In Alaska, physical therapist assistants receive good compensation and are also in demand.
If you were considering a new career path, you’ll learn everything about the process of earning the license from this guide.
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Earning the Physical Therapist Assistant License
The license is issued by the Alaska Board of Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy.
You can’t obtain the license without proper education.
This means you’ll need to obtain a degree such as:
- Associate of Science (AS) in Physical Therapist Assistant
- Physical Therapist Assistant – Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
- Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Science
However, there are no programs in Alaska, but you can enroll in a program in a different state.
These programs can’t be completed online either because the coursework must include clinical hours as well.
The theory part will cover topics like:
- Clinical pathology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Professional ethics
- Exercise physiology
- Behavioral sciences
Before you choose you program, make sure it received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Taking the Physical Therapist Assistant License Exam
You’ll need to submit an application to take the license exam, called National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs.
For this, you’ll download the application form, fill it out, and attach all the other documents needed as well.
These documents include:
- An official college transcript, demonstrating the completion of an accredited physical therapy program
- A letter of recommendation
- The jurisprudence questionnaire found on the official application form
- The fees:
- Application fee – $70 a
- License fee – $175 fee
- Head and shoulders photo of yourself
- Notarized signature on the application
The letter can be from:
- Your program’s department head,
- An instructor,
- A past supervisor who is currently licensed in physical therapy
It can take no less than 4 weeks, and up to 6, to process an application.
Once the application is processed, the Board will inform you that you can schedule the exam.
You can choose to get a temporary permit as well if you want to start working faster.
This is because the exam is organized only a few times per year, and it might b a while until the next one.
This permit costs an additional $65.
Temporary permit holders will work under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.
Once you receive the notification you can take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs, you’ll need to:
- Pay the registration fee of $400 to the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy (FSBPT)
- Take the exam through Prometrics which requires an additional fee of $70
- Use the NPTE Candidate Handbook to prepare for the test
The topics of the exam cover:
- Conditions and Diseases that Impact Effective Treatment
- Safety and Protection
- PT Data Collection
- Patient Interaction
- Professional Responsibilities
- Equipment and Devices
- Therapeutic Modalities
The passing score is 600, and the maximum score is 800.
Those who fail, can retake the exam twice but no later than 12 months since the approval date.
Two failures mean that you’ll have to attend Board-approved coursework and then reapply.
Physical Therapist Assistant Salary Information
Once you obtain your license, you can find employment in the institutions below, and not only:
- Rehabilitation centers,
- Independent physical therapy centers
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Additional Information for Physical Therapist Assistants
Physical therapist assistants need to periodically renew their licenses to continue their practice.
In Alaska, these licenses expire every 2 years on June 30th and there is no grace period.
To renew your physical therapist assistant license you need:
- The renewal fee of $175
- A renewal form
- To complete 12 continuing competency contact hours in the first year after receiving the license
The license renews during even-numbered years, and those receiving theirs in an odd-numbered year will have the fee prorated.
The form and the fee must be mailed to the address on the form.
After the first renewal, everyone has to complete 24 continuing competency contact hours in 2 years.
The classes need to be related to your field of work, and need approval from one of these institutions:
- The Alaska Physical Therapy Association
- The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
- The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT)
- The American Medical Association
- Other Recognized State Boards and Associations
Make sure to keep detailed track of these hours.
For this, you’ll use the Physical Therapy and Physical Therapist Assistant Continuing Education Worksheet.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant