Steps To Become a PTA in the State of Nevada
The field of physical therapy is currently showing dramatic and sustained growth in the United States. With a growing emphasis on full-spectrum healthcare techniques, physical therapy is now a vital component of any treatment plan for individuals who have suffered traumatic injuries or elderly individuals facing age-related degenerative conditions alike.
Because of this, the physical therapy assistant (PTA) has become an increasingly vital component of the American healthcare sector, making this profession an excellent choice for those individuals interested in entering a career that presents excellent personal and professional advancement opportunities.
What Are the Duties of a PTA?
PTAs work under the direction of physical therapists, physicians, and other medical professionals in developing and implementing a program of physical therapy designed to suit each patient’s individual needs.
In addition to providing direct physical therapy treatments, a PTA will assist family members and other caregivers in learning how to assist the patient in continuing to perform his or her physical therapy exercises at home.
Most PTAs work in ambulatory care clinics, treating individuals on an outpatient basis. In many cases, these individuals have been released from a hospital or other institution and are currently receiving physical therapy in order to assist in their recovery.
In other cases, they may be receiving physical therapy in order to combat a degenerative disease or to assist in another goal, such as individuals who are receiving physical therapy as a part of a weight control plan.
Physical Therapy for the Elderly
Physical therapy for the elderly is becoming increasingly common in America, whether it is provided on an outpatient basis or as a part of the treatment provided to the residents of an eldercare facility. This type of therapy is usually focused on maintaining the patient’s general physical capabilities.
In many cases, elderly patients may suffer from cognitive disorders and so can be noncompliant or frightened of their PTA. Because of this, PTAs who work with the elderly must be able to work in a patient and calm manner.
PTAs and Prosthetic Limbs
Another increasingly common duty for PTAs is providing therapy designed to enable individuals who have lost a limb to learn how to use prosthetic replacements. This type of therapy requires an in depth knowledge of the prosthesis in addition to the ability to implement the supervising physician’s physical therapy plan.
PTAs and the Job Market
PTAs currently enjoy very promising job options. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has determined that as of 2010, there were over 67,000 PTAs working in the United States.
By 2020, that number is expected to grow to at least 98,000, an increase of about 46 percent. When coupled with industry attrition due to retirement and other factors, this indicates that newly licensed PTAs will find a wide range of job opportunities.
Becoming a PTA in Nevada
Like all states except for Hawaii, Nevada requires that all practicing PTAs be licensed. In Nevada, the licensure of PTAs is handled by the Nevada State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners.
In order to become a licensed PTA by examination, an individual must complete the following requirements:
- Complete an accredited PTA program.
- Successfully pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
Most physical therapy assistant programs take about two years for a full-time student and include a mixture of classroom and clinical training designed to provide the graduate with all the information he or she will need to enter the field of physical therapy and successfully pass the NPTE.
In addition, most programs include part-time schedule options for those students who cannot attend school on a traditional schedule. Depending on the school, some classes may be offered in an online format, allowing the students to complete them at their own pace.
Before deciding to attend a PTA program, the student should make certain that it is currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
This body ensures that the program currently conforms to the current educational standards for PTA programs. In many cases, a state will not accept classes taken from a non-accredited program or may require extensive evidence that they are equal to an accredited program.
The NPTE is the nationally accepted examination for PTA candidates. Nevada requires passage of this test before the state will confer a license upon the candidate. Although Nevada places no limits on how many times a student may repeat the examination, repeating the test will result in a substantial delay before the student can obtain a license. Because of this, anyone considering taking the NPTE should only take the test when he or she is certain of passing it.
Ultimately, becoming a PTA in Nevada can be an excellent employment choice in Nevada or neighboring states like Arizona or California.
Whether the individual is a newly graduated student or someone seeking to transfer to a more financially rewarding career, becoming a PTA can be both personally and professionally rewarding.
In addition, as a vital part of America’s healthcare sector, PTAs enjoy a great deal of respect from their fellow medical professionals and the general public alike.