How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Washington

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How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Washington

The healthcare system in the State of Washington needs physical therapist assistants.

This type of personnel is seen mostly in the following facilities, but not only:

  • Rehab clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Healthcare centers
  • Home health care service providers
  • Medical centers

This is where you’ll learn what it takes to become a physical therapist assistant in Washington.

Earning the Physical Therapist Assistant License in Washington

In Washington, the Department of Health-Physical Therapy Board demands a license from anyone who wants to work as a physical therapist assistant.

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For this, individuals will first have to enroll in a CAPTE-accredited program.

Upon graduation, you must have one of these degrees:

  • Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

After you have your degree in hand, you must sign up to take the licensing exam, called the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE).

All the schools offering the accepted degrees have admission requirements:

  • Up-to-date immunizations
  • A clean criminal record
  • No addictions
  • CPR certification

These programs have 3 components:

  • Classroom education
  • Laboratory classes
  • Internship

The classes you’ll take have different names, but the topics to be studied are similar:

  • Kinesiology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Behavioral sciences
  • Fitness and personal training
  • Gerontology
  • Clinical pathology
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Professional ethics
  • Pediatrics
  • Biomechanics
  • Rehabilitative agents
  • Anatomy and physiology

The internship lasts for at least 14 weeks and students are supposed to work full-time.

Most of the health centers where you’re expected to get hired, also have internship positions.

Future physical therapist assistants in Washington must pass the jurisprudence exam as well.

This test has 16 questions and if you pass it, you’ll need to print your passing certificate.

Now it’s time to register with the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) for the NPTE.

This step involved paying the exam fee of $400.

You’ll also have to apply with the Board to be allowed to take the exam.

You’ll need these papers:

  • A $100 application fee
  • Your jurisprudence examination passing certificate
  • A letter from your program director verifying your graduation
  • Your official college transcripts
  • The application form – filled out

You can apply with the Board before you graduate, but the school transcripts are needed before you receive your license to practice.

If you’re accepted, you’ll also have to sign up with Prometric who protectorates the NPTE.

At this time you must pay the final fee of $70.

You’ll have 4 hours to answer 200 questions that cover these topics:

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

Everyone is advised to use the Candidate Handbook and the online practice test to improve their chances of scoring the minimum passing grade of 600.

Employment and Salary Information for Physical Therapist Assistants in Washington

Once you’re a licensed physical therapist assistant, you can apply for a job at one of these employers:

  • Avalon Care Center in Federal Way
  • Avamere Rehabilitation of Cascade Park in Vancouver
  • Avamere Rehabilitation of Tacoma in Tacoma
  • EvergreenHealth Monroe in Monroe
  • Island Hospital – Physical Therapy in Anacortes
  • Lake Chelan Community Hospital in Chelan
  • ManorCare Health Services in Lacey, Lynnwood, Spokane, and Vancouver
  • Northwest Hospital & Medical Center in Seattle
  • Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles
  • St Francis Hospital in Federal Way

If you want to earn more, you’ll have to seek employment in a larger city like Seattle, Bellevue, or Renton.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Seattle $61,080
Spokane $53,852
Tacoma $59,238
Vancouver $57,847
Bellevue $61,080
Kent $59,118
Everett $59,773
Renton $61,020
Federal Way $59,238
Yakima $55,291

Regional Salary in Washington

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA50$59,410$28.56$77,410$48,990
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA50$58,280$28.02$76,200$36,630
Kennewick-Richland, WA70$59,440$28.58$80,390$36,400
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA40$60,990$29.32$77,110$46,600
Olympia-Tumwater, WA60$64,520$31.02$87,110$48,090
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA800$66,160$31.81$82,120$42,520
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA190$58,940$28.34$76,900$35,080
Wenatchee, WA30$62,060$29.84$77,800$49,690
Yakima, WA60$60,950$29.3$81,090$35,330
* 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 for Physical Therapist Assistants in Washington

In all the states physical therapist assistants must periodically renew their licenses.

In Washington, this must be done every year,  before your birthday.

Those who get licensed a maximum of 3 months before their birthdays, will have to renew their license on their next birthday.

The Board sends the renewal information out before the deadline.

To renew you’ll need:

  • To pay the renewal fee – $125
  • To complete 40 hours of Continuing Education (CE)
  • To accumulate 200 hours of employment every two years

The Board in Washington doesn’t pre-approve classes for continuing education.

There is a form where you must fill out and send to the Board.

USA Physical Therapist Assistant Schools by State

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