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 program. There are 29 credit hours of program core courses, including 17 credit hours of general education. Included within 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. See available program curriculum sequence here.

Cost

The following is an estimate of the expenses for a resident of Florida to complete the five semesters of the professional curriculum. These expenses are subject to change without notice.

**Tuition @ $82.78/hr. ($248.33/hr., for a total cost of $18,376 for out-of-state student tuition)  $ 6125.72
 Student Fees @ 29.44/cr hr.  $ 2178.56*
 Lab Fees  $ 323.50*
 Books (including licensure exam review material)  $ 1,840.00*
 Lab Attire, Uniform, CPR, Name Tag, etc.  $ 335.00*
 Clinical Education Related Expenses (travel, lodging, background check,  drug screens, etc.)  $ 485.00*
 Licensing Exam  $ 705.00 *
 Examination Center Charges  $ 50.00*
 Subtotal of Tuition Expenses  $ 8,627.78*
 Subtotal of Non-Tuition Expenses  $ 3,415.00*
 Estimated In-State Expenses  $12,042.78**
 Estimated Out-of-State Expenses $24,293.06**

*These are only estimate costs.
**Based on tuition in 2016-2017.

Class Size

A new cohort of  24 students are 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).

Prerequisites

A total of 11 credits of general education requirements need to be completed before starting course work in the PTA Program. The remaining 6 credits of general education courses may be taken in conjunction with PTA Program course work.

Core Courses

PTA courses consist of a total of 57 credit hours, 13 of which are clinical practice in community clinical sites.

Program Hours

The PTA program is offered on the Winter Haven campus. Classes are scheduled Monday through Thursday primarily day time with some evening hours.

Graduation and Employment Rates

Approximately 97.9% of students entering the program graduate/complete the program (2-year average, 2015-2016). Annual graduation rates for Academic Years 2015-2016 are as follows:

2015: 100%
2016: 95.83%

Graduate and employer surveys indicate that 100% 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 2015-2016 is 97.5%.

Florida Licensure

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
Telephone: 850.488.0595
Fax: 850.414.6860

Potential Earnings

Physical therapist assistant salaries range from $33,000-$55,000 depending on the region and/or type of setting.