If you like to help others recover, perhaps the career of a physical therapist assistant is one of interest for you.
This article will guide you through the steps you need to take to become a physical therapist assistant in Georgia, so read on!
Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Georgia
In Georgia, physical therapist assistants need to earn a license before being able to work in this field.
The licenses are issued by the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy and the first step is to earn a degree in the field.
These degrees must be obtained through a CAPTE-accredited program.
They can be at the associate’s or bachelor’s level.
The most common degrees for future physical therapist assistants are:
- Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science (AS)
- Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
The programs must be formed of classroom education, labs, and clinical work, and an internship.
The internship is generally between 630 and 700 hours long, and many schools help their students to get into one.
The curriculum will vary from school to school but expect to study topics such as:
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Introduction to Physical Therapist Assistant
- Testing & Measurement for the Physical Therapist Assistant
- Therapeutic Exercises
- Physical Therapy through the Lifespan
- Current Issues in Rehabilitation
Only when you’re done with all the classes, the internship, and have the degree in hand, you can apply for the exam for the license.
You’ll need to pass 2 exams to get your license as a physical therapist assistant:
- Jurisprudence exam
- National Physical Therapist Exam
You can either apply online or the old-fashioned way, with actual papers.
If you choose the latter option, you’ll need to provide additional physical documents.
- The application form
- Affidavit regarding citizenship form
- Background investigation consent form
- Submit official transcripts
- $40.00 application fee
- Register for the Georgia PTA Jurisprudence Exam
- The registration fee is $35
- Register for the National Physical Therapist Exam
- The registration fee is $400
All these documents must be sent to the Board found in the City of Macon.
You’re supposed to receive Authorization to Test (ATT) letters from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
The letter will inform you of how and where you can take the exams through Prometric.
The National Physical Therapist Exam will test you on how you apply physical therapist assistant concepts, knowledge, and principals across bodily systems like:
- The lymphatic system
- The musculoskeletal system
- The neuromuscular system
- The endocrine system
You’ll also need knowledge of the following topics:
- PTA equipment and devices
- Therapeutic modalities
- Safety and protection
- Professional responsibilities
- Research-based practice
- Data collection for the PTA
The passing score is 600 and the Federation will send the results directly to the Board.
For the jurisprudence exam you’ll have to study:
- Georgia Physical Therapy Act
- General Provisions
- Georgia Board Rules
The passing score for this test is 80% and the Federation will also send the results directly to the Board.
Those who pass both exams will receive their licenses.
Physical Therapist Assistant Salary Information
Generally, your experience and level of education will dictate how much you’ll earn as a physical therapist assistant.
If you want a higher salary, see employment in cities like Atlanta, Roswell, Alpharetta, or Athens.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
In Georgia, some of the best employers are:
- The Memorial University Medical Center
- The St. Joseph’s / Candler Health System
Other places where you can apply for a job as a physical therapist assistant, are:
- Nursing homes
- Outpatient centers
Physical Therapist Assistant License Renewal
Physical therapist assistants must renew their licenses every two years.
For this, you will need to complete 30 hours of continuing education before the renewal date.
These hours must include a minimum of 4 hours of ethics and jurisprudence education.
The following activities will count as continuing education credits:
- Undergo a peer review (15 hours maximum)
- Conduct a peer review (10 hours maximum)
- Present a continuing education workshop, seminar, symposium, or course (10 hours maximum)
- Author a scientific poster or publish an article (20 hours maximum)
- Teach as a physical therapist assistant adjunct (20 hours maximum)
- Earn specialty certification from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (up to 30 hours)
- Self-instruction (3 hours maximum)
The Board will need you to register with aPTitude, the FSBPT’s continuing education recording system, to keep track of the hours.
Once you’re done logging the hours fr the renewal period, you can submit the renewal application found online.
There is a fee associated with the renewal, of $45, so make sure to include it in the application.