Colleges with Physical Therapy Assistant Programs in Pennsylvania

Learn what physical therapy assistants do and what qualifications you need to become one. Read about the topics you will cover during your studies and get to know some of the colleges in Pennsylvania with physical therapy assistant programs. Schools offering Physical Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The increased health needs of an aging population, and especially the baby-boomer generation, is leading to a higher demand for physical therapy services and physical therapy assistants. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapy assistants is expected to grow by 31% from 2016 to 2026, which is far higher than the average expected growth of 7% for all occupations during this period. Read on to see what the job of a physical therapy assistant involves.

What Does a Physical Therapy Assistant Do?

Physical therapy assistants work with physical therapists and their patients. They are involved in the direct care of patients and help them to recover from injuries and illnesses. They also assist patients in managing pain and regaining movement.

Under the supervision of a physical therapist, physical therapy assistants observe the status of patients at various stages of the treatment process and report their findings back to the physical therapist. They assist patients with prescribed exercises and educate patients on post-treatment issues. Physical therapy assistants are also sometimes involved in treating patients with various techniques, including stretching and massaging.

What Qualification Do I Need to Become a Physical Therapy Assistant?

If you want to become a physical therapy assistant, you will have to obtain an associate's degree from one of the colleges or universities accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. All states have this requirement. In Pennsylvania, there were 20 such accredited programs as of April 2019.

Physical therapy assistants should not be confused with physical therapy aides. The latter fulfill a different role and only need a high school diploma and some on-the-job training.

What Will I Learn During My Associate's Degree Program for Physical Therapy Assistants?

The associate's degree program for physical therapy assistants typically takes two years to complete. The program consists of classroom study and clinical work.

In the classroom, you may expect to cover topics such as anatomy, physiology, algebra and English. Clinical work includes hands-on skills such as basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and general first-aid. Students may also earn certifications in various clinical skills.

Which Schools in Pennsylvania offer an Associate's Degree for Physical Therapy Assistants?

The physical therapy assistant programs at the following schools in Pennsylvania are all accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education:

  • Butler County Community College, in Butler, offers a Physical Therapy Assistant, Associate in Applied Science program.
  • Central Penn College, in Summerdale, lets you qualify as a physical therapy assistant with their Associate in Applied Science program.
  • Harcum College, in Bryn Mawr, offers its associate's degree for physical therapy assistants as a full-time or part-time option.
  • Lackawanna College, in Scranton, also has an associate's degree program for physical therapy assistants as part of its Allied Health Programs.
  • Mercyhurst University offers an Associate of Science degree program for prospective physical therapy assistants at its North East campus.
  • The University of Pittsburgh at Titusville has an Associate of Science degree program for physical therapy assistants.

Do I Need a License to Practice as a Physical Therapy Assistant in Pennsylvania?

Like in most other states, to get licensed to practice as a physical therapy assistant in Pennsylvania you have to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam for physical therapist assistants. It is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. You also have to take a course, required of all healthcare practitioners in the state, on the topic of child abuse recognition and reporting.

Pennsylvania also requires physical therapy assistants to take continuing education courses to ensure that they stay up to date with advancements and new developments in the field of physical therapy.

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:

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  • Lincoln Tech

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