Earning a Physical Therapy Assistant Licence

A career as a physical therapy assistant can be a challenging yet rewarding job for those looking for a healthcare position where they will be directly involved with patient care and rehabilitation.
There are a number of different types of training courses that one can take to become trained in this field which include various vocational courses and full college degree courses, both in a classroom setting as well as online.
Though the degree courses are more recommended in general, any qualified and accredited course that prepares students to test for their physical therapy assistant license can be sufficient, as long as they pass the examination. In order for one to become legally employed as a physical therapy assistant after their training, individuals in the US and Canada are required to pass this exam, then maintain their licensure in the future with periodic, required continuing education.
Getting a Physical Therapy Assistant Licence
Educational requirements in order for someone to be hired as a physical therapy assistant varies from state to state, and across provinces, but in general, all – except for Canada and Hawaii – require that the prospective employee be licensed by that state.
The licensure examination given by either the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy or the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators is a national, board-certified examination and the same for everyone, regardless of location. Passing the exam can be challenging, but its purpose is to ensure that all PTAs have prepared for their career with the best education possible, and they are ready to enter this job field.
Besides the examination itself, there is usually a general criminal background check as well, since anyone employed as a PTA will be working in potentially sensitive situations with patients.
In the UK, while there is no actual license to become a physiotherapy assistant as qualifications for the position are based largely on previous work experience in an entry-level setting and any educational training employees may enroll themselves in, registration with the National Health Service is required.
Certain assistant physiotherapy practitioner positions require candidates to have not only continued education in one or more topics relating to their specialty, but have a solid work history of great performance behind them. Some of these more concentrated positions can require physiotherapy assistants to pass a test, but this requirement seems to be individual, based on the specialty itself.
Keeping A Physical Therapy Assistant License Current
After passing their exam and gaining the title of licensed physical therapy assistant, PTAs are also required to uphold their licensure by not only filing for registration and renewal as required (usually every 1 to 2 years), but keeping up with continuing education opportunities, which are also required.
Depending on the state, license renewals require a certain amount of continuing education credits that PTAs earn by attending accredited educational seminars and other learning sessions; along with CE credits, they are also required to have worked a certain number of hours during their previous years and also undergo periodic criminal background checks.
In other words, passing the test the first time is enough to enable a PTA to seek employment, but they must work hard at keeping their education and skills up to date, and be an all around good employee and citizen in order to maintain their license. Anyone losing their license to practice is ineligible for employment as a PTA until they manage to regain it.
Additionally, any PTAs who are licensed in one state and relocate to another must undergo the procedure of testing for licensure again. This also holds true for any PTAs who relocate from the US to Canada and vice-versa.
PTAs who relocate to the UK must register with the NHS and they will be graded on an individual basis on skills and experience based on education and licensure, and a number of other qualifications.
Those relocating from the UK to the US are required to enroll in an educational program the same as any other US student, then pass the physical therapy assistant license exam in their state of residence.
Candidates interested in this field of study are highly encouraged to get the best education they possibly can, with an accredited school that will provide appropriate preparation for work as a PTA and passing physical therapy assistant license testing.
A 2-year Associates Degree is recommended for those looking for the most career opportunities, as well as the chance to advance their career by continuing education to become a regular, licensed physical therapist. Also, as the medical industry continues to shape and grow so steadily,
it is estimated that the requirements for students to be able to take their licensing exams will increase, first to a required 2-year degree, and potentially to a 4-year degree. It is uncertain at this time what kind of concessions will be made for already licensed PTAs, and what kind of additional education they will be required to get.