What Does a Physical Therapist Assistant Do?
A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) works as a member of a health care team that provides direct patient care. PTAs work under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist to provide hands-on treatment of patients to relieve pain and improve function. Various therapeutic modes of treatment may be utilized, including heat, cold, light, water, electricity, sound, massage, and exercise.
About the Program
The Physical Therapist Assistant program is a 74 credit-hour AS degree program designed as an integrated 2-year model. There are 29 credit hours of program core courses, including 17 credit hours of general education. Included in the professional courses are three clinical experiences. Graduation from the program qualifies the student for examination for licensure by the Florida Board of Physical Therapy.
The following are estimated costs* for a resident of Florida to complete the PTA Program. These costs are subject to change without notice.
*These are only estimated costs based on tuition in 2020-2021.
A new cohort of 24 students is accepted and begin the program each fall semester. Students seeking admission must first be admitted to the College and complete all prerequisite courses, 10 observation hours, and submit an application to the program during the application period (applying to the program does not guarantee acceptance into the program).
PTA courses consist of a total of 57 credit hours, 13 of which are clinical practice in community clinical sites.
The PTA program is offered on the Winter Haven campus. Classes may be scheduled Monday through Friday primarily daytime with some evening hours. Three sets of clinical rotations are completed during the program during which the student will assume the full-time schedule of the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.
Graduation and Employment Rates
The annual graduation rate for Academic Years 2020-2021 are as follows
- 2020: 90%
- 2021: 6%
The average employment rate for graduates of 2020-2021 who passed the licensure exam who sought employment within 6 months of graduating is 95%.
Licensure Exam & Pass Rates
Following completion of academic and clinical work, graduates of the program will be able to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination for the Physical Therapist Assistant and the Florida Jurisprudence Examination. The exams are administered by the Professional Examination Service of Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (PES/FSBPT), 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115, Phone: 212.367.4200.
The ultimate NPTE pass rate (available at fsbpt.org) for the PTA Program graduates who took the exam from 2019–2020 is 73.8%
Licensure exam pass rate:
- 2019-2020: 81.6%
- 2020-2021: 68.5%
Most states require licensure in order for physical therapist assistants to practice; however, issuance of state licenses are usually based on the results of the PES/FSBPT licensing examination. Graduates need to apply for Florida licensure and to take the licensure exam upon graduation from the PTA Program. Any licensure questions can be addressed by contacting the Florida Board of Physical Therapy Practice at:
Florida Board of Physical Therapy Practice
2020 Capital Circle, SE, BIN # CO5
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3255
Physical therapist assistant salaries range from $33,000-$55,000 depending on the region and/or type of setting.