Physical Therapy Assisting: an Excellent Career Choice in Texas
If you’re looking for a career that involves direct work with patients but doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree or beyond, physical therapy assisting may be the perfect option. Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) provide treatments such as stretches and exercises to relieve pain or improve body movement, as prescribed and instructed by physical therapists (PTs).
PTAs train at least two years in physical therapy and require licensure from the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners (TBPTE). They work in hospitals, physical therapy clinics and nursing homes, among other medical facilities. This job field is growing quickly across Texas, so it’s a great time to get started on becoming a physical therapist assistant.
Steps for Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant
After graduating high school or earning your GED, complete a two-year physical therapy program. An accredited program that teaches physical therapy prepares students to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), which is one of the requirements to gain a Texas PTA license.
After registering for the NPTE, you may apply for a temporary Texas physical therapist assistant license.
After you pass the NPTE, you can apply for your permanent PTA license. Applicants must also complete an online jurisprudence training program. Fingerprints and a criminal background will also be required.
More on Texas Physical Therapist Assistant Education
It’s important that your PTA program be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy so that you’re eligible to gain your license in Texas and other states. Texas offers many training programs, including:
- Blinn College.This school has five campuses located around Brenham and offers online classes, too. The physical therapist assistant program consists of 63 credit-hours and lasts two years.
- Tarrant County College. On the Trinity River Campus in Fort Worth, this physical therapist assistant program offers an Associate Degree in Applied Science (AAS) in Physical Therapy. It’s a two-year program with 100 percent licensure and employment rates upon graduation.
PTA Licensure by Endorsement
Those who currently carry a PTA license in another state or country can apply for their Texas physical therapist assistant licenses through endorsement from the Texas Board (TBPTE). The applicant’s licensing state and school of physical therapy must submit proof that the person is trained in physical therapy. Prospective Texas-licensed PTAs must also be able to prove they have passed the NPTE.
Physical Therapist Assistants in Texas
Texas has an excellent pool of opportunities and benefits for physical therapist assistants. The statewide projected growth rate for PTA employment is especially high at 37.2 percent in the decade from 2016 to 2026, according to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). This is compared to the national growth rate of 29.2 percent predicted for the same time period. The PMP also reports that an average of 1,210 physical therapist assistant jobs opens each year within Texas.
PTA incomes are strong as well, with a median of $33.29 per hour reported in Texas in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nationally, the median pay rate for PTAs was more than 10 dollars less that year, at $22.56 per hour.
The Future for PTAs in Texas
By far, the highest numbers of physical therapist assistants work in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas, according to the BLS. However, the highest number of PTAs employed per 1,000 jobs was found in the Victoria area in 2017. Salaries for physical therapist assistants across the state vary widely, ranging from about $27 to $54 per hour, depending on location. With such a strong job outlook and high income rates, physical therapist assisting is an excellent career choice for those ready to start working in healthcare.