Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Hawaii

As a physical therapist assistant (PTA), you’ll help people recover from injuries sustained due to sports, neurological concerns or surgery, among other events. Physical therapist assistants support physical therapists in helping patients regain their mobility through exercise, balance work, walking training and stretching. They are patient, have a strong understanding of the human body and are able to communicate clearly with both coworkers and patients.

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Applying for Your License

The first step in becoming a physical therapist assistant is to obtain your high school diploma or GED. Then, you may enter a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE)-accredited educational program. These programs typically last two years and culminate in an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assisting degree or an Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assisting degree. Successfully graduation qualifies students to take the National Physical Therapy Exam and apply for their licenses.


The Licensing Process

Your license application should include school transcripts, confirmation of clinical hours completed, recommendation letters and any necessary fees. If you are applying to transfer your license from another state, you may be issued a temporary license while your application is being processed.

Applicants may then take the National Physical Therapy Examination. If you fail the test twice, you may be required to complete additional training before taking the test again. You will receive your license after passing the test.

In Hawaii, PTAs must renew their licenses every two years. Information about how to renew your license will be distributed along with a reminder that your license is in need of renewal.

Physical Therapist Assistant Education

Degree programs for PTAs typically include internships and other opportunities to practice in a real-world setting. The following program is the only accredited physical therapist assistant program available in Hawaii:

  • Kapi’olani Community College. This associate’s degree program prepares students to provide care in a variety of settings. Students work with licensed physical therapists to learn physical therapy ethics and techniques.

Career and Salary Expectations

Jobs for physical therapist assistants in Hawaii are expected to continue increasing, with the Projections Managing Partnership expecting growth of 26.3 percent in the state during the 10 years from 2016 to 2026.

A physical therapist assistant in Hawaii can expect to make an average salary of $55,960 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Working as a Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapist assistants work in collaborative, fast-paced environments in which they are constantly asked to interact with new people. Being detail-oriented, a good listener and a good communicator will help new PTAs succeed in the field. Most physical therapist assistants work in healthcare facilities like hospitals, private practices and nursing homes, among other options. Full-time roles are common, though some part-time or contract roles may be available. Jobs are typically easiest to find in large cities like Honolulu, though demand for PTAs is high throughout the state.

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How much do physical therapist assistants earn in the state of Hawaii?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapist assistants in the state of Hawaii made an average of $55,350 per year in 2019. Entry-level physical therapist assistants earned around $33,320 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $70,530.

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