How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Maine
Do you enjoy helping people and want a career that allows you to make a difference? Then becoming a physical therapist assistant might be the perfect career choice for you. PTAs work under the supervision of physical therapists (PTs). They will assist PTs with patients, to help them improve mobility and relieve pain.
One of the perks of being a PTA is that there are a multitude of options when it comes to places of employment. Physical therapist assistants are needed in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, fitness facilities and home health agencies.
Getting Your PTA License in Maine
To obtain your PTA license in Maine, you must first graduate from a college that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). There are currently two schools in Maine that are accredited by CAPTE. Both programs take two years to complete. Once you have graduated, you will need to start the application process with the State of Maine Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation. This application will allow you to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs. The four-hour exam has 200 questions, and a score of at least 600 is needed to pass.
Once you have passed the NPTE-PTA, you will have to apply for your license with the state of Maine. This application includes a background check. If you have had any criminal convictions, you will need to include a signed statement about the crimes. Your license is good for one year and will expire on March 31st of each year. You can renew your license online for $30. If your license lapses for more than 90 days, you will need to reapply for a new one.
Colleges Offering PTA Programs in Maine
It takes two years to complete a PTA degree in Maine. This will include both classroom time and internships. The two colleges that offer accredited PTA degree programs are:
- Kennebec Valley Community College. In order to be admitted into this five-semester program , applicants must have completed two job shadows and submitted a written essay. A high school or college physics class must have been completed with a grade of 77 or higher as well. Drug testing and clean background checks are required for clinical education sites.
- The University of Maine at Presque Isle. Because UMP is the only school in the University of Maine system that offers a PTA program, there is a lot of competition to be accepted. Students must first pass all 30 credits of general education before they can apply to finish the 45 credits of PTA-related coursework and internships. In addition to taking and passing the general education classes, applicants must also purchase the workbook ‘Get Ready for A&P.’ The workbook will need to be turned in to the PTA program director, and a test will then be administered. A score of 80 percent or higher is required to pass the test.
Career and Salary Information
PTAs in Maine make an average of $50,960 a year, which is on par with the national average of $56,850 for this field. Maine has a relatively low cost of living, which means that someone can live very comfortably with a PTA salary in Maine.
The cost of earning a PTA degree in Maine ranges from $2,500 and $8,000 per year. According to data collected by the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), 90 PTAs were working in Maine in 2016. PMP predicts that by 2026 that number will rise 11.1 percent to 100. Although the number of PTAs who work in Maine might be low, the demand for them is not. Due to the aging population, as well as the fact that Maine attracts many retirees, the need for qualified PTAs will only continue to grow.
PTA Employment Outlook
As the general population ages, the need for PTAs will continue to increase; this is especially true when it comes to areas that have a high senior population. Diseases like arthritis and diabetes as well as the ramifications of stroke (all conditions which tend to happen with older adults) often require some form of physical therapy.
The highest paying cities for PTAs to seek work in Maine are Portland, Lewiston and Bangor. The lowest paying areas of the state are reported to be Harrison, Fryeburg and Buxton.