Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Kentucky
America’s healthcare sector is experiencing sustained and robust growth in the field of physical therapy.
Because of an increasing emphasis on rehabilitative care, elective physical therapy procedures and the growing number of the elderly, physical therapy assistants are finding themselves in great demand.
Physical Therapist Assistants in Kentucky
Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has determined that there are over 1,300 physical therapy assistants employed in Kentucky.
Furthermore, the BLS has predicted that there will be a 46 percent increase in the number of available physical therapist assistant jobs by 2020.
When combined with retirements and other sources of attrition among currently employed therapist assistants, this ensures that newly licensed professionals will enjoy very promising job opportunities.
The most common areas of employment for physical therapist assistants are the following:
- Ambulatory care clinics.
- Public and private hospitals.
- Convalescent homes, long-term rehabilitation centers and eldercare facilities.
Usually, physical therapy assistants work a regular schedule and meet their patients according to previously arranged appointments.
Therapy assistants who are working in a hospital setting may have other duties that require them to assist other medical professionals, but most other physical therapy assistants work a regular eight-hour shift.
The Duties of the Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical therapist assistants, in cooperation with physical therapists, physicians and other medical professionals, help develop a course of physical therapy for their patients. Each patient usually requires an individualized plan, which must be regularly evaluated and modified as the patient’s needs change.
In most cases, the physical therapist assistant works directly with his or her patients, under the general supervision of a physical therapist.
Because of this, the therapist assistant must be capable of working with patients while maintaining a professional and supportive personal manner.
Finally, the physical therapist assistant must have excellent communication skills. In addition to communicating with the patient and other medical professionals, the therapist assistant will often be called upon to train the patient’s caregivers in how to assist the patient in carrying out his or her therapy once discharged from the hospital.
This can be especially important when working with children or individuals with impaired cognitive skills, as they will require a greater degree of assistance from their caregivers.
Becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant in Kentucky
The Kentucky Board of Physical Therapy is in charge of licensing physical therapy assistants in the state.
- Complete an accredited program for physical therapy assistants.
- If the student attended a foreign program, he or she must provide evidence that it is substantially equivalent to an accredited program.
- Successfully complete the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
- If seeking licensure by endorsement, the candidate must provide evidence that the standards for licensure in his or her home state are equivalent to the standards established by the Board.
Physical Therapist Assistant Programs
Many institutions offer physical therapy assistant programs, including both vocational schools and community colleges.
These programs help train the student in the skills that they will be required to master in order to become a licensed physical therapy assistant. In addition to classroom instruction, many programs include classes where the student will work with actual patients while under the supervision of his or her instructors.
In addition to full-time programs, many schools allow their students to maintain a part-time class schedule.
This allows students who are employed or otherwise unable to attend the school as full-time students to complete the program at their own pace. This is especially useful for older individuals who are seeking to become physical therapy assistants.
All programs must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The CAPTE works to ensure that all accredited schools conform to high standards of educational and professional excellence.
Because many states will not accept graduation from a non-accredited program, the student should also make certain to verify his or her program’s accreditation status.
The NPTE is designed to ensure that the student has mastered the practical and academic knowledge needed to work as a licensed physical therapy assistant.
Although Kentucky allows students to repeat the NPTE if they fail it, many states place a limit on the number of times a student may attempt to pass the NPTE, regardless of where they take the test.
For this reason, the candidate should ensure that he or she is fully prepared for the NPTE before taking the examination.
Licensure by Endorsement and Foreign Students
For those individuals who have been licensed in another state, Kentucky offers licensure by endorsement.
These individuals must provide proof that they were educated at a CAPTE accredited program and have passed the NPTE. Finally, they must provide proof that they are currently licensed in at least one other jurisdiction.
Those students who have completed a foreign program must be able to show that the foreign program is substantially equivalent to a CAPTE accredited program. Because the process of evaluating the candidate’s education may be lengthy, it is important to start this process as soon as possible in order to avoid delays in licensure.
Becoming a physical therapist assistant in Kentucky is an excellent way to enter a highly respected profession with promising advancement and salary prospects.
Due to the growing demand for qualified physical therapy assistants, newly licensed assistants can continue to expect favorable employment options for the foreseeable future. Because of this, those seeking a dependable and personally rewarding career should seriously consider becoming a licensed Kentucky PTA.
Because of this, those seeking a dependable and personally rewarding career should seriously consider becoming a licensed Kentucky physical therapy assistant.