How Long Does It Take To Become A Pt Assistant?

To become a physical therapy assistant, two years are required. Students typically register in physical therapy assistant programs leading to an associate’s degree. To increase their income potential, some PTAs do obtain physical therapy bachelor’s degrees. 

To become a PTA, you must complete a physical therapist assistant education program that has been approved by the Physical Therapy Education (PTE) and pass a state-administered national exam in order to receive the licensing or certification that is necessary in the majority of states.

Here is what you should know if you have the question, How long does it take to become a PT Therapist?

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Who is a PT Therapist?

Under the guidance and supervision of a physical therapist, physical therapist assistants offer physical therapy services. PTAs carry out various aspects of patient care, collect information about the treatments given, and work with the PT to adapt care as needed. 

From babies to those towards the end of their lives, PTAs help the physical therapist treat patients of all ages. Numerous patients require medical attention for wounds, impairments, or other health issues. However, PTAs also provide care for those who merely desire improved health and the avoidance of future issues.

The PTA’s services are under the control of the physical therapist. Each person will get a physical therapy evaluation, and a treatment plan will be created to help them move more easily, manage their pain, regain function, and avoid becoming disabled. 

PTAs have the power to significantly impact people’s lives. They support people in leading active lives, achieving their fitness goals, and regaining or maintaining their independence. 

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What is a Physical Therapist Assistant School Like?

The care of patients is handled directly by physical therapist assistants (PTAs). They work as a team to assist patients regain the strength and movement they need to go about their daily lives. Exercise, manual therapy, and functional training are a few of the treatments that PTAs provide. Additionally, they are in charge of gathering and documenting information about the patient’s therapies and advancement. 

You must graduate from a recognized program with an associate’s degree if you want to work as a physical therapist assistant. For many students, PTA school can be a hard experience. We created this thorough guide to give you the advice, strategies, and tools you’ll need to feel confident when you enroll in PTA school in order to give you a head start.

Physical therapy assistant training is a rigorous program that focuses on the human body, how to safeguard it, and how to build it up so that it may heal after an operation or accident. 

The majority of lessons use anatomical knowledge and medical terminology. Classes will concentrate on how the body functions and how to strengthen particular body parts. Since it’s an assistant program, the education also emphasizes collaborating with a physical therapist to give clients the best care possible. 

Along with your in-class work, you’ll likely need to do some clinicals or an internship where you may work in the field and get a feel for what it’s like to be a physical therapist assistant.

 This crucial resume builder can enable you to secure your first job after graduation. If they have the necessary openings, facilities frequently hire their interns. It’s crucial to leave a positive impression during clinicals if you want to land a job in the future.

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Is Attending a Physical Therapist Assistant School Worth it?

Physical therapists assist patients with chronic conditions, injuries, or illnesses in managing their pain and restoring their range of motion. Through treatment, exercises, stretching, and rehabilitation, physical therapists create tailored care programs for patients to improve mobility and stop future damage and suffering. 

A PT PhD is frequently necessary to practice as a physical therapist, usually known as a PT. In fact, it has been suggested by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)External link: open in new that physical therapy should only be performed by professionals who hold a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. 

You might be thinking about enrolling in an online doctor of physical therapy program if you have an interest in the human body and helping patients regain their mobility. It’s definitely worth it. 

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What Schooling Do I Need to Become a PT Assistant?

Step 1: 

Obtain an associate’s degree as a physical therapist assistant. 

According to the BLS, every state mandates that PTAs possess an Associate’s degree from an approved program. 

Although obtaining a degree may seem difficult, some PTA training may be finished in as little as 18 months. 2 In this formal schooling, there are classes, lab assignments, and clinical training.

Step 2: Pass the certification test 

All states, with the exception of Colorado and Hawaii, mandate that PTAs possess a license in addition to an Associate’s degree. 

The National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for physical therapist assistants is only open to candidates who have completed a PTA program. You’ll become a certified PTA after passing this exam. 

Before taking the NPTE, you should fully prepare for it. It is possible to repeat the exam, but you are only allowed to do so three times in a calendar year or six times overall. 

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website has further information about the NPTE. Continual education requirements for physical therapist assistants vary by state and may be required to keep their licenses current.

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Step 3: Review these in-demand PTA competencies 

You are virtually prepared to start your career as a PTA after receiving your Associate’s degree and passing the NPTE. But before diving headfirst into the job search process, it’s helpful to understand exactly what employers are looking for. 

That way, you’ll be ready to present yourself in the best possible light.

Even while a top-notch physical therapy assistant school will give you the technical know-how you need, having a little extra expertise in these skill areas can make your CV stand out to employers. 

To hone your talents, you might also think about participating in extracurricular activities. Volunteering at nursing homes is a great opportunity to demonstrate your interest in working with older populations, coaching children sports is a great way to enhance your training and motivational abilities, and Toastmasters can help you improve your ability to talk effectively and confidently.

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Step 4: Start applying and improving your interview and resume abilities. 

Taking the time to update and polish your resume will help increase your chances of obtaining a call back, regardless of the position you’re applying for. As you search, you should also practice your interviewing techniques. 

Be aware of your preferred areas of practice as you begin your job search. Do you want to work with athletes? older people? While it might not always be feasible, you can prioritize your search and keep yourself focused by focusing on your preferred field of physical therapy specialization on your CV and in your interview responses.

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Licensed PT Assistant in 2023?

It shouldn’t take you long to become a physical therapist assistant or physiotherapy assistant. An associate’s degree, which typically takes two years to get, is the standard prerequisite to work as a physical therapist assistant. 

During those two years, you will complete both theoretical study and some practical instruction. Make sure the program where you receive your degree has been approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. 

Physiotherapist assistants must be licensed or certified in every state in the US. You must take the National Physical Therapy Exam in order to pass it and obtain your license, which is necessary for you to practice physical therapy in your state.

Keep in mind that depending on the regulations set forth by your state, you may need to continue completing coursework every year or so in order to maintain your license. For physical therapy assistants, certification in BLS or CPR may also be necessary.

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How Much Does it Cost to Become a Licensed PT Assistant?

The typical training period for physical therapist assistants lasts two years and leads to an associate’s degree. We advise you to look into the physical therapy assistant training courses offered online. 

Throughout the United States, technical colleges and community colleges provide physical therapy assistant programs. 

Even for students who attend school in their native state, community colleges provide less expensive tuition than private technical colleges, however private institutions may have more accommodating schedules for working adults. 

The annual fee at a community college can be as little as $2,500, while it can be as high as $10,000 at a private institution. For instance, the total cost of tuition for a two-year degree at St. Petersburg College in Florida is $5,308 for in-state students whereas the cost is much higher at $18,254 for out-of-state students. 

Students at the private technical institution Pima Medical Institute in Denver spend $344 per credit and over $20,000 in tuition to complete the 60-credit program leading to an AA degree. 

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) certification is required by the majority of states, and it costs $350 to take the exam.

Some jurisdictions also demand certification in CPR and first aid, which can be earned at Red Cross or American Heart Association chapters. The cost of each lesson varies by location and is normally under $100. 

However, at community colleges and universities that offer PTA training, the book costs are the same as at any other college course of study and range from $700 to $1,300 annually, depending on the program. Technical schools frequently include books as part of their fees.

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Salary and Job Outlook for PT Assistant after Study

In May 2021, the median yearly salary for physical therapist assistants was $29,200. The wage at which half of the employees in a profession made more money than that amount and half made less is known as the median wage. The bottom 10% earned less than $22,140, while the top 10% made more than $37,920. 

In May 2021, the average yearly pay for aides to physical therapists was $61,180. The bottom 10% earned less than $37,280, while the top 10% made more than $80,170. 

The following are the major sectors where physical therapist assistants were employ in May 2021 and their median yearly salaries: 

  • Assisted living facilities (skilled nursing facilities) –   $37,090 
  • Hospitals, both public and private, costing – 30,230 Doctor’s offices 
  • Government 29,020 
  • 28,920 offices for audiologists, physical, occupational, and speech therapists 

The following are the major sectors where physical therapist assistants were employed in May 2021 and their median yearly salaries: 

  • healthcare provided at home – $76,600 
  • Assisted living facilities (skilled nursing facilities) 


  • State, local, and private hospitals – $61,280
  • offices for audiologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists – $59,720 
  • offices for doctors 58,190 

Although part-time employment is frequent, the majority of physical therapy assistants and aides work full-time. Many physical therapy offices and clinics offer extended hours to accommodate patients’ schedules, therefore some work nights and weekends.

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Job outlook

Physical therapist assistants and aides’ total employment is expected to increase by 24 percent between 2021 and 2031, which is substantially faster than the average for all occupations. 

Over the next ten years, there are expected to be, on average, 25,500 openings for physical therapist assistants and aides. Many of those positions are anticipated to be brought on by the need to replace workers who change careers or leave the workforce due to retirement. 

As more people join older age groups, notably the sizable baby-boom generation, the demand for physical treatment is anticipated to rise. Compared to earlier generations, this group is keeping more active into their later years.

Compared to earlier generations, this group is keeping more active into their later years. However, a large number of baby boomers are also approaching the peak risk for strokes, heart attacks, and accidents involving mobility, which is raising the demand for physical therapy, which is necessary for recovery. 

In order to help patients maintain their mobility and manage the impacts of chronic illnesses like diabetes and obesity, more physical therapist assistants and aides will be required.

 In addition, advances in medicine and technology should make it possible for more trauma victims and infants born with birth abnormalities to survive, increasing the need for therapy and rehabilitation programs. 

Also in order to keep the cost of physical therapy services down, physical therapists are expected to rely on physical therapist assistants, especially in long-term care settings. This should assist in growth of PT Assistant. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth it to work as a PT? 

Physical therapy could be a rewarding career for you if you’re an outgoing person who enjoys getting to know people while working. Physical therapists can assist patients in regaining their mobility or level of activity, making this a satisfying profession for those who value fostering professional connections.

What kind of PT is compensated the highest? 

The following four physical therapist positions often pay well: Nursing facilities Geriatric patients receive the majority of the care given by physical therapists who work in nursing homes. Physical therapists in home health care visit their patients’ homes to administer treatment.

How much do assistants to physical therapists make? 

A physical therapist assistant makes $52,000 on average annually. Salary varies according to role, years of experience, level of education, place of residence, and practicing environment.


You must complete a physical therapist assistant education program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education in order to work as a physical therapist assistant in the United States, as well as pass a national exam that is administered by the state in order to obtain the license or certification that is needed in the majority of states. 

A PTA program normally lasts two years (five semesters). Anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, clinical pathology, behavioral sciences, communication, and ethics/values are just a few examples of the primary core areas in the program.



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