All About Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Ohio
The field of physical therapy is becoming an increasingly central component of many rehabilitation strategies.
Ranging from therapy designed to assist the elderly in retaining their mobility to postoperative physical therapy for the survivors of traumatic accidents, physical therapy is a major part of America’s healthcare network.
This is especially true as it helps reduce the cost of healthcare by working to ensure that many individuals can regain their physical abilities, rather than becoming permanently disabled.
Physical therapist assistants are a vital part of providing effective physical therapy.
Working under the direction of physical therapists, these professionals help ensure that any physical therapy is correctly performed, while helping determine how effective the therapy is and if it needs to be modified to better suit the patient.
Physical therapist assistants also work closely with physicians, nurses and other medical staff in ensuring that the physical therapy treatments are integral parts of the patient’s over all medical care.
Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Ohio
The Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board requires that all physical therapist assistants be licensed in order to practice.
In order to obtain licensure from the state the individual must complete the following steps:
- Complete a program of study offered by an accredited physical therapy assistant program.
- Complete the state jurisprudence examination.
- Successfully pass the National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE).
- Submit to a criminal background check.
Physical Therapist Assistant Programs
In the vast majority of cases, Ohio requires that all physical therapist assistant programs be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
This organization evaluates physical therapy assistant programs to ensure that they conform to the industry’s professional standards.
If a student has attended a non-CAPTE accredited school, he or she must submit information about the school to the Board.
This is usually only a factor with students who have graduated from a foreign program, as students attending an American program should have ensured that the school is accredited by the CAPTE.
Most programs take approximately two years for a full-time student to complete. In addition, part-time and distance learning options are available for those students who cannot attend classes on a regular schedule.
This is especially beneficial for students who are attempting to become a physical therapist assistant while continuing to work on a full-time basis.
Physical therapy assistant programs train the student in a wide variety of techniques necessary for the effective treatment of their patients. In addition to classes on physical therapy, many programs will also train the student in how to recognize and handle health emergencies if they occur during a physical therapy session.
In addition, some programs offer internships to allow the students to gain experience in their field while working alongside licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. Upon graduating, the student will receive an associate’s degree in physical therapy.
The Jurisprudence Exam
Ohio requires that all candidates take and pass a state jurisprudence examination. This exam tests the student’s knowledge of how Ohio law impacts the rights and duties of the physical therapy assistant. The exam is regularly updated to remain current with Ohio law regarding physical therapist assistants.
The NPTE is the national test for physical therapist assistants. This exam focuses on ensuring that every candidate has the practical and academic skills needed to provide high-quality physical therapy care to their patients.
The NPTE is designed by medical professionals and is updated to ensure that it remains current with the modern practice of physical therapy.
If the candidate fails the NPTE, they may retake it after resubmitting their application forms and paying an additional fee.
If it has been more than one year since they last attempted the NPTE, the student will also have to retake the jurisprudence exam, even if he or she previously passed it. Due to these factors, it is wise that all candidates only apply for the NPTE when they are confident of their ability to pass the exam.
The Background Check
Ohio also requires that the candidate submit to a background check and supply their fingerprints to the state.
It is important that the candidate inform the Board of any criminal offenses, no matter their type, early in the application process.
The Board will evaluate the individual’s record and determine if they are eligible for licensure in Ohio.
Licensure by Endorsement
Ohio permits individuals who have been licensed in other states to obtain licensure by endorsement. This process requires that the individual hold a license in good standing with another state and that the state’s licensure requirements are equal to those of Ohio.
However, individuals seeking licensure by endorsement must still take the state jurisprudence exam before obtaining an Ohio physical therapist assistant’s license.
It is very important to note that having a license from another state does not allow the individual to practice as a physical therapy assistant in Ohio. Only a legitimate Ohio license allows someone to work as a physical therapy assistant in the state, no matter what his or her status in another state might be.
The Benefits of Becoming an Ohio Physical Therapist Assistant
Ohio physical therapy assistants enjoy excellent salary and professional advancement prospects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently shows that over 4,700 physical therapy assistants are employed in the state.
Additionally, the state median wage is over $52,000, making the state one of the higher paying regions in America.
Finally, given the fact that the BLS predicts that employment options for physical therapist assistants will increase by about 46 percent between 2010 and 2020, new physical therapist assistants will enjoy excellent employment prospects.
Becoming a physical therapist assistant is a gateway to a personally and professionally rewarding field. Whether the therapist assistant is working in a major hospital or as part of a small practice, he or she will be part of a profession that plays a vital role in America’s healthcare sector.