Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Connecticut
A physical therapist assistant (PTA) assists physical therapists (PTs) with the treatment of patients. They do things such as provide therapeutic massage, keep notes about patients’ progress and educate patients and family members who need to practice their rehabilitation therapy at home.
PTAs work in a variety of facilities such as rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities and hospitals. They typically work Monday through Friday with hours varying depending on what type of facility they work in.
Getting Your PTA License in Connecticut
The first step to becoming a PTA is to graduate from an accredited college with a physical therapist assistant degree. Once you have completed that step, you can obtain your PTA license by passing the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs. To get your license, you have to submit an application for licensure to the Connecticut Board of Health. After they have received your information, they will send you an authorization to test. You can register for the NPTE online. The fee to take the exam is $400.
Colleges Offering PTA Programs in Connecticut
It takes two years to complete a PTA degree in Connecticut. This will include both classroom time and internships. Some colleges in the state that offer PTA degree programs are:
- Naugatuck Valley Community College. The two-year PTA program starts in January of each year. There is a limit of 30 students per session, and licensure exam pass rates are above the national average. During the fourth semester, students will take part in two internships.
- Norwalk Community College. Applications for Norwalk’s physical therapist assistant program are available each year on February 1st and are due June 1st. In order to be admitted, students must score 50 percent or better on the TEAS admissions test. The program can be completed in two years if the student is full time, but they also offer a four-year, part-time program. The final semester for each path consists of a full-time internship.
Career and Salary Information
The largest employer in Connecticut of PTAs is Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine centers, which have locations all over the state. While their average pay is not available, the average annual salary of a PTA in Connecticut is $61,470. This is a fantastic salary for this field considering that the national average is $56,850.
A PTA education in Connecticut costs between $4,000 and $12,000 a year. Because the need for PTAs continues to grow, there are many scholarships and grants available to those who want to pursue this career path. According to data collected by the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), 550 PTAs were working in Connecticut in 2016. PMP predicts that by 2026 that number will rise 20 percent to 660.
PTA Employment Outlook
The need for PTAs continues to grow not just in Connecticut, but all over the United States. Diseases such as arthritis and diabetic neuropathy are becoming more common as large groups of the population begin to age. Since many people with those types of medical problems are referred to physical therapists, the essential roles that PTAs play are not going away in the near future.
The highest paying cities for PTAs to seek work in Connecticut are Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven. The lowest paying cities are Ansonia, New London and Norwich.