Study Tips For Physical Therapist Assistant Students -Physical Therapist Assistant Career Guide

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Study Tips For Physical Therapist Assistant Students

Tips for Completing a Physical Therapy Program

Physical therapy is becoming an increasingly important part of America’s healthcare sector. For that reason, physical therapy assistants (PTAs) are enjoying a robust and growing job market.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there will be at least 100,000 PTA job openings in 2022. This represents a 41 percent increase over the number of PTA jobs that are currently available and is far higher than the overall national average job growth rate.

These promising factors have resulted in many individuals deciding to become a licensed PTA.

However, it is important to follow these study tips in order to ensure that the candidate will be able to most effectively prepare him or herself to work in the field of physical therapy as a licensed PTA.

Preparing for a Physical Therapy Assistant Program

physical therapy study in californiaThe first steps any student should take begin before he or she enters a physical therapy program. Physical therapy requires that the student possess the following capabilities:

  • A strong command of written and verbal English.
  • The ability to effectively communicate with the PTAs fellow medical professionals and patients alike.
  • An effective understanding of mathematics and biology as they apply to the field of physical therapy.

During high school, the student should focus on those classes that he or she can use to prepare for a PTA program. Advanced English, math, and biology are all an important part of preparing for a college education.

In addition, many schools have clubs and volunteer associations that may allow the student to obtain experience in various types of healthcare fields. By focusing on those clubs and classes that will prepare the student for the healthcare field it becomes possible to dramatically improve the student’s ability to quickly complete a PTA college program.

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Tips for Completing a PTA Program

Most PTA programs are offered by community colleges or vocational training institutions. In general, a full-time student will take approximately two years to complete a PTA program.

Many schools offer part-time programs in order to allow those students who are currently working or otherwise unable to attend on a full-time schedule to complete the program at their own pace. Finally, a growing number of programs can be taken online, which can be very useful for students who live inconveniently far from the school.

PTA programs generally have a combination of academic classroom instruction and clinical lab exercises. In the latter classes, the students practice conducting physical therapy procedures on each other.

Some schools work with medical organizations in order to allow their students to work with actual patients while under the supervision of licensed medical professionals. Once the student has completed the program, he or she will be well equipped with the academic and practical knowledge needed to become a licensed PTA.

Verify that the Program is Accredited

One of the most important steps a student can take is to verify that that program is currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Only CAPTE accredited programs are accepted by state licensing agencies making this step very important. If a student is attending a foreign program, he or she must check with the state licensing authority to determine what steps will have to be taken to demonstrate that the foreign PTA program is substantially equal to a CAPTE accredited program.

Develop a Schedule

Effective time management is a vital part of completing any program of study. The student should create a schedule to ensure that he or she can effectively complete any required coursework. This can be especially important for students who may find some aspects of the program to be more difficult than others. By creating a realistic schedule, the student can avoid falling behind and potentially suffering from poor grades.

Those students who are currently receiving financial assistance must keep their study requirements in mind when creating a course schedule. In many cases, students who fail to enroll in a minimum number of classes may find their financial aid reduced or eliminated. For this reason, students who are receiving financial assistance should discuss any schedule changes with their school’s administration and their loan provider.

Communicate With the Faculty

Communicating with the faculty is a vital part of any effective study plan. Many students are nervous about speaking with their instructors and so often fail to seek help until they are seriously behind on their work. It is important to speak to the instructors or administrative staff before an issue becomes a serious problem.

Most instructors are pleased to assist their students when they are suffering from academic difficulties. However, the student must first let the instructor know that they need help before the end of the semester.

Working With Other Students

Another vital part of a successful study plan is to work with other students. Many schools offer voluntary study group programs and participating that be very helpful to the students.

In addition to allowing the student to receive academic assistance, a voluntary study group can also ensure that the student will be able to receive notes from classes that he or she missed due to illness.

Even students who are part of an online program can benefit from these groups, participating via email or online chat sessions.


Many schools offer internship programs for those students who meet the requirements. These programs involve working alongside licensed medical professionals in a public or private facility. In addition to obtaining a great deal of hands on experience, many internships are paid positions.

This can allow an intern to defray the costs of his or her education by participating in the internship. Finally, a successful internship program can dramatically improve the student’s professional prospects after he or she has obtained a PTA license. In some cases, a well-liked intern may be hired immediately after graduation by the group he or she interned with.

Successfully completing a PTA program is a vital part of entering this well-compensated and rapidly growing field. By following these tips, a student can ensure that he or she will exit the program well prepared for the professional challenges licensed PTAs face.

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