Physical therapy assistants are in high demand today. With an aging population, many nursing homes now require a full-time physical therapy staff. In order to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA), you must first graduate from a physical therapy assistant program.
Because they are highly regarded and accepted by nearly every health care facility, accredited physical therapy assistant programs are the best choice for PTA education.
With nearly 250 locations nationwide, PTA programs are easily accessible to nearly every student. Currently, there are accredited PTA programs in every state except for Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming. Puerto Rico also has two locations.
Because there are so many PTA programs available, it is important to consider all of your options. When looking at different programs, you may want to consider the size of the school, the experience of the faculty, what degree you will earn, how much financial aid is available, how many graduates pass the licensing exam after the first try, how long the program is and what kind of on-the-job training is available.
Required Prerequisite Courses
Since each program is different, there are no specific prerequisite courses required universally from program to program. According to an American Physical Therapy Association survey, however, more than 50 percent of programs require courses like biology, anatomy, chemistry and physics.
Acceptance in a Program
In order to increase your chances of being accepted into a PTA program, it is important to have a high grade point average, particularly in chemistry, biology and physics. You can also increase your chances by volunteering as a physical therapy aide as well as by obtaining a letter of recommendation from a past science teacher.
Specific Program Information
If you're looking for information about a specific PTA program, contact an admissions representative and set up a meeting at the school. Ask if you can speak with current or former students or try to sit in on a class to get a feel for what the program is like.
Contact the financial aid office at the school of your choice to ask about what specific financial aid is offered for that particular PTA program. For more general information, you can also check on the U.S. Department of Education web site.
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