With the U.S. population aging rapidly, demand for all health care related services is also growing. Because older Americans are staying active longer, the need for physical therapy services is also on the rise. Becoming a physical therapy assistant, or PTA, is a great way to earn a living while helping others recover from illness or injuries.
North Carolina physical therapy assistant programs offer area students the ability to receive career training in a well-paying and in-demand field. With the need for physical therapy services exploding, a wealth of career opportunities are available to those with the proper training and the right temperament. Fortunately, aspiring physical therapy assistants in North Carolina have a number of different educational options located throughout the state.
North Carolina Physical Therapy Assistant Schools
North Carolina physical therapy assistant programs can be found at a number of technical and community colleges located throughout the state. Here are a few examples:
- Central Piedmont Community College: Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) has been serving students in the Charlotte area for over 50 years. In addition to its more than 70 areas of academic study, the school also offers continuing education, corporate training, and college and career readiness programs. CPCC offers distance education courses as an alternative to on campus programs. Student services, a career hub, and academic assistance are also available. Graduates of the physical therapy assistance program will be eligible to sit for the PTA National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE).
- Fayetteville Technical Community College: Serving over 42,000 students annually, Fayetteville Technical Community College offers more than 200 technical, occupational, general education, continuing education, and college transfer programs. Students may earn professional certificates, diplomas, or Associate's degrees depending on the program they pursue. The school offers a variety of clubs and activities, a student learning center, and programs designed to support students who are military veterans. Some program offerings are available in an online format. Physical therapy assistant students are expected to complete the program in 5 semesters of full-time study.
- Guilford Technical Community College: Located in Jamestown, NC, Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) serves students residing in Guilford County and the surrounding area. With dozens of degree and career training programs available, GTCC also offers continuing education and other non-credit courses. In addition to on-campus courses, students may pursue online degrees through the school. The physical therapy assistant program requires a four-semester commitment and results in an Associate's degree.
- South College - Ashville: This school offers an 8-quarter physical therapy assistant program with courses held during morning, afternoon, and evening hours. Completion of the program qualifies graduates to sit for their licensure exam. In addition to the physical therapy assistant program, South College offers a number of academic programs with degree outcomes ranging from professional certificates to Bachelor's degrees.
- Craven Community College: Those seeking employment as physical therapy assistants in North Carolina may wish to consider Craven Community College. Graduates of the program will earn an Associate's degree and be eligible to sit for their licensing exam. With two locations in New Bern and Havelock, Craven Community College awards more than two dozen different Associate's degrees, certificates, and diplomas.
North Carolina Physical Therapy Assistant Programs
Physical therapy assistants help patients manage pain and regain movement after an illness or injury. They work under the supervision of a physical therapist and are directly involved with treating patients. Some duties include assisting patients with exercises, preparing treatment areas, and performing treatments like stretches. Degree programs typically include courses in:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Introduction to Psychology
- Physical Therapy Procedures
- Therapeutic Exercise
- Health Care Resources
- Functional Anatomy
Successful physical therapy assistants typically have an interest in health related professions and a drive to help others. PTAs must exhibit high levels of compassion and possess good people skills. They must also have the physical capability of spending long hours on their feet as well as working from bent and stooped positions.
More Requirements for Physical Therapy Assistants in North Carolina
As in all states, physical therapy assistants in North Carolina are required to be licensed. PTAs must earn at least an Associate's degree and pass the PTA National Physical Therapy Exam administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Graduates must also complete the appropriate amount of practical clinical hours required by the State of North Carolina. Physical therapy programs in North Carolina can help students meet these requirements.
Once these conditions are met, physical therapy assistants can apply for licensure and pay the required fee. In North Carolina, licenses must be renewed on an annual basis. Physical therapy assistants in North Carolina must acquire 20 hours of continuing education every three years to remain licensed.
- Physical Therapy Assistant, Central Piedmont Community College, https://www.cpcc.edu/health_sciences/physical-therapist-assistant
- Physical Therapy Assistant, Fayetteville Technical Community College, http://www.faytechcc.edu/academics/health-programs/physical-therapist-assistant/
- Physical Therapy Assistant, Guilford Technical Community College, http://degreeprograms.gtcc.edu/physical-therapist-assistant/
- Physical Therapy Assistant, South College - Ashville, http://www.southcollegenc.edu/areas-of-study/associate-of-applied-science/physical-therapist-assistant/
- Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA), Craven Community College, http://cravencc.edu/academics/degrees/physical-therapist-assistant/
- Physical Therapy Assistants and Aides, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2015-16 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm