How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Washington D.C.

Physical therapist assistants, also called PTAs are licensed individuals who help patients to relieve their pain and to increase or regain mobility. PTAs are supervised by physical therapists but do much of the same work that they do. PTAs are high in demand throughout the United States, including in Washington D.C. If you are interested in working in the healthcare field, but do not want to spend the time or money on a four-year degree, then you should consider becoming a PTA.

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Requirements to Work as a PTA in Washington D.C.

The requirements to work as a PTA in Washington D.C. are much like those in other states. You will need to apply for licensure. However, before you can seek licensure, you must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Then you will need to complete a post-secondary program that has been approved by the Washington D.C. Board of Physical Therapy and has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After you have completed an accredited PTA program, you will need to take both the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and the D.C.Jurisprudence Exam. After you have passed both, you will receive your PTA license.

Accredited PTA Programs in Washington D.C.

To become licensed as a PTA in D.C., you must complete an accredited PTA program. At this time, there are no accredited programs offered in the District. However, there are a couple of schools in Maryland that are an hour or less away from the capital city and offer accredited PTA programs.

  • Howard Community College. Howard Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree PTA program that can be completed in two years. This program has a 100 percent licensure exam pass rate and employment rate.
  • Baltimore City Community College. Baltimore City Community College offers an AAS degree program that takes two years to complete. This program combines general education and PTA courses with clinical practice. This is a limited admissions program. In addition to pre-requisite courses, students interested in applying to the program must submit an application and purpose statement and complete a video and quiz.

Washington D.C. PTA Licensing

Once you have completed a physical therapist assistant program, then you can apply to the District of Columbia Board of Physical Therapy for a license. There is an application on the website that you must fill out and pay an application fee. With the application, you must also submit two passport-style photos of yourself and a copy of your identification. You must also send in your transcripts and pass a background check. The next step is to register with the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) to take both the NPTE and the D.C. Jurisprudence exam. An exam fee will apply for both. You will receive your PTA license once you have passed both exams. You will need to renew this license every two years by completing 30 continued education credits before the time of renewal.

Salary and Job Outlook

There is a growing need for licensed PTAs in the District of Columbia. The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) reported that the federal district had 150 PTAs working there in 2016. At least 20 more job positions in this field are expected to be filled by the year 2026, which is a growth rate of 13.3 percent. This is slightly less than half of the national growth rate; however, it is still a steady growth rate.

The salary for PTAs in D.C. is also promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May of 2017 that physical therapists there were making an average of $20.82 hourly or $43,310 yearly. That same year, the highest earners in this area were making as much as $70,200 a year.

Working as a PTA in Washington D.C.

PTAs do need to be strong to work in this field, as they will be helping patients with exercises to build up their strength and mobility and will also be working with various equipment. PTAs may find work in physical therapy centers, surgical centers, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals and outpatient clinics, sports medicine centers, nursing homes and home healthcare settings. Some of the popular places of employment for physical therapist assistants in D.C. include MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Washington Wellness Physical Therapy and SportsCare, O.R.E. Physical Therapy and Carroll Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

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How much do physical therapist assistants earn in the state of D.C.?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapist assistants in the state of D.C. made an average of $41,350 per year in 2019. Entry-level physical therapist assistants earned around $28,260 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $58,950.