Across the wide range of careers and specializations present in the healthcare field that are aimed to prevent, treat, and provide care to patients, some are focused on managing the consequences of accidents, injuries, or diseases.
One of these specializations is Physical Therapy.
The main goal of Physical Therapy is to help patients improve their movement, ease pain and recover after medical procedures, injuries, accidents, or other conditions that might have seriously affected their normal movement and independence.
Two professionals specialize in this area, Physical Therapists (PTs), and Physical Therapists Assistants (PTAs).
In the next few sections, we’ll discuss the most important facts about PTAs, the necessary steps to become one, as well as the cost of PTA training.
Table of Contents
- What Are Physical Therapist Assistants?
- What Is the Difference Between a PTA and a PT?
- Where Do Physical Therapist Assistants Work?
- How Can I Become a Physical Therapist Assistant?
- How Long Does Physical Therapist Training Last?
- How Much Does Physical Therapist Training Cost?
What Are Physical Therapist Assistants?
Physical Therapist Assistants or PTAs, worked alongside PTs to provide treatment to patients of all ages that might have medical conditions, illnesses, disabilities, or living with the consequences of accidents, that have seen their lives affected by these issues and need help to regain independence, learn how to move and function again, or alleviate pain.
What Is the Difference Between a PTA and a PT?
Two differences separate PTAs from PTs.
The first one is their educational background.
Physical Therapist Assistants have more basic training than Physical Therapists have.
This limits their responsibilities and duties, which is the second difference between these two healthcare workers.
PTAs help patients with the treatment that has been carefully developed by the PT, after examining them in order to detect the patient’s main needs.
Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants work as part of a team to provide the best possible treatment and adjustment to patients.
Where Do Physical Therapist Assistants Work?
There are several settings where PTAs are able to work, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, private physical therapy practices, nursing care facilities, and home health, among others.
How Can I Become a Physical Therapist Assistant?
In order to become a PTA, you must enroll in a Physical Therapist Training program and then obtain certification.
Physical Therapist Assistant Training
PTA training programs are designed to offer students the necessary knowledge and practice to become Physical Therapist Assistants.
These programs may vary according to the institution or type of program, but the most common subjects taught are anatomy, biomechanics, clinical pathology, kinesiology, neuroscience, physiology, and behavioral sciences, among others.
Apart from theoretical classes, clinical experience is also provided.
PTA training programs award students with an Associate degree in Applied Science (AAS).
Training programs in this field must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
To obtain certification is necessary to take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
This test is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
Besides taking this exam, it might also be necessary to submit an application for licensure in the jurisdiction where you aspire to work.
Therefore, it’s important to always check the specific requirements to practice your profession where you live or aim to live.
How Long Does Physical Therapist Training Last?
Since Physical Therapist Training programs award an AAS degree, the typical duration of these programs is two years.
However, this might be longer if you are not able to study full-time.
How Much Does Physical Therapist Training Cost?
The city where you want to study, the institution, and the type of program are variables that might affect the total cost of Physical Therapist Training.
On average, obtaining an Associate’s degree in PTA could cost from $6,000 to $20,000.
The NPTE test has a fee of $485, the same price for PTs and PTAs.