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, 50 observation hours, and submit an application to the program during the application period (applying to the program does not guarantee acceptance into the program).
A total of 10 credits of general education requirements need to be completed before applying to the PTA Program. The remaining 6 credits of general education courses may be taken in conjunction with PTA Program coursework.
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 are scheduled Monday through Thursday primarily daytime with some evening hours.
Graduation and Employment Rates
Approximately 90% of students entering the program graduate / complete the program (2-year average, 2019-2020). Annual graduation rate for Academic Years 2019-2020 are as follows
- 2019: 90.9%
- 2020: 90%
Graduate and employer surveys indicate that 93% of graduates who had passed the licensure exam are employed as physical therapist assistants within 6 months of passing the licensure exam.
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 NPTAE pass rate (available at fsbpt.org) for the PTA Program graduates who took the exam from 2018 – 2019 is 84.05%. The average first-time pass rate for 2018-2019 is 61.15%.
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.