The science of physical therapy has become increasingly important in America.
Whether it is in assisting the victim of a traumatic accident to walk again or providing the long-term physical therapy needed to help the elderly to remain healthy and independent, this field has become a common part of any full-spectrum healthcare.
Because of this, physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are finding increasingly lucrative employment options across the United States.
PTAs in the Healthcare Sector
PTAs are a vital part of the modern healthcare sector. In cooperation with physical therapists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals, PTAs help their patients engage in personalized programs of physical therapy designed to help to maintain or regain their physical capabilities.
Physical therapy can be ordered for the following conditions:
- Individuals who have been bedridden for some time will require physical therapy in order to safely regain muscle tone and mobility.
- Traumatic physical injuries often require a program of rehabilitative physical therapy, especially if the patient must now use artificial limbs.
- Many elderly individuals require physical therapy in order to maintain their independence and overall health.
- Disabled individuals make use of extensive physical therapy to assist them in overcoming their specific disabilities.
Many PTAs work in ambulatory care clinics, serving individuals who receive regular physical therapy sessions on an outpatient basis.
Other PTAs work in public and private hospitals, providing assistance to individuals before, during and after major surgical procedures. In addition, many convalescent and eldercare facilities make use of staff PTAs in order to provide their residents with effective physical therapy.
Finally, many doctor’s offices have one or more PTAs on staff in order to assist the doctor in performing his duties.
The Limits of a PTAs Duties
PTAs have strict limits on what services they can provide to their patients, especially independently of a physical therapist or physician.
Most importantly, physical therapists cannot provide a diagnosis for their patients, nor can they initiate a plan of physical therapy without being under the supervision of a physical therapist, physician or in some cases, a registered nurse.
Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Wyoming
The licensure of PTAs in Wyoming is controlled by the Wyoming Board of Physical Therapy.
In order to be licensed to practice in Wyoming, a PTA must have completed the following steps.
- Provide the Board with two letters of recommendation and submit to a criminal background check.
- Provide proof of citizenship or legal residence within the United States.
- Provide proof that the applicant has graduated from a physical therapy program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
- Successfully take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
- Successfully take and pass a state jurisprudence examination in order to demonstrate their knowledge of how Wyoming’s laws impact the practice of physical therapy in the state.
In addition, applicants who are already licensed in another state may seek licensure by endorsement, which requires that they provide proof that they have complied with the above requirements, in addition to providing verification that they are currently licensed in another state.
It is important to note that merely being licensed in another state does not permit an individual to practice without a Wyoming PTA license.
Most PTA programs allow full-time students to complete the program within two years, and include a variety of academic and practical instruction in the field of physical therapy.
In addition, most programs offer part-time options for those students who cannot attend the program on a full-time basis.
Some programs also offer online or distance learning options for those students with limited mobility. This makes a part-time or online PTA program an excellent choice for working students or those students who have family obligations.
The NPTE is a comprehensive examination that is designed to ensure that the PTA is fully capable of carrying out his or her duties in a safe and effective manner. The NPTE is designed and offered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). The FSBPT ensures that the test evaluates the candidate in light of the current state of the art in physical therapy.
Wyoming only permits an individual to take the NPTE three times. If the candidate fails the exam twice, he or she must submit a plan of action to the Board, which can include remedial coursework or other actions the Board deems necessary.
In addition, failing the exam will result a delay in the licensure process. For this reason, students should only take the NPTE when they are confident that they can easily pass the examination.
Job Options For PTAs
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the total number of PTAs currently working in America is over 67,000 in a wide variety of specific fields.
In addition, the total number of PTA job openings is likely to increase by at least 67 percent by 2020.
The mean income for Wyoming PTAs is over $47,000, which is extremely competitive when compared to other professions requiring a similar amount of education and licensure.
Becoming a licensed PTA in Wyoming can be an excellent choice for those individuals who are seeking a rewarding, secure and professionally challenging career.
In addition to enjoying the material benefits this career offers, a PTA has the satisfaction of knowing that he or she is providing a vital service to the American people. Whether an individual is newly graduated from high school or is seeking a more rewarding career than his or her current job, becoming a PTA can be an excellent career choice.