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Physical Therapist Assistant Training Cost

How Much Does Physical Therapist Assistant Training Cost?

low costCertification Exam: $350average costCommunity Colleges: $5,000-$8,000+high costPrivate Programs: $10,000-$20,000+
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Physical therapist assistants help physical therapists administer care to patients who are managing chronic or traumatic injuries. Many states require physical therapist assistants to be licensed, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook[1] .

Typical costs:

  • Training for physical therapist assistants is usually completed in a two-year program[2] culminating in an associate's degree. Physical therapy assistant programs are offered at community colleges and technical schools throughout the U.S. Usually, community colleges charge less for tuition than private technical colleges, especially for students attending school in their home state, though private schools may offer working adults more flexible schedules.
  • Community college can cost as little as $2,500 a year, while private colleges can cost as much as $10,000 per year.
  • At St. Petersburg College in Florida, for example, a two-year program costs $5,308 for total tuition[3] for in-state residents. Tuition for out-of-state students is significantly higher, however, at $18,254 for the two-year program.
  • At the Pima Medical Institute in Denver[4] , a private technical college, students pay $344 per credit and earn an AA degree upon completing the program, which typically requires 60 credits. This adds up to over $20,000 for total tuition.
  • Most states require certification from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. The FSBPT exam[5] costs $350.
Related articles: Physical Therapist School, Medical Assistant School, Dental Assistant School, Community College, College, Nursing School

What should be included:
  • Physical therapist assistants may help patients learn to use therapeutic equipment like crutches, for example, or help patients learn rehabilitative exercises, under the supervision of a physical therapist. Physical therapist assistants typically work in hospitals on in the private offices of physical therapists.
  • Most classes will focus on developing practical skills, in classes such as kinesiology and anatomy. For students also completing an AA degree, general education courses, such as English and math, will also be required.
  • Clinical hours, such as internships, or volunteering in the office of a physical therapist, are typically required in addition to coursework. Programs may also include labs in addition to classes, where students practice the skills they learned in the classroom in mock-clinical settings on mechanical patients.
Additional costs:
  • In addition to certification, some states require CPR and First Aid certification, which can be completed at Red Cross or American Heart Association chapters. Course fees vary by location, but are typically less than $100 a class.
  • Technical schools may include books as part of their fees, but at community colleges and universities offering PTA training, book costs are the same as any other college course of study, and can cost $750-$1,300 or more a year, depending on the program.
  • Students enrolled at least part time (typically 6 credit hours) may be eligible for federal financial aid such as Stafford Loans[6] and Pell Grants[7] . Contact the financial aid departments of individual schools for more information.
Shopping for physical therapist assistant training:
  • The American Physical Therapy Association lists accredited schools approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
  • When shopping for schools, check the total time to degree, the pass rate for the FSBPT exam, and the percentage of graduates currently employed as PTAs, according to the APTA, which also lists other factors to consider when choosing a PTA school.
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