Massachusetts is a good state to start a career as a physical therapist assistant because this profession was one of the fastest-growing ones back in 2015.
If you want to know what education and steps you need to take towards this career path, in Massachusetts, then read on!
Earning Your License as a Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical therapist assistants in this state are under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Board of Allied Health Professions, Division of Professional Licensure.
This Division will issue your physical therapist assistant license, but first, you’ll need to undergo some training.
The training for this profession is actually some formal education that ends with a degree similar to the following ones:
- Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
- Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Science (AS)
To be accepted, the school offering such degrees need accreditation from CAPTE.
The schools may have different acceptance criteria, so expect to be required to provide proof of:
- Current immunizations
- Liability insurance
- CPR certification
- Passing a criminal background check
The curriculum of the programs will be different from school to school, however, it will have to have both classroom education and an internship.
The classroom hours will generally cover topics such as:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Soft Tissue Techniques and Modalities
- Kinesiology lecture and lab
- Clinical Pathologies
- PT Assessment and Measurement
- Musculoskeletal PT Intervention
- Cardiopulmonary PT Intervention
- Neuromuscular PT Intervention
Internships are usually facilitated by the school and will last for around 240 hours for an associate’s degree.
If you choose to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program, you might have to complete a longer internship.
The following institutions accept internships for future physical therapist assistants:
- Braintree Rehabilitation – Braintree
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Boston
- Cambridge Health Alliance
- Falmouth Sports Therapy – Falmouth
- Genesis Rehabilitation
- Jump Start Physical Therapy – Natick
- New England Sinai Hospital – Stoughton
- Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital – Haverhill and Westborough
- Spaulding Rehabilitation Center – Boston
When you graduate from the program, you’ll have to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to obtain the license.
The Professional Credentialing Services, Inc. manages the licensing process.
You will need:
- To download and fill out the application form
- Pay the $225 processing fee
- To submit the Criminal Offender Record Information Request Form
- Official school transcripts
The request form and the application need to be notarized.
If you don’t have the transcripts from the school yet, you can use the Certification of Completion of Education instead.
Those who are approved will receive an Authorization to Test Notice from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
At this point, you’ll have to pay a fee of $400 to the Federation, for the test.
The exam is organized at the Prometric testing centers and there’s an associated $70 fee for proctoring the test.
The topics on the exam cover:
- Physical Therapy Data Collection (20.7%)
- Safety & Protection; Professional Responsibilities; Research (6%)
- Diseases/Conditions that Impact Effective Treatment (28%)
- Interventions (30.7%)
- Equipment & Devices; Therapeutic Modalities (14.7%)
You have 4 hours to answer 200 questions and you need to score 600 to pass.
Those who feel are not well prepared can use the candidate’s handbook and the online practice test to prepare for the exam.
If you want an embossed wall certificate, you’ll need to send:
- A request to the Professional Credentialing Services,
- The extra $25 fee,
- Specification for how to have the name displayed
Physical Therapist Assistant Employment and Salary Information
The types of facilities seeking physical therapist assistants are:
- Nursing homes
- Home health agencies
- Sports clinics
The highest chances of getting hired are at these companies:
- Upham’s Corner Community Health Center – Boston
- VIP Physical Therapy – Springfield
- VNA Care Network, Inc. – Needham
- South Shore Hospital – South Weymouth
- Paragon Rehabilitation – Cambridge
- Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Affiliates – Charlestown
- HomeCare Hospice – Westwood
- Morton Hospital – Taunton
- Heritage/Health PRO – Easton
- Caretenders Home Health – Newton
- Preferred Therapy Solutions – Natick
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Physical Therapist Assistant License Renewal Information
The physical therapist assistants in Massachusetts have to renew their licenses every 2 years, on their birthdays.
There is a $100 renewal fee you’ll have to pay.
You’ll receive instructions on how to proceed.
Your new license should arrive in 4 weeks.
Many states require these professionals to continue their education.
In Massachusetts, you don’t have to do this, but it’s best to stay informed of the changes, should they happen.