Becoming a physical therapist assistant (PTA) can be an excellent decision in today’s economy. The growing number of elderly individuals, increased emphasis on physical fitness and a growing need for physical rehabilitation services has ensured that the demand for licensed PTAs is showing strong growth across the United States.
The Benefits of Becoming a PTA in Rhode Island
Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has determined that there are at least 71,000 job openings for qualified PTAs in the United States.
Furthermore, that number is expected to increase to about 100,700 by 2022, representing a 41 percent increase between 2012 and 2022. This represents a job growth rate that is far greater than the average national job growth rate. In addition, job attrition from promotions, retirements and other sources will result in a strong and continuing need for qualified PTAs for the foreseeable future.
Furthermore, the salary levels that are currently enjoyed by PTAs are extremely competitive with the wage levels that other career fields enjoy. The BLS has reported the PTAs enjoy an annual median salary of over $52,000.
In addition, PTAs often have very generous benefit packages, including vacation time and comprehensive individual and family insurance coverage.
Wage levels can exceed $72,000 for those PTAs in the top ten percent of annual wage earners. This is especially true for PTAs who have become certified in various physical therapy specialties or who are experienced in their field.
Rhode Island and PTAs
Working as a Rhode Island PTA can be an excellent choice for individuals who wish to work in a region that currently enjoys a vibrant mixture of urban and rural living and the close availability of a wide range of cultural, educational and entertainment resources. Because of the state’s close proximity to other major American urban centers, PTAs working in this region can enjoy a great deal of flexibility in their living and working arrangements.
In addition, this state is an excellent place to raise a family due to the extensive educational resources available to children of any age. When combined with the excellent pay rates most PTAs enjoy, Rhode Island should be considered highly attractive for PTAs of all ages.
Becoming a PTA in Rhode Island
Rhode Island requires that all practicing PTAs be licensed by the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Department of Health. It is important to note that even those individuals who currently possess a license from another state must obtain a current Rhode Island PTAs license before they will be allowed to work in the state.
Licensure by Endorsement
Individuals who are currently licensed in another state with licensure requirements that are substantially equal to Rhode Island’s licensing requirements. However, anyone seeking licensure by this route should consult with the Rhode Island licensing authorities in order to ensure that they are eligible before moving to or seeking employment within the state.
Licensure by Examination
Most licensed PTAs in Rhode Island obtain their licensure via examination. Individuals seeking this type of licensure must complete the following steps:
- Complete an accredited PTA program.
- Successfully take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and have the results transmitted to the Department of Health.
- Completely fill out and submit the application and licensing fee.
Most PTA programs are offered by community colleges, vocational training centers and some adult education programs. In most cases, a full-time student will take approximately two years to complete the program, after which they are provided an associate degree.
For those students who cannot attend classes on the full-time basis, there are a number of part-time and online programs that can allow the student to complete the PTA program on a schedule of his or her choosing.
All PTA programs must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). It is extremely important that the student ensure that his or her school is currently in good standing with the CAPTE. For those students who have completed a foreign program, they must provide documentation that proves that the program is substantially equal to CAPTE accredited programs.
The NPTE is a comprehensive examination designed to test the candidate’s academic and practical qualifications to work as a licensed PTA. This examination is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Only individuals who have completed their PTA program or the equivalent are eligible to take the NPTE.
If the candidate fails to pass the NPTE, he or she may retake the test no more than three times. Any individual who has failed the test three or more times must establish an acceptable plan of remedial study with the Board before he or she will be allowed to retake the test. For this reason, candidates should only take the examination when they are confident of their ability to successfully complete it.
Becoming a Rhode Island PTA is an excellent choice for newly graduated individuals and already employed workers seeking to transfer to a new career alike. In addition to providing a financially rewarding career, working as a PTA also can be a personally fulfilling job.
In fact, PTAs enjoy a great deal of respect from their fellow healthcare professionals, the public and their patients. For this reason, those who are seeking a job in America’s growing healthcare sector should seriously consider becoming a Rhode Island PTA.
PTA Training In Rhode Island