Physical Therapy Assistant Certification and License Requirements

Having a career in physical therapy requires that you become a certified professional. Even if you work as a physical therapist assistant, there is still a need to undergo certification.

Currently, there are various accredited programs all over the country which offer physical therapy assistant certification. Students need to apply for and complete either of the PTA courses in order to qualify for certification.

Becoming a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant

Becoming a physical therapist assistant is a profession that you can only practice if you have been certified. There are different rules for certification for every state and there are also varying physical therapy assistant programs that are approved by the American Physical Therapy Association’s Commission.

Some of the coursework that you need to take are the following:

  • Biology
  • Human growth and development
  • Chemistry, and other specialized programs

The PTA Licensure Exam

After fulfilling the requirements and completing the PTA program, a student is now eligible to take the National and State Licensure examinations. It is a requirement that you pass these exams prior to gaining any kind of employment in any state. You also get to work with a physical therapist or a doctor only if you have satisfied the exam requirements in the state that you want to work in. Whether you’ll be working in a hospital, nursing home, a private clinic or corporate facilities, you still need to be certified in order to be called a professional PTA. If not, you simply can’t work!

The National Physical Therapist Exam

The National Physical Therapist Exam (NPTE) was created by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, wherein the fifty states and three other jurisdictions use the said exam to gauge whether a PTA is eligible to work or not.

This exam is a computer-based assessment test for PTA candidates which is given for a total of 4 hours, covering different topics related to physical therapy. Physical therapists take this exam for a total of 5 hours.

There are 300 testing centers all over the country, Canada and other U.S. territories. After passing this specific exam, you need to complete other requirements that the State Licensing Board may ask of you prior to practicing in any of the states.

Physical Therapy Assistant Certification Requirements in CA

If the applicant is a registered and licensed PTA in a district or territory outside of California and wishes to practice nursing in this state, then he should have the equivalent exam and licensing requirements that CA asks of its PTAs. His credentials must also be evaluated by any of the following groups:

  • ICA
  • ICD
  • IEC
  • IERF

The Physical Therapy Board of CA
2005 Evergreen Street,
Ste 1350, Sacramento,
CA 95815
(916) 561-8200

The Physical Therapy Assistant Certification Requirements in FL

In this state, the applicants don’t need to take the NPTE as long as they show proof that they have passed the American Registry Examination before 1971. The licensing board in this State is the only one that can determine if the exam and licensing requirements are as high as the standards that are set in FL.

Board of Physical Therapy Practice in FL
4052 Bald Cypress Way Bin #C05 Tallahassee,
Florida 32399-3255
(850) 414-6860

 PTA Certification Requirements in IL

The State Licensing Board is willing to let a PTA practice in the state as long as he has taken an equivalent licensing exam elsewhere. The applicant whose first language isn’t English needs to show a certification of passage for TSE and TOEFL.

Department of Professional Regulation
320 W Washington 3rd Floor,
Springfield, IL 62786
(217) 782-8556

PTA Certification Requirements in MA

The Licensing Board in this State can allow a licensed PTA from any state or U.S. territory to practice his profession within Florida, meaning, there are no additional exams that need to be taken.

Those who weren’t educated in English need to pass the TWE and TOEFL.

Board of Registration of Allied Health Professionals
239 Causeway Street, Ste 500,
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 727-3071

After Meeting the Requirements…

If you have finally met the requirements for PTA certification in your state, then you will finally be given the designation of physical therapist assistant. Officially, you can now help victims of accidents and injuries as well as patients who are suffering from back pain, cerebral palsy, head trauma, or any other debilitating illness.

You can also do the following duties

  • Help a patient restore mobility
  • Measure the patient’s range of motion, motor function and strength
  • Gauge a patient’s muscle capacity
  • Implement the treatments that were formulated by a physical therapist
  • Use ultrasound equipment, electrical stimulation, traction, and cold or hot compresses.

PTA certification isn’t a complex process. All you have to do is to submit the requirements and pass a few exams and you’re on your way to a rewarding career as a physical therapist assistant.