How to Gain Admission to a Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Becoming a physical therapist can be an excellent choice for those individuals who are interested in becoming healthcare professionals.
The field of physical therapy is enjoying above average job growth, which creates extremely promising employment options for successful physical therapist assistants.
In addition, physical therapist assistants enjoy competitive wages as well as professional respect from their fellow professionals and the public alike.
However, becoming a physical therapist assistant requires that the individual complete an accredited program of study. This program not only prepares the student to carry out the duties of a physical therapist, but is also required by most states.
In addition, physical therapy programs prepare the student to take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) which is the national professional examination for physical therapy assistants. Because of this, anyone interested in becoming a physical therapist assistant must ensure that they can gain entry into a college program.
Evaluating the Program
When considering what physical therapist assistant program to enter, the student should ensure that the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
This organization provided accreditation services to all physical therapy assistant programs in the United States.
Non-accredited programs are usually not accepted by state licensure agencies, so it is vital that the student ensure that his or her program is currently in good standing with the CAPTE.
High School Preparation for Entering a Physical Therapist Assistant Program
For those individuals who are currently in high school, there are a number of ways to prepare to enter a college program. One of the most important is to ensure that the student graduates with a high grade point average (GPA).
Many physical therapist programs have competitive admission standards, and maintaining a high GPA can assist in gaining entry into the program.
Most high school students must also take a variety of state academic evaluation tests. The student should do his or her best to excel on these exams, as many programs take test scores into account when considering a student for admission.
In addition, high school students considering a physical therapist career should focus on those classes that will most assist them in completing a physical therapist program.
In most cases, these will include classes in biology, math and health. In addition, students should also focus on language and writing courses, as physical therapy assistant programs involve a large amount of writing and require excellent language skills.
Finally, bilingual students may have an advantage in the admissions process, due to the increasingly multicultural nature of the United States.
In addition to his or her educational work, a student should also consider obtaining experience as a volunteer. This can range from assisting in a nursing home to working as a volunteer at a major hospital.
While most of the duties of a physical therapist assistant are restricted to those with a license, volunteering in a medical setting will give the student valuable experience in the basics of the medical sector.
By volunteering a student can also make valuable acquaintances among the professional medical staff he or she is working with. This may allow the student to request letters of recommendation to the physical therapy assistant program.
Finally, by discussing his or her interests with medical professionals, the student can gain a more accurate understanding of the nature of the physical therapist assistant program and how best to complete it.
Older Individuals and Physical Therapy Programs
An increasing number of older and currently employed individuals are seeking to become physical therapist assistants. By doing so, it is possible to transition to a more personally and professionally rewarding career.
In many cases, these individuals graduated from high school some time ago, or did not in fact obtain a high school diploma. In the first case, the individual should consider if his or her academic skills are currently sufficient to allow the successful completion of a physical therapy assistant program. In the second case, the candidate will likely have to complete a general educational development (GED) test with a passing score in order to obtain a high school equivalency degree.
In some cases, it may be wise to attend school for one or two semesters before entering the program, especially if the student feels academically unprepared for the therapist assistant program. In many cases, the school counselor or academic advisor will assist the student in choosing those classes that will best help them prepare for the therapist assistant program.
Deciding on a Class Schedule
Older individuals seeking to become a physical therapist assistant must often work during school. In this case, the individual should determine if his or her school offers part-time and distance learning options.
A part-time schedule allows the student to take most of the courses in the evenings and on the weekends, enabling him or her to complete the program while still working at their current job.
No matter the age of the individual, becoming a physical therapist assistant is an excellent choice. The expanding job opportunities in this field make it an excellent path to a long-term and financially rewarding career.
By choosing the right program and academically preparing for it, the student can be assured of obtaining the education needed to become a licensed physical therapy assistant.Choose Schools By State