Physical Therapy Aide Certification


Physical therapy aides assist physical therapists in improving patient's mobility, easing their pain and rehabilitating physical disabilities. Under the supervision of physical therapists, physical therapy aides assist patients with exercise, traction, massage and instruction on how to care for their injuries. Their jobs may also include some clinical tasks. Some states require individuals to become certified before practicing as a physical therapy aide.

High School Diploma or GED Equivalent

  • Physical therapy aides are required to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Students are advised to take health and science classes to enable them to understand the ensuing curriculum of a physical therapy aide training program.

Associate's Degree

  • Most states require therapy aides to have an associate's degree from a community or junior college accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association's Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Programs typically take 2 years to complete. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, curriculum will include classes in English, algebra, anatomy, psychology and physiology, biology, chemistry and medical vocabulary. Students also receive supervised clinical training in CPR, first aid and patient care in physical therapy treatment centers.

National Physical Therapy Exam

  • The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) administers the National Physical Therapy Exam for individuals who meet licensing qualifications and prerequisites. States vary in licensing requirements; once an individual has applied for licensing within his state of jurisdiction, the state will dictate the applicants eligibility. Once an applicant has been deemed eligible, he will be sent an Authorization To Test (ATT) from the FSBPT. Candidates must sit for the exam within 60 days after receiving their ATT. The cost for taking the National Physical Therapy Exam is $55.60.


  • Licensing is not federally required for a career as a physical therapy aide. Some states or employers will require physical therapy aides to become certified as proof of knowledge and expertise in the field. States vary in certification requirements. Individuals who wish to become certified will have to check within their state of jurisdiction for details.

On-the-Job Training

  • In addition to a comprehensive education in being a physical therapy aide, most aides receive the bulk of their training on the job under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist.


  • Physical therapy aides work in nursing homes, home health care, hospitals and doctor's offices. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they earn an average of $23,760 per year.

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  • Photo Credit young woman on the therapy massage procedure image by NiDerLander from
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