degree Online?

You may not be able to earn your degree completely online because all PTA programs include laboratory and clinical requirements. However, according to the APTA, you may be able to complete some of your courses online.

How Do I Obtain My License?

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) reports that all states except Colorado and Hawaii require PTAs to be licensed, certified or registered (www.apta.org). After you earn your degree, you'll be eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. The NPTE ensures that you have the quality training, skills and knowledge required to practice physical therapy assisting. Some states may have additional requirements for licensing, continuing education or license renewal, so it's best to consult your state licensing office.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Brightwood College

    Brightwood College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Brightwood College:

    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Baltimore, Beltsville, Towson
  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Virginia College

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  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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