Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Georgia
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work with physical therapists to help patients regain their mobility after a sports injury, neurological trauma or surgery. They use a combination of exercise, stretching, and balance and walking coaching to achieve this goal. Physical therapist assistants should be patient people who are able to clearly communicate and have extensive knowledge of the human body.
Licensure Application Requirements
To begin the PTA license application process, you must first obtain your high school diploma or GED. You may then enroll in an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assisting or an Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assisting degree program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE). After receiving your degree, you will qualify to submit a licensure application and take the National Physical Therapy Exam.
Receiving Your PTA License
The PTA license application requires applicants to submit copies of school transcripts, confirmation of clinical practice hours completed and recommendation letters from professors in addition to the fees and application form. Those who are already licensed in another state and are requesting a license transfer to their new location may receive a temporary Georgia license while their application is being processed.
You may then take the National Physical Therapy Examination. Failing the test twice will require additional training before you will be allowed to sit for the test again. After your application and test results are accepted, you will receive your license.
Licenses distributed in Georgia must be renewed every two years. To renew your license, you will need to complete 30 hours of continuing education training within those two years, four of which must include ethics and jurisprudence education.
Educational Programs in Georgia
During your degree program, you will receive both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training. The following programs are available for students in Georgia:
- Atlanta Technical College. This five-semester program combines general education, a healthcare curriculum and specific, occupational courses for students. Clinical observations and lab time off campus are also offered.
- Central Georgia Technical College. This program focuses on professionalism and teamwork for aspiring PTAs. Students learn how to interact with patients and colleagues while also learning foundational physical therapy skills.
Career and Salary Outlook for PTAs
Demand for physical therapist assistants is strong in Georgia, and the Projections Managing Partnership predicts growth of 34.9 within the 10 years from 2016 to 2026.
Salaries typically average $53,980 per year for physical therapist assistants in the state.
Working as a Physical Therapist Assistant
In your role as a physical therapist assistant, you will encounter new people each day and be required to keep up with a fast-paced schedule. As a result, being able to pay attention to detail, communicate clearly and be a good listener are critical skills. PTAs typically work in healthcare facilities, including nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, as well as in private practices or for schools and professional sports teams. Full-time and part-time roles are typically available. Most jobs can be found in larger cities, such as Atlanta, though demand for PTAs is high statewide.
How much do physical therapist assistants earn in the state of Georgia?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapist assistants in the state of Georgia made an average of $55,010 per year in 2019. Entry-level physical therapist assistants earned around $25,490 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $78,740.