On Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Michigan
In today’s healthcare sector, physical therapist assistants are in great demand in hospitals, rehabilitation centers and private doctor’s offices alike.
For this reason, becoming a PTA can be an excellent choice for an individual who is seeking to become a healthcare professional.
The Growing Demand for Physical Therapist Assistants
Physical therapy has become a vital component of the patient’s recovery process. Whether it is a traumatic injury, long-term illness or degenerative neural condition, physical therapy can dramatically improve the patient’s ability to continue to live a normal and independent life. Additionally, elective physical therapy, whether it is for weight control or sports medicine, is also becoming increasingly common in America.
For this reason, physical therapy assistants are seeing a dramatic increase in available job opportunities.
Currently the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of available physical therapy assistant jobs will increase by 46 percent until 2020. Due to this, newly licensed physical therapist assistants can expect excellent job and salary options.
Becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant in Michigan
Currently, every state requires that physical therapist assistants be licensed before they will be allowed to practice. Michigan licenses physical therapy assistants through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
The state currently requires that individuals seeking licensure have the following qualifications:
- Complete a program for physical therapy assistants that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
- Successfully take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
- Successfully complete the state jurisprudence examination.
- If the candidate is licensed in another state, he or she may apply to obtain licensure by endorsement.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program
PTA programs are available at many community colleges and vocational schools. These programs focus on training the student in how best to carry out the duties of a physical therapy assistant.
In addition to classroom instruction, many of these courses include work with actual patients in a clinical setting, under the supervision of licensed physical therapy workers.
In most cases, these programs will take about two years for a full-time student to complete and confer an associate’s degree upon the successful graduates.
However, many programs also allow part-time and distance learning options for those students who cannot attend on a traditional schedule. This option is especially beneficial for individuals who must continue working at another job while completing the program.
Finally, it is important that the student ensure that his or her program is accredited by the CAPTE. In general, Michigan will not accept course work from non-accredited programs.
Information on whether or not a program is accredited by the CAPTE can be obtained from the CAPTE or the school itself.
The NPTE is a comprehensive examination that ensures that any individual that graduates is well prepared for the academic and practical aspects of working as a physical therapy assistant.
Michigan puts no limitations on how many times a student can retake the NPTE, however a student can only take the test three times in any given year.
In addition, retaking the NPTE may require reapplying to the state for licensure, so it is important that a student only take the NPTE when he or she is confident of passing the test.
The State Jurisprudence Examination
In addition to completing the NPTE, the student must also complete Michigan’s jurisprudence examination for physical therapist assistants.
This exam is intended to evaluate the candidate’s understanding of how state law interacts with the duties and rights of the physical therapist assistant. There are no limitations on how many times the student may retake this test.
Licensure by Endorsement
If the candidate is already licensed in another state, he or she may seek licensure by endorsement.
Michigan will require proof that the individual is currently licensed in another state. Furthermore, individuals seeking licensure by endorsement must still take and pass the state’s jurisprudence examination.
The Benefits of Becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant
In addition to an expanding job market, there are a number of benefits to becoming a physical therapy assistant in Michigan.
The BLS currently estimates that the median salary for physical therapy assistants in the state is over $43,000 dollars, and that is expected to continue to keep pace with inflation and cost of living increases.
In addition, this salary is competitive with other Michigan jobs that require similar levels of education and state licensure requirements.
Finally, physical therapy assistants will enjoy a high degree of respect from their fellow medical professionals and the general public alike. Whether they are working in a major hospital or as part of an outpatient care facility, the physical therapist assistant will form a vital link in the process of ensuring that the patient receives the high quality care he or she requires.
For this reason, individuals who are interested in a well paying and personally rewarding career should seriously consider becoming a physical therapy assistant.