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Physical Therapy Assistant Training Programs and Schools

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Physical Therapist Assistants

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can seek a rewarding career by helping others to recuperate from their injuries or to learn to better manage their ongoing pain. They work under the direction of a physical therapist (PT) who typically has doctorate-level education. They may be able to specialize in specific fields that range from aquatic therapy to sports medicine.

Physical Therapist Assistants picture    Physical Therapist Assistants image

Physical Therapist Assistant Schools

Becoming a PTA typically takes an investment of two years of associate degree education and passing an exam to become certified or licensed in a state. The following five schools offer associate degrees in physical therapy assistance, and are accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association.

  • Amarillo College: This college in Texas trains students in the key skills necessary to enter the field of physical therapy assistance.
  • Broward College: This college in Florida provides the framework for students to learn how to work with patients who have lost function due to illness, surgery, or other conditions.
  • Clark State Community College: This community college located in Springfield, Ohio combines didactic and clinical learning experiences for future physical therapy assistants.
  • Mercyhurst University: Located in North East, Pennsylvania, this university's physical therapy assistant training program prepares students to become important members of a health care team.
  • San Diego Mesa College: This college offers an associate degree which trains physical therapy assistants to work safely and ethically with a wide variety of patients.

Physical Therapist Assistant Education Requirements

An associate degree is usually needed to become a physical therapist assistant. Students enrolled in a degree program gain hands-on clinical skills and may learn about:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Communication
  • Human Physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Sports injuries

Associate degree programs in physical therapy assisting typically last about two years, and they must be accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association's Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

Physical Therapist Assistant Certification and Licensing

In addition to completing classroom education, it is necessary for physical therapy assistants to get clinical training and experience. The American Physical Therapy Association reports that physical therapy assistant students spend an average of sixteen weeks in full-time clinical education, which is typically a total of about 25 percent of a physical therapy assistant program.

Certification may be needed in some states where licensing is not required. In fact, all states, except for Hawaii require either certification or licensing, according to the BLS. Passing a national exam is a requirement and graduation from an accredited program is imperative. There also are advanced credentials that PTAs may wish to pursue after certification or licensing, such as the PTA Recognition of Advanced Proficiency offered by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

In many states, licensing may be the more common terminology than certification. To become licensed, students need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination, which is offered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). The FSBPT offers a list of licensing agencies for each state and also provides details about state-specific requirements, such as whether a criminal background check or fingerprinting is required.

Physical Therapist Assistant Resources

Sources:

  1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm
  2. Amarillo College, https://www.actx.edu/phys_therapist/
  3. Broward College, http://www.broward.edu/academics/programs/pta/Pages/default.aspx
  4. Clark State Community College, https://www.clarkstate.edu/academics/majors-programs/physical-therapist-assistant
  5. Mercyhurst University, http://northeast.mercyhurst.edu/academics/physical-therapist-assistant
  6. San Diego Mesa College, http://www.sdmesa.edu/academics/schools-departments/physical-therapist-assistant/

The Top Cities tab shows employment statistics for Physical Therapist Assistants by major metro area.

The Top Industries tab shows which industries have the most jobs for Physical Therapist Assistants, along with salary data by industry.

The Browse Schools tab lets you search for schools by field of study, degree level, and location.

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Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Physical Therapist Assistants

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Physical Therapist Assistants relative to the population of the city, as of 2008. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Relative Popularity of 1.0 means that the city has an average number of the particular job, for its population, compared to the rest of the US. Higher numbers mean proportionally more jobs of that type.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Metro Area Jobs Salary
(2013)
Relative
Popularity

Alabama

     
Anniston 50 $48200 2.08
Oxford 50 $48200 2.08
Jacksonville 50 $48200 2.08
Auburn 30 $49700 0.99
Opelika 30 $49700 0.99
Florence 80 $59280 2.64
Muscle Shoals 80 $59280 2.64
Gadsden 140 $57200 6.72
Huntsville 110 $56070 0.9
Daphne 70 $54760 1.67
Fairhope 70 $54760 1.67
Foley 70 $54760 1.67
Decatur 60 $51710 1.82
Dothan 110 $54990 3.3
Birmingham 420 $48640 1.42
Hoover 420 $48640 1.42
Mobile 260 $51890 2.59
Montgomery 110 $53920 1.11
Tuscaloosa 60 $46730 0.95

Alaska

     
Anchorage 50 $73280 0.44

Arizona

     
Flagstaff 30 $30340 0.99
Phoenix 1090 $40120 0.98
Mesa 1090 $40120 0.98
Scottsdale 1090 $40120 0.98
Lake Havasu City 30 $46780 1.23
Kingman 30 $46780 1.23
Tucson 170 $48450 0.82

Arkansas

     
Jonesboro 140 $44150 4.47
Little Rock 300 $55960 1.5
North Little Rock 300 $55960 1.5
Conway 300 $55960 1.5

California

     
Bakersfield 30 $63450 0.18
Fresno 50 $68580 0.24
Oxnard 130 $67380 0.77
Thousand Oaks 130 $67380 0.77
Ventura 130 $67380 0.77
Riverside 420 $63750 0.55
San Bernardino 420 $63750 0.55
Ontario 420 $63750 0.55
Sacramento 260 $67960 0.51
Roseville 260 $67960 0.51
Arden 260 $67960 0.51
Arcade 260 $67960 0.51
Salinas 60 $65430 0.65
San Diego 610 $65940 0.77
Carlsbad 610 $65940 0.77
Los Angeles 1940 $66530 0.59
Long Beach 1940 $66530 0.59
Anaheim 1940 $66530 0.59
Merced 30 $68610 0.89
Modesto 40 $69560 0.38
Santa Cruz 40 $62260 0.83
Watsonville 40 $62260 0.83
Santa Maria 60 $62900 0.6
Santa Barbara 60 $62900 0.6
Santa Rosa 40 $55280 0.37
San Francisco 480 $69650 0.37
Oakland 480 $69650 0.37
Hayward 480 $69650 0.37
Stockton 70 $50830 0.52
Lodi 70 $50830 0.52
San Jose 180 $70290 0.31
Sunnyvale 180 $70290 0.31
Santa Clara 180 $70290 0.31
Visalia 0 $72400 0
Porterville 0 $72400 0
San Luis Obispo 0 $28780 0
Paso Robles 0 $28780 0
Arroyo Grande 0 $28780 0

Colorado

     
Fort Collins 30 $47470 0.4
Greeley 30 $54740 0.53
Boulder 50 $45340 0.45
Colorado Springs 130 $49100 0.83
Denver 490 $54040 0.61
Aurora 490 $54040 0.61
Lakewood 490 $54040 0.61
Pueblo 160 $44430 4.58

Connecticut

     
Hartford 250 $54660 0.73
West Hartford 250 $54660 0.73
East Hartford 250 $54660 0.73
New Haven 90 $59120 0.56
Bridgeport 60 $60530 0.26
Stamford 60 $60530 0.26
Norwalk 60 $60530 0.26
Danbury 30 $51080 0.64

Delaware

     
Dover 0 $56740 0

Florida

     
Gainesville 80 $53630 1.11
Homosassa Springs 120 $64970 6.68
Jacksonville 370 $62390 1
Cape Coral 170 $67570 1.21
Fort Myers 170 $67570 1.21
Crestview 80 $61390 1.29
Fort Walton Beach 80 $61390 1.29
Destin 80 $61390 1.29
Deltona 120 $61520 1.15
Daytona Beach 120 $61520 1.15
Ormond Beach 120 $61520 1.15
Orlando 610 $58030 0.92
Kissimmee 610 $58030 0.92
Sanford 610 $58030 0.92
Palm Bay 170 $65010 1.48
Melbourne 170 $65010 1.48
Titusville 170 $65010 1.48
Panama City 70 $52370 1.5
Pensacola 90 $58890 0.93
Ferry Pass 90 $58890 0.93
Brent 90 $58890 0.93
Port St. Lucie 160 $65090 2.02
Punta Gorda 40 $65200 1.62
Lakeland 70 $58190 0.6
Winter Haven 70 $58190 0.6
Miami 1100 $61520 0.77
Fort Lauderdale 1100 $61520 0.77
West Palm Beach 1100 $61520 0.77
Naples 40 $52520 0.5
Immokalee 40 $52520 0.5
Marco Island 40 $52520 0.5
North Port 170 $59710 1.06
Sarasota 170 $59710 1.06
Bradenton 170 $59710 1.06
Ocala 80 $64840 1.37
Sebastian 60 $60330 2.23
Vero Beach 60 $60330 2.23
Tallahassee 120 $65040 1.25
Tampa 430 $57910 0.59
St. Petersburg 430 $57910 0.59
Clearwater 430 $57910 0.59
The Villages 30 $67640 2.15

Georgia

     
Athens 50 $58240 1.01
Clarke County 50 $58240 1.01
Atlanta 750 $53000 0.51
Sandy Springs 750 $53000 0.51
Roswell 750 $53000 0.51
Gainesville 40 $54610 0.81
Macon 50 $61040 0.89
Savannah 70 $55670 0.75

Hawaii

     
Urban Honolulu 290 $37450 1.09

Idaho

     
Boise City 70 $38660 0.44
Idaho Falls 50 $47760 1.38
Coeur d'Alene 0 $64430 0
Pocatello 40 $58320 2.32

Illinois

     
Bloomington 60 $49360 1.1
Carbondale 30 $44970 1.11
Marion 30 $44970 1.11
Champaign 40 $57250 0.7
Urbana 40 $57250 0.7
Peoria 210 $52340 2.03
Rockford 60 $47720 0.7
Kankakee 40 $52430 1.74
Springfield 30 $53300 0.54

Indiana

     
Fort Wayne 200 $48150 1.62
Indianapolis 720 $58260 1.23
Carmel 720 $58260 1.23
Anderson 720 $58260 1.23
Elkhart 40 $53920 0.56
Goshen 40 $53920 0.56
Kokomo 60 $59130 2.65
Terre Haute 40 $57890 1

Iowa

     
Cedar Rapids 100 $42170 1.23
Des Moines 160 $48150 0.8
West Des Moines 160 $48150 0.8
Dubuque 30 $42970 0.97
Waterloo 60 $48340 1.19
Cedar Falls 60 $48340 1.19

Kansas

     
Topeka 220 $57540 3.45
Wichita 90 $55910 0.52

Kentucky

     
Bowling Green 60 $58970 1.55
Elizabethtown 50 $55550 1.65
Fort Knox 50 $55550 1.65
Owensboro 80 $48750 2.64
Lexington 240 $53400 1.54
Fayette 240 $53400 1.54

Louisiana

     
Alexandria 50 $44570 1.3
Baton Rouge 200 $56220 0.89
Hammond 30 $44750 1.37
Lafayette 140 $33060 1.13
Lake Charles 100 $31520 1.75
Monroe 30 $37640 0.71
New Orleans 250 $47550 0.75
Metairie 250 $47550 0.75
Shreveport 120 $41780 1.12
Bossier City 120 $41780 1.12

Maine

     
Portland 80 $52120 0.65
South Portland 80 $52120 0.65

Maryland

     
Baltimore 770 $58350 0.99
Columbia 770 $58350 0.99
Towson 770 $58350 0.99

Massachusetts

     
Leominster 60 $56730 1.98
Gardner 60 $56730 1.98
New Bedford 90 $60230 2.51
Pittsfield 0 $59290 0
Barnstable Town 130 $62430 2.26

Michigan

     
Ann Arbor 140 $48110 1.14
Battle Creek 60 $47300 1.76
Bay City 80 $43800 3.62
Flint 160 $47770 2.07
Grand Rapids 710 $45240 2.31
Wyoming 710 $45240 2.31
Jackson 0 $55630 0
Detroit 1740 $45510 1.55
Warren 1740 $45510 1.55
Dearborn 1740 $45510 1.55
Saginaw 140 $45040 2.82
Lansing 80 $49260 0.66
East Lansing 80 $49260 0.66
Kalamazoo 80 $51170 0.98
Portage 80 $51170 0.98
Muskegon 70 $39240 1.88
Niles 30 $47590 0.86
Benton Harbor 30 $47590 0.86

Minnesota

     
Rochester 30 $54940 0.46
St. Cloud 70 $44250 1.26

Mississippi

     
Gulfport 160 $45120 1.81
Biloxi 160 $45120 1.81
Pascagoula 160 $45120 1.81
Hattiesburg 50 $45020 1.52
Jackson 250 $39740 1.65

Missouri

     
Joplin 0 $48660 0
Springfield 220 $50780 1.92

Montana

     
Great Falls 30 $45100 1.67

Nebraska

     
Grand Island 60 $50240 2.27
Lincoln 90 $49110 0.93

Nevada

     
Reno 0 $36370 0
Las Vegas 370 $59720 0.69
Henderson 370 $59720 0.69
Paradise 370 $59720 0.69

New Hampshire

     
Manchester 100 $58140 1.61

New Jersey

     
Trenton 50 $58510 0.36

New Mexico

     
Albuquerque 100 $55130 0.47
Farmington 40 $48050 1.27
Las Cruces 0 $56390 0

New York

     
Albany 140 $43310 0.53
Schenectady 140 $43310 0.53
Troy 140 $43310 0.53
Glens Falls 70 $41180 2.15
Buffalo 300 $45370 0.93
Cheektowaga 300 $45370 0.93
Niagara Falls 300 $45370 0.93
Binghamton 30 $50250 0.56
Kingston 40 $48780 1.24
Rochester 280 $47830 0.93
Syracuse 220 $38820 1.21
Utica 130 $38390 1.87
Rome 130 $38390 1.87

North Carolina

     
Asheville 210 $60370 1.97
Fayetteville 120 $53910 1.58
Greensboro 160 $58440 0.76
High Point 160 $58440 0.76
Greenville 40 $56290 0.92
Hickory 130 $57750 1.51
Lenoir 130 $57750 1.51
Morganton 130 $57750 1.51
Durham 70 $57410 0.4
Chapel Hill 70 $57410 0.4
Raleigh 230 $58640 0.69
Rocky Mount 130 $65870 4.15
New Bern 50 $65880 1.88
Wilmington 90 $62110 1.32
Winston 90 $53700 0.6
Salem 90 $53700 0.6

Ohio

     
Akron 180 $56090 0.96
Canton 340 $61940 3.47
Massillon 340 $61940 3.47
Cleveland 860 $60160 1.43
Elyria 860 $60160 1.43
Columbus 690 $53930 1.17
Dayton 350 $59970 1.62
Lima 40 $46480 1.4
Mansfield 60 $57390 2.07
Springfield 70 $55190 2.35
Toledo 460 $54080 2.64

Oklahoma

     
Lawton 30 $65540 1.31
Oklahoma City 460 $55850 1.29
Tulsa 310 $57380 1.21

Oregon

     
Eugene 80 $58080 0.94
Salem 30 $57800 0.36
Medford 70 $56360 1.49

Pennsylvania

     
Altoona 70 $41900 2.1
Gettysburg 50 $56540 2.6
Harrisburg 300 $51610 1.64
Carlisle 300 $51610 1.64
Bloomsburg 60 $49430 2.3
Berwick 60 $49430 2.3
Johnstown 70 $42000 2.09
Chambersburg 40 $53250 1.06
Waynesboro 40 $53250 1.06
East Stroudsburg 30 $43190 1.07
Erie 150 $41930 1.99
Pittsburgh 920 $45750 1.38
Reading 80 $47050 0.8
Lancaster 220 $48760 1.63
Lebanon 40 $39160 1.44
Scranton 240 $47630 1.63
Wilkes 240 $47630 1.63
Barre 240 $47630 1.63
Hazleton 240 $47630 1.63
State College 30 $46520 0.81
Williamsport 50 $43620 1.5
York 120 $47160 1.15
Hanover 120 $47160 1.15

Puerto Rico

     
Aguadilla 30 $18000 1.31
Isabela 30 $18000 1.31
Ponce 50 $18730 1.3
Mayag´┐Żez 40 $18000 2.5
San Juan 430 $23410 1.08
Carolina 430 $23410 1.08
Caguas 430 $23410 1.08

South Carolina

     
Florence 70 $63030 1.54
Greenville 210 $53330 0.92
Anderson 210 $53330 0.92
Mauldin 210 $53330 0.92
Hilton Head Island 40 $49300 1.08
Bluffton 40 $49300 1.08
Beaufort 40 $49300 1.08
Charleston 140 $50700 0.73
North Charleston 140 $50700 0.73
Columbia 300 $69540 1.41
Spartanburg 130 $48660 1.59

South Dakota

     
Rapid City 40 $35550 0.99
Sioux Falls 90 $35640 1.09

Tennessee

     
Jackson 100 $53970 2.64
Johnson City 60 $54610 1.32
Cleveland 70 $64920 2.52
Knoxville 360 $49720 1.63
Morristown 60 $55950 2.41
Nashville 600 $56660 1.16
Davidson 600 $56660 1.16
Murfreesboro 600 $56660 1.16
Franklin 600 $56660 1.16

Texas

     
Amarillo 70 $56510 1.04
Austin 370 $66900 0.67
Round Rock 370 $66900 0.67
Houston 910 $65520 0.53
The Woodlands 910 $65520 0.53
Sugar Land 910 $65520 0.53
Beaumont 50 $68190 0.53
Port Arthur 50 $68190 0.53
Brownsville 40 $89470 0.51
Harlingen 40 $89470 0.51
College Station 50 $74390 0.83
Bryan 50 $74390 0.83
Corpus Christi 140 $81140 1.29
Dallas 1850 $80380 0.95
Fort Worth 1850 $80380 0.95
Arlington 1850 $80380 0.95
El Paso 320 $59200 1.84
San Antonio 770 $70980 1.37
New Braunfels 770 $70980 1.37
Laredo 80 $69350 1.36
Longview 70 $65930 1.21
Lubbock 80 $73580 0.95
McAllen 200 $69000 1.36
Edinburg 200 $69000 1.36
Mission 200 $69000 1.36
Midland 0 $54280 0
Killeen 80 $65960 0.97
Temple 80 $65960 0.97
Odessa 30 $58200 0.72
Sherman 30 $61240 1.36
Denison 30 $61240 1.36
Tyler 170 $74410 2.97
Victoria 60 $65450 2.5
Waco 60 $71510 0.86
Wichita Falls 90 $63460 2.59

Utah

     
Provo 80 $41450 0.63
Orem 80 $41450 0.63
St. George 40 $52710 1.15
Salt Lake City 190 $45410 0.48
Ogden 130 $55140 0.91
Clearfield 130 $55140 0.91

Virginia

     
Blacksburg 60 $56430 1.4
Christiansburg 60 $56430 1.4
Radford 60 $56430 1.4
Harrisonburg 60 $57730 1.64
Charlottesville 30 $48770 0.49
Richmond 400 $38580 1.11
Roanoke 120 $56740 1.39
Lynchburg 60 $62020 0.97

Washington

     
Bellingham 60 $62720 1.16
Mount Vernon 30 $45990 1.2
Anacortes 30 $45990 1.2
Kennewick 40 $56350 0.7
Richland 40 $56350 0.7
Olympia 50 $58250 0.86
Tumwater 50 $58250 0.86
Seattle 740 $59430 0.69
Tacoma 740 $59430 0.69
Bellevue 740 $59430 0.69
Spokane 120 $49020 0.92
Spokane Valley 120 $49020 0.92
Yakima 40 $42390 0.8

West Virginia

     
Beckley 100 $53420 3.68
Charleston 70 $47260 1.01
Parkersburg 50 $53220 1.96
Vienna 50 $53220 1.96
Morgantown 100 $25110 2.76

Wisconsin

     
Appleton 0 $52620 0
Fond du Lac 40 $57660 1.54
Green Bay 50 $47310 0.48
Janesville 30 $53120 0.93
Beloit 30 $53120 0.93
Eau Claire 50 $47740 1.11
Oshkosh 30 $54290 0.6
Neenah 30 $54290 0.6
Racine 50 $42740 1.2
Madison 120 $45800 0.54
Milwaukee 300 $51340 0.61
Waukesha 300 $51340 0.61
West Allis 300 $51340 0.61

Wyoming

     
Cheyenne 30 $54020 1.18
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Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Physical Therapist Assistants

To find out more about building a career as Physical Therapist Assistants, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

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Most Popular Industries (as of 2008) for:
Physical Therapist Assistants

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Industry Jobs Percent Salary
(2008)
Medical Office 32,360 52% $45,540
Hospital 19,050 31% $45,630
Nursing And Residential Care 6,890 11% $50,630
Office Services And Staffing 1,140 1% $52,250
Government 730 1% $42,450
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Schools by State

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Physical Therapist Assistants.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.