Physical Therapist Assistant
Rehabilitate patients under the supervision of a Physical Therapist.
Working as a Physical Therapy Assistant is a rewarding way to help people who have been injured or are regaining strength after a disease or surgery. Here’s what you need to know.
Do I need Physical Therapy Assistant certification?
Many college programs offer a Physical Therapy Assistant certificate. This designation aims to prepare you for the associate’s degree program, which is an employment requirement.
Before you get started on any Physical Therapy Assistant program, make sure it’s the job you want. Do some volunteer work and talk with Physical Therapists. If you decide later on that you want to become a Physical Therapist, the coursework for a Physical Therapy Assistant does not transition well, and will cost you time and money for reschooling.
If you want to work as a Physical Therapy Assistant, you’ll need to earn your associate’s degree. One path into the program is through a certificate in the field. Your certificate takes about one year to complete and covers classes that lay the groundwork for the rest of your Physical Therapy Assistant training program.
You’ll learn to speak medical terminology. It doesn’t exactly count as a second language, but it will prepare you for your assistant work nonetheless. Other courses cover basic anatomy, biology, and psychology.
Once you complete your certificate, you’ll need to enroll in the associate’s program. Most colleges structure the program so that you can make a smooth transition from one to the other. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Once you complete your associate’s degree, you’ll need to pass licensing exams for the state in which you work.