How Much Does Physical Therapist Assistant Training Cost?

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$ Certification Exam: $350 $ $ Community Colleges: $5,000-$8,000+ $ $ $ Private Programs: $10,000-$20,000+

The physical therapist assistants assist the physical therapists in administering care to patients who are managing chronic or traumatic injuries.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a great deal of the states require physical therapist assistants to be licensed.

Typical Costs

  • Training for physical therapist assistants is usually completed in a two-year program and ends up in an associate’s degree.
  • The physical therapy assistant programs are provided at community colleges and technical schools throughout the U.S.
  • The community colleges charge less for tuition than private technical colleges, especially for students who attend school in their home state, though private schools could offer working adults more flexible schedules.
  • The fee at the community college can cost as little as $2,500 annually, while private colleges can cost as much as $10,000 annually.
  • For example, at St. Petersburg College in Florida, a two-year program costs $5,308 for total tuition for in-state residents, and $18,254 for the two-year program for out-of-state students is significantly higher.
  • At the private technical college Pima Medical Institute in Denver, students pay $344 per credit and earn an AA degree upon completing the 60 credits program for over $20,000 for total tuition.
  • Most states require certification from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, and the FSBPT exam costs $350.

What Is Included

  • The physical therapist assistants can help patients learn to use therapeutic equipment such as crutches or help patients learn rehabilitative exercises, under the supervision of a physical therapist.
  • The physical therapist assistants typically work in hospitals in the private offices of physical therapists.
  • A great deal of the classes focuses on developing practical skills in classes such as kinesiology and anatomy.
  • The students also complete an AA degree, general education courses, such as English and math.
  • Clinical hours including internships, or volunteering in the office of a physical therapist, are needed in addition to coursework.
  • Programs may further include labs in addition to classes, where students practice the skills they learned in the classroom in mock-clinical settings on mechanical patients.

Additional Costs

  • In addition to certification, some states require CPR and First Aid certification, that can be completed at Red Cross or American Heart Association chapters.
  • The course fees vary by location and are typically less than $100 a class.
  • Technical schools often include books as part of their fees, however, at community colleges and universities offering PTA training, the book costs are the same as at any other college course of study between $750-$1,300 per year, depending on the program.

Discounts

Students, who are enrolled at least part-time (in general for six credit hours) may be eligible for federal financial aid, for example, Stafford Loans and Pell Grants.

Contact the financial aid departments of individual schools for more information.

Shopping For Physical Therapist Assistant Training

  • The American Physical Therapy Association provides a list with the accredited schools approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
  • When shopping for schools, remember to check the total time to degree, the pass rate for the FSBPT exam, as well as the percentage of graduates currently employed as PTAs, according to the APTA, which further lists other factors to consider when choosing a PTA school.

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