How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Arizona

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How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Arizona

Some people like taking care of others, and if you’re one of them you could consider becoming a physical therapist assistant.

In Arizona, these professionals are in steady demand.

Here you can learn more about how you can enter this field and develop a new career path.

Earning the Physical Therapist Assistant Certification

These professionals are under the jurisdiction of the Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy.

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To be allowed to work in this field, you’ll first have to obtain a degree and a certification, just like in most other states.

The program you enroll in needs to have a CAPTE accreditation or accreditation from another agency that the Board approved.

These programs can be found in larger cities like Tucson, Mesa, and Phoenix, but not only.

You’ll generally need an associate’s degree, though higher degrees are also accepted and open the door for more career possibilities.

Some degrees you could earn are:

  • Associate of Science (AS) in Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Physical Therapist Assistant – Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Science

The program you choose should include classroom education, lab work as well as an approved internship.

You’ll study topics such as, but not only:

  • Biomechanics
  • Professional ethics
  • Clinical pathology
  • Therapeutic Exercise
  • Pediatrics and Gerontology
  • Behavioral sciences
  • Applied neuroscience
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Kinesiology
  • Exercise physiology:

When the program completes, you should have your diploma.

This will allow you to apply for the mandatory certification exams.

The exams you must pass are:

  • The National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT)
  • The Arizona Physical Therapy Jurisprudence Examination through the Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy

For this you’ll need:

  • The application form
  • The school to send your transcripts to the Board
  • A notarized signature
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship
  • To pay a fee based on the month you apply: $120 or $160
  • A certified copy of an identification document

The national exam costs $400 to take and the exam service provider is Prometric.

The passing score is 600, and the topics of the exam cover:

  • Interventions
  • Safety and Protection
  • PT Data Collection
  • Professional Responsibilities
  • Equipment and Devices
  • Therapeutic Modalities

To prepare for this test, you can use the practice exam & assessment tool (PEAT) found online and the NPTE Candidate Handbook.

The jurisprudence exam has 50 questions with multiple choices.

You’ll need to know the Arizona State statutes regarding physical therapist assistants.

There is a candidate handbook you can use to help you pass it.

This test costs $50 and it is still administered by Prometric.

Should you fail this exam, you can retake it once more.

If you fail it the second time as well, you’ll have to reapply for the certification exam.

Physical Therapist Assistant Certification Renewal

On August 31st of even-numbered years, the certification of the physical therapist assistants expires.

The Board has renewal packets that individuals must request in advance.

Besides the renewal packet and all the documents, you also need to include the renewal fee of $55.

The Board in Arizona doesn’t require individuals to continue their education for their certification renewal.

All the details related to the renewal process can be found in Chapter 24 of the State of Arizona’s Administrative Code.

Physical Therapist Assistant Salary Information

In the 2012-2022 period, the demand for physical therapist assistants is expected to have a total growth of 39.7%, one of the highest in this sector, in all states.

The best employers for such professionals are the:

  • Clinics,
  • Hospitals,
  • Nursing homes,
  • Rehabilitation centers

Salaries are higher for those with more experience, those who can establish a career, or for those working in larger cities.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Phoenix $55,087
Tucson $52,396
Mesa $55,095
Chandler $55,095
Scottsdale $55,095
Glendale $55,087
Gilbert $55,095
Tempe $55,095
Peoria $54,975
Surprise $54,603

Regional Salary in Arizona

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Flagstaff, AZ30$63,670$30.61$80,280$51,130
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ60$57,670$27.72$69,950$48,110
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ930$63,710$30.63$80,460$34,030
Prescott, AZ40$68,380$32.88$87,630$57,180
Tucson, AZ260$62,500$30.05$78,810$45,380
Yuma, AZ40$54,870$26.38$85,660$28,400
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Physical Therapist Assistants, OCC Code 31-2021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Additional Information

Some of the best employers in Arizona include the following institutions:

  • Corebalance Therapy
  • Derosa Physical Therapy
  • Flagstaff Medical Center
  • OSR Physical Therapy
  • Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
  • Desert Sky Assisted Living
  • Kinect Physical Therapy
  • Arizona Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  • Apex Physical Therapy
  • Foothills Sports Medicine
  • Strength Training Inc.
  • 360 Physical Therapy
  • Desert Institute of Physical Therapy
  • Guidry Physical Therapy
  • Petersen Physical Therapy
  • Arizona Physical Therapy

These companies are found in cities like Flagstaff, Glendale, Phoenix, or Scottsdale, but not only.

USA Physical Therapist Assistant Schools by State

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