To get a physical therapy assistant certification, you must fulfill certain education and examination requirements, as you must have a state-issued license to practice and get employment.
To earn the certification in this field, you need to pass a national board certification examination, which makes you eligible for licensure within your state. The following are the steps you must take to get a certification.
Physical Therapist Assistant Certification Steps
Before you can begin training towards a certification, you must hold either a high school diploma or general education development (GED).
It is also advisable to get some practical experience as an intern at a health care institution to see if you’re really suited to this field.
Since there is stiff competition for placement in PTA training, it’s important to adapt your studies as much as you can towards health sciences, such as anatomy, biology and physics. This will increase your chances of getting admitted to a program.
Apply to a college/school that offers a PTA program accredited by CAPTE. To check if the school you’re applying to is properly accredited, check out the CAPTE website here.
The course must also be wholly recognized by your state of practice as well as meet all its requirements. There’s a variety of PTA schools so you can choose one depending on reputation, location, cost and the type of program offered.
In most states, you’ll need up to 5 semesters covering the coursework you need to practice in this field.
The coursework will include subjects such as anatomy, kinesiology and pathology. There’s a hybrid online course that allows you to finish your academics over the internet.
The following 16 weeks are clinical training. Done under the watch of a licensed physical therapist, Clinical training is only done in person whether you’ve finished the academic course in class or over the internet.
Finally, you may apply for licensure in the state you want to practice. You’ll have to take either a state or national examination.
Also, there may be other requirements specific to a state that you must meet before you’re fully licensed. For instance, you may have to have completed a first aid certification or CPR before you can get fully registered.
Advancing your PTA training
Once you’ve finished these 5 steps, you’ll be fully certified to work as a PTA. Some people choose to advance their education and specialization to open doors to better paying work.
Additionally, many people will aim to become fully certified physical therapists, and this is a natural next step to take in this career.
With the growth of the health care field in the states and all over the world, it’s now a good time to get the relevant training to become a PTA. Having an Associate Degree as well as obtaining a PTA certification license now can end up being beneficial for you in the future.