How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Florida

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How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Florida

If you are looking for a stable career in the health field, consider becoming a physical therapy assistant.

If you read on, you will get to learn more about this job and what are the requirements in Florida.

Earning Your License as a Physical Therapist Assistant

To earn a license in this field, you will first need to enroll in a training program.

This program has to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

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It can also be approved by The Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation or The US Department of Education.

The most convenient method to fulfill the requirements is opting for an associate’s degree.

Higher degrees are good options for those who build a career in this industry.

Such a program generally lasts for 2 years and includes both theory and practice.

The theory hours will touch on topics like:

  • Pediatrics and Gerontology
  • Kinesiology
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Therapeutic Exercise
  • Behavioral sciences
  • Professional ethics
  • Medical Terminology
  • Therapeutic Documentation for the PTA
  • Exercise physiology
  • Applied neuroscience
  • Clinical pathology
  • Biomechanics

These classes will amount to about 70-80 credit hours and you will have to complete about 500 to 600 hours of practice.

You can complete the internship hours at facilities such as:

  • Local hospitals,
  • Nursing homes,
  • Rehabilitation centers

It’s common for the schools to have agreements with these facilities and to help the students get into an internship.

Completing your program will be followed by an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Physical Therapist Assistant.

This will allow you to start applying for a license, as this is a requirement in Florida.

To get licensed, you need to pass to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs, provided by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT)

The paperwork you need to submit is:

  • The transcripts from your school
  • Work history information
  • Schedule the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs
  • A passport-sized picture
  • $180 application fee
  • Copy of your school transcripts

To get the PTA license, you have to pass the NPTE-PTA test.

You will also need to take the Florida Jurisprudence exam.

The National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) is open-book and covers the following topics:

  • Physical Therapy Data Collections
  • Interventions
  • Safety and Protections
  • Therapeutic Modalities
  • Diseases and Conditions that Affect Effective Treatment

You need to get a score of at least 600 out of 800 to pass.

The Florida Jurisprudence Exam covers topics such as:

  • Florida Statute Chapter 456: Health Professions and Occupations
  • Florida Statute Chapter 486: Physical Therapy
  • Florida Administrative Code Rules: Chapter 64B17: Board of Physical Therapy Practice

Physical Therapist Assistant Employment and Salary Information

In Florida state, the most important employers of physical therapist assistants are:

  • Florida Hospital Sports Medicine and Rehab – Oviedo
  • Heart of Florida Therapy Center – Davenport
  • Kissimmee Physical Therapy Center – Kissimmee
  • Health First Medical Rehab – Palm Bay
  • UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital – Gainesville
  • Holy Cross Hospital Orthopedic Institute – Fort Lauderdale
  • Wolfson Children’s Hospital – Jacksonville
  • Lakeland Health – Lakeland
  • Physical Therapy University of Miami Hospital – Miami
  • Miami Valley Hospital Physical Therapy – Miami
  • Physical Therapy and Balance Center – Royal Palm Beach
  • Sarasota Memorial Health Care Center – Sarasota
  • Florida Hospital Tampa – Tampa
  • Tampa General Hospital – Tampa

In this state, the best-paid PTAs earn around $63,591 a year.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Jacksonville $52,947
Miami $54,383
Tampa $53,170
Orlando $53,142
St. Petersburg $53,181
Hialeah $53,963
Tallahassee $50,667
Port St. Lucie $52,724
Fort Lauderdale $54,248
Cape Coral $51,946

Regional Salary in Florida

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL300$66,570$32$88,650$46,700
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL110$63,060$30.32$75,710$30,060
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL220$62,380$29.99$76,960$48,430
Gainesville, FL120$61,190$29.42$78,000$26,950
Homosassa Springs, FL70$57,380$27.59$71,490$27,410
Jacksonville, FL570$64,320$30.92$79,830$39,910
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL170$64,970$31.24$80,070$48,950
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL1,780$66,670$32.06$85,330$47,040
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL120$70,130$33.71$91,430$49,410
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL370$65,190$31.34$82,330$49,850
Ocala, FL100$63,790$30.67$83,310$42,650
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL860$70,960$34.12$93,600$51,050
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL210$64,050$30.79$79,720$45,080
Panama City, FL90$63,410$30.49$81,050$45,760
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL220$64,100$30.82$81,050$48,320
Port St. Lucie, FL180$62,140$29.87$75,080$40,860
Punta Gorda, FL70$64,360$30.94$77,720$42,020
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL80$65,320$31.41$87,830$51,850
Tallahassee, FL100$61,330$29.49$78,280$45,840
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL1,130$67,720$32.56$81,880$51,950
The Villages, FL50$62,710$30.15$76,020$43,970
* 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.

Jobs are also projected to see an increase of 29.6% between 2012 and 2022.

Physical Therapist Assistant License Renewal Information

In Florida, you have to renew your PTA license every 2 years.

For that to happen, you need to provide the following:

  • Online renewal application
  • Send in $80.00 renewal fee
  • 24 hours of extra education

The additional education needs to include:

  • 2 hours in medical error courses
  • 1 hour in HIV/AIDS courses
  • 22 hours of general classes

Some of the facilities where you can get extra education hours are:

  • Florida Physical Therapy Association (FPTA)
  • American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
  • Colleges or Universities Accredited by the Department of Education

You can get the needed hours by performing the next activities:

  • Join a Florida Board meeting
  • Serve on the probable cause panel
  • Take the Florida laws and rules test
  • Teach a class on physical therapist assistance
  • Attend a class or workshop

If you follow these tips, you can get hired fast and start the career you always wanted.

USA Physical Therapist Assistant Schools by State

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