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Physical Therapist Assistant Schools In Washington D.C.

The current American healthcare sector is a rapidly expanding part of the nation’s economy, and nowhere is this truer than in the field of physical therapy.

With an ever-increasing number of individuals who make use of various types of physical therapy, physical therapist assistants (PTAs) currently enjoy growing and robust job opportunities.

What is the Field of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on using a variety of types of exercises and therapies to assist patients in recovering from traumatic injuries, degenerative conditions and various types of diseases. Today, physical therapy is seen as an integral part of any full-spectrum course of medical care.

Physical therapist assistants work with the supervising physical therapist, physician and other medical professionals in order to ensure that the patient receives an effective course of physical therapy.

This can be especially important when working with the growing number of cognitively impaired elderly individuals who receive physical therapy as part of their long-term medical treatment. These individuals must often be guided at every step of the process due to their mental state, requiring a patient and professional physical therapist assistant.

Physical Therapist Assistant Duties

physical therapist schools in washington dcAs a licensed medical professional, the PTA works closely with other members of the medical staff in planning and implementing a course of physical therapy. In most cases, the PTA will work directly under the supervision of a physician or licensed physical therapist and will provide detailed and accurate reports regarding the progress of their patients.

The most common duties a PTA will perform include the following:

  • The PTA will help to implement physical therapy treatments at private and public hospitals as part of a plan of rehabilitation designed to assist the patient regain his or her physical abilities.
  • Sports medicine is becoming an increasingly important field for the practice of physical therapy. The PTA will work with qualified specialists in this field to help the patient recover from sports-related injuries. In addition, many physical therapy programs are designed to prevent the development of sports-related muscle and skeletal injuries.
  • Many PTAs work in long-term convalescent and rehabilitation hospitals. These individuals assist those individuals with chronic or serious medical conditions to recover as much of their physical capability as possible.
  • Senior care facilities incorporate physical therapy programs as a method of preventing age-related physical and mental degeneration. In some cases, a program of physical therapy has been shown to counteract some forms of senile dementia.

PTAs work in a wide variety of surroundings. While most PTAs work in outpatient clients and hospitals, a large number work in private doctor’s offices where they directly assist the doctor in evaluating and treating his or her patients.

Other PTAs may work in athletic and fitness clubs, providing physical therapy for the members.

Becoming a PTA

In order to work as a PTA in the District of Columbia, an individual must complete the following steps:

Complete a PTA program at an accredited school.

• Successfully take and complete the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination (NPTAE).

• Complete the District of Columbia jurisprudence examination.

In addition, a prospective PTA must be at least 20 years of age and be able to pass a background check conducted by the licensing authority.

PTA Programs

Physical therapy programs are offered by community colleges and some vocational training institutions. A full-time student can generally complete these programs within two years.

These programs have a mixture of academic and clinical instruction that is designed to ensure that the successful graduate will be capable of serving as an effective PTA.

In addition, many programs have a part-time or distance learning option. A part-time schedule can be extremely useful for those students who are currently employed or are otherwise unable to attend regularly scheduled classes.

In addition, distance-learning programs allow the student to complete some or all of his or her coursework via the Internet, ensuring that the student’s schedule will be a flexible one. However, some classes, especially those involving lab work, may require that the student physically attend the instruction sessions.

Finally, the student should ensure that his or her school is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Only CAPTE accredited programs can be used to fulfill the educational requirement to become a PTA. Students who have completed a foreign program must prove that it is substantially equal to a CAPTE accredited program before it will be accepted by the licensing body.


The NPTAE is a comprehensive test that covers all aspects of the field of physical therapy. PTA’s who successfully pass the NPTAE have demonstrated a grasp of the practical and academic aspects of the practice of physical therapy.

It is extremely important that the candidate ensure that he or she is capable of passing the NPTAE, as the District of Columbia will require remedial coursework for a candidate who fails the examination three or more times. This will substantially delay the licensure process and may impact the individual’s ability to obtain a PTA license in other states.

The Jurisprudence Examination

Finally, the student must pass the jurisprudence examination. This exam is designed to ensure that all PTAs working in the District of Columbia understand their legal responsibilities and rights. This is extremely important as violating the law regarding what services a PTA can offer will result in substantial penalties and might lead to the PTA losing his or her license.

Ultimately, becoming a PTA can be an excellent choice for those individuals seeking an exciting and rewarding career in the field of physical therapy.

Not only do PTAs enjoy excellent professional advancement prospects, but they are also well respected among their fellow medical professionals and the general public alike.

Physical Therapist Assistant Programs In D.C.

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