On Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Minnesota
The field of physical therapy is an increasingly important component of any full spectrum healthcare system. Because of this, the demand for qualified physical therapists and physical therapy assistants is higher than ever before.
For those seeking a well-compensated career in the healthcare industry, becoming a physical therapy assistant in Minnesota can be an excellent choice
Physical Therapy and the Healthcare Sector
Physical therapy is used for a wide range of purposes in the modern healthcare sector.
In many cases, effective physical therapy is vital in order to ensure that the patient can recover fully from illness or injury.
Among the most common uses for physical therapy are the following:
- Providing effective therapy to help a patient regain full use of his or her limbs after a severe accident.
- Reconditioning the patient’s overall physical fitness after he or she is bedridden for a prolonged period of time.
- Engaging in physical therapy to assist in restoring full circulatory function after heart surgery.
- Physical therapy is often used in order to assist the elderly maintain the ability to engage in an active lifestyle.
- For those who have suffered the amputation of a limb, physical therapy is used to help them learn how to effectively make use of any prostheses.
What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?
A physical therapist assistant is a medical professional who works with the physical therapist in developing and implementing a therapy program for the patient.
The assistant is usually supervised by a physical therapist or other medical professional, although the assistant will work independently with patients.
Employment Options for Physical Therapist Assistants
There are a wide range of employment options for physical therapist assistants. In addition to employment in primary care facilities such as hospitals, a wide range of other establishments currently employ physical therapist assistants. Among the most popular are the following:
- Convalescent homes and rehabilitation facilities.
- In-home care organizations.
- Sports and fitness associations.
- Private physical therapy clinics and practices.
Becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant in Minnesota
Minnesota requires that all physical therapy assistants be licensed in order to be allowed to practice in the state. Licensure requirements include completing an accredited physical therapy assistant program and passing a national examination.
In addition, once licensed, physical therapy assistants will be required to complete an approved set of continuing education hours in order to renew their licenses.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Most physical therapist assistant programs confer an associate’s degree upon their successful completion. In general, these programs are offered by community colleges and vocational schools, although some universities also offer programs that can be used to qualify for the Minnesota license requirements.
Most physical therapy assistant programs take approximately two years for a full-time student to complete. In addition, some programs have part-time and distance learning options to permit those students who are currently working or otherwise unable to attend on a full-time basis to complete their studies. However, some classes have a clinical or lab component that will require the student to attend in person.
In order to be accepted by the Minnesota State Board of Physical Therapy, any program must have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). This national evaluation body ensures that the school currently complies with modern standards for providing an effective education in the field of physical therapy. Any student should make certain that his or her school is thus currently in good standing with the CAPTE.
The National Physical Therapy Examination
The National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) is a national exam that evaluates the academic and practical skills of individuals who are seeking to become a physical therapist assistant. This test is a comprehensive test that requires a passing score of at least 600.
Although it is possible to retake the test, the candidate will have to reapply to take the test, which may delay his or her ability to obtain a license. For this reason, candidates should only take the test if they are confident of passing it.
In addition to passing the NPTE and completing an approved course of study, the candidate must supply two letters of recommendation.
These letters must be provided by physical therapists that are currently licensed to practice in either the United States or Canada.
The candidate should ensure that he or she has obtained these letters well before the application deadline in order to prevent any difficulties that might arise due to unexpected delays.
The Benefits of Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant
Currently, physical therapist assistants enjoy robust and growing career opportunities in Minnesota. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has estimated that employment options for physical therapist assistants will grow by 45 percent until 2020.
This is far higher than the average rate of job growth for other fields.
In addition, the annual median wage for physical therapist assistants is over $37,000, which compares very favorably to other fields requiring a similar amount of education.
In fact, the annual median wages in Minnesota are over $43,000, which is higher than what therapist assistants receive in a number of other states.
In addition, due to the importance of physical therapy and the growing number of elderly in America who will require various types of physical therapy, this field is one that will enjoy sustained and steady growth. Because of this, therapist assistants will be unlikely to face unexpected employment shifts and will also be able to easily find employment in most parts of America should they decide to move.
Physical therapy is a vital part of America’s healthcare system. Because of this, those individuals choosing to become physical therapist assistants can expect to enter a field enjoying robust growth, excellent compensation and a high degree of professional and public respect.
For these reasons, becoming a physical therapist assistant is an excellent choice for anyone interested in becoming a healthcare provider.