Physical therapy assistants (PTA) work with a physical therapist to diagnose and treat patients suffering from illness or injury that negatively impacts mobility. This work involves examining the patient to develop a treatment plan designed to improve mobility, promote healing and wellness, reduce pain, or all of the above. The PTA also works with his or her patients to implement lifestyle changes to help avoid future issues and health problems.
Virginia Physical Therapy Assistant Schools
In order to receive a license to work as a PTA, you must complete a two-year, college level program for physical therapy assistants. Here are some examples of PTA schools in Virginia:
- Northern Virginia Community College: This school offers a Physical Therapy Assistant Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program open to all students over age 18 that pass the placement test.
- Wytheville Community College: This school's PTA program, which awards graduates with an AAS, is approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
- South University Richmond: Graduates of this school's PTA program receive an AAS degree. The program is CAPTE-approved.
- Jefferson College of Health Sciences: This school offers an AAS program in Physical Therapy Assistant where students move from classroom to lab to a clinical setting.
- Riverside: To enroll in the AAS, CAPTE-approved program for Physical Therapy Assistants at this school, students must complete, and pass, prerequisite coursework.
What to Expect from Virginia Physical Therapy Assistant Programs
Since a career as a physical therapy assistant requires a two-year degree rather than certification, expect to complete "core" classes, such as English, Math, and Psychology. Each school offering a PTA program has prerequisites in these subjects, as well as medical terminology and physiology.
Common PTA courses include:
- Musculoskeletal function and structure
- Therapeutic procedures
- Rehabilitation procedures
- Clinical education
- Cooperative education
Virginia Physical Therapy Assistant License
The state of Virginia requires all physical therapy assistants to obtain a license. In addition, you must complete a two-year college-level program, pass Board examination, and be over the age of 18. Here are some other things to keep in mind if you're pursuing your license in this state:
- If you previously worked as a licensed PTA, you may obtain a Virginia license by endorsement.
- Licenses remain on file for one year and then must be reapplied for, with appropriate fees submitted.
- Virginia allows trainee program participants to obtain a PTA license if they complete 1,000 training hours in an approved facility, with only three trainees per licensed physical therapist.
- To renew your license each year, you must complete 30 Continuing Education hours, plus a minimum of 160 hours of active practice.
- Active duty military personnel who miss their renewal deadline due to deployment have 60 days to renew upon return to the United States. Provide a copy of Form DD214.
Resources for Physical Therapy Assistants in Virginia
To keep track of licensing requirements, developments in the industry, and more, check out the following resources for a physical therapy assistant.