Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Delaware
Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) help people recover from injuries related to sports, neurological issues or surgery and regain their mobility. They work with physical therapists to carry out treatment plans, which can include exercise, balance and walking training and stretching. Successful PTAs are patient, have a strong understanding of the human body and are good communicators. Jobs can be found in private practices and hospitals, among other types of healthcare and fitness settings.
Physical therapist assistants should have a high school diploma or equivalent before entering an educational program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Aspiring PTAs may select a program offering an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assisting degree or an Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assisting degree. After successfully completing one of these programs, you may take the National Physical Therapy Exam and submit an application for your license.
The physical therapist assistant licensing application includes a letter of verification of education from your school, confirmation of clinical hours completed and recommendation letters. During the application process, you may be eligible to receive a temporary license if you already hold a license from another state. You can then take the National Physical Therapy Examination, though if you fail the test twice, you may be required to complete additional coursework before making another attempt. Your license will be issued upon successful completion of the test.
To renew your license, you must complete at least three continuing education units, or 10 hours of an approved course, every two years. Credits must include ethics and CPR instruction.
Delaware Schools for Physical Therapist Assistants
Most degree programs for physical therapist assistants include internships that give students the opportunity to receive hands-on training and learn to interact with patients. The following programs are available for students in Delaware:
- Delaware Tech. Students at Delaware Tech work with licensed physical therapist teachers to learn about data collection techniques, communication, program modifications and other physical therapy skills. The program allows students to transfer to a four-year degree program as a junior upon completion.
- Anne Arundel Community College. In nearby Maryland, Anne Arundel Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree for physical therapist assistants. The program includes clinical practice rotations at local service areas in addition to classroom training.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
In the 10 years from 2016 to 2026, jobs for physical therapist assistants in Delaware are expected to grow by 20.5 percent, according to the Projections Managing Partnership, making this an excellent time to enter the career field.
Salaries for physical therapist assistants in the state typically average $57,140 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Working as a Delaware Physical Therapist Assistant
PTAs enjoy collaborative, fast-paced careers in which they are constantly interacting with new people. They should be detail-oriented, good communicators and good listeners to ensure that patients are receiving the care they need. Most physical therapist assistants work in private practices, hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities on a full-time basis, though part-time and contract roles are sometimes available. Jobs are likely to be most plentiful in larger cities, such as Wilmington, though work can be found throughout the state.