Your Career as an Indiana Physical Therapist Assistant
If you care about people suffering pain and want to help them regain mobility through physical therapy, a career as a physical therapist assistant (PTA) may be ideal for you. This field has a promising future, with a 29.2 percent employment growth rate predicted across the country between 2016 and 2026.
PTAs work directly under the supervision and instruction of physical therapists (PTs) to help people who suffer from pain and immobility due to injury or illness. As a PTA, you may provide physical therapy services involving exercise, stretching and physical therapy equipment to patients as instructed by a PT. Other tasks for physical therapist assistants include recording patient responses to treatment and consulting with the PT about patient recovery status.
Steps to Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant
All PTAs are required to complete an Associate Degree in Applied Science (AAS) in physical therapy assisting. They must also hold licensure within the state where they practice. Before you can earn your AAS degree and gain your license, you need to graduate high school or earn your GED equivalent.
It’s also required that PTAs pass the national physical therapy exam (NPTE) before they can apply for an physical therapy assistant license. In the state of Indiana, PTAs must always have a supervising PT available for supervision and problem-solving. The supervising PT is completely responsible for the work and actions of physical therapy assistants as related to patient care.
Physical Therapy Assistant Educational Options
Your physical therapist assistant education program should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) so that you qualify to take the NPTE and apply for state licensure. Accredited Indiana schools include:
- Ivy Tech Community College. On the Gary, Muncie and Sellersburg campuses, you can pursue a five-semester PTA program. The admission process for this physical therapist assistant program is selective and requires some previously completed college prep courses. Ivy Tech also offers four-year partnerships for transferring your PTA education to a pre-physical therapist degree.
- University of Evansville. Located in Evansville, this two-year physical therapist assistant program combines laboratory work and clinical and technical experiences to prepare students for the workforce. Prerequisites include a strong high school record, with two years of algebra, one year of geometry and two years of high school science. Students must also have a 2.75 minimum GPA.
License Requirements for Indiana PTAs
Once you’ve completed the required prerequisites, you can apply for a physical therapy assistant license through the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (PLA). Requirements necessary in the application process include (but are not limited to):
- Two passport-sized photos
- Official transcript from approved school
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Criminal background check
- Application fees
A Strong Future for Indiana Physical Therapist Assistants
Indiana physical therapy assistants should expect a huge increase in job availability, as the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) predicts an in-state increase of 32.1 percent in PTA employment between 2016 and 2026. The salary of physical therapy assistants in Indiana is also very strong, with a median income of $27.18 per hour (or $56,530 annually) reported in 2017 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Compared with the national median income rate of $22.56 per hour, Indiana PTAs are paid very well.
Where to Work
By far, the largest number of physical therapist assistants work in the Indianapolis area, with 1,030 PTAs employed in that area in 2017 as reported by the BLS. The highest paid PTAs in Indiana make more than $28 per hour and generally work in Indianapolis, the Central Indiana nonmetropolitan area and Terre Haute. As far as employment rates, Kokomo, Indiana, experienced the highest rate of PTA employment per 1,000 jobs in the state in 2017.