A Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) is a member of the health care team who provides Physical Therapy under the direction of a Physical Therapist. The PTA works directly with patients using a variety of physical therapy treatments including but not limited to exercise and functional training. It includes related education of the patient, family and public.

Professional Association

The American Physical Therapy Association is the professional association for physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students dedicated to the advancement of practice, education and research in physical therapy.

Upon successful completion of the degree, the student will be eligible to take the licensing exam for certification by the State of New York as a Physical Therapist Assistant.

Job Opportunities

PTAs are employed in outpatient clinics, sports medicine facilities, schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home care, athletic teams and other health service agencies.

If you think you are interested in the field of Physical Therapy:

  1. Observe physical therapy in a local facility. Call a local hospital, school for the physically challenged, outpatient clinic or nursing home and ask to speak to the physical therapy department or look up physical therapy practices in the yellow pages. Many schools require prior experience and PT departments are generally very accommodating.
  2. Search student links of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) online at www.apta.org.

Professional Credentialing

The Federation of State Boards for Physical Therapy is the national credentialing body that administers the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. New graduates of accredited educational program are eligible to sit for the examination. State licensure is awarded upon successful completion of the examination.

State Law Overview as it Relates to National licensure or certification

The program has determined that its curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands secondary to its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, based on the following: CAPTE accreditation of a physical therapist assistant program satisfies state educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, students graduating from CAPTE-accredited physical therapist assistant education programs are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website.

Educational Programs

The PTA Program has been designed as a career program leading to employment at the end of two years of study. However, students who want to pursue higher education to become a physical therapist (PT) must complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Further information may be found at www.apta.org Admission is competitive

New York State Licensure & Federal Employment Requirements

To be employed in New York State (NYS) as a physical therapist assistant upon graduation from the Physical Therapist Assistant Program, student-graduates must be licensed and registered to practice by the NYS Education Department, Office of the Professions.  In order to obtain a NYS license, applicants must pass an approved examination and be of “good moral character” as determined under the NYS Education Law.  Applicants for NYS licensure must reveal whether they have a criminal record (felony or misdemeanor), whether any criminal charges are pending against them, whether any licensing or disciplinary authority has ever taken any negative action against them, whether any hospital or licensed facility ever restricted or terminated professional training, employment, or privileges and whether the applicant ever voluntarily or involuntarily resigned or withdrew from such association to avoid imposition of such measures. In addition, every New York State applicant for a professional license, permit, or registration, or any renewal thereof, must file a written statement that as of the date of the filing, she or he is or is not under an obligation to pay child support. Individuals who are four months or more in arrears in child support may be subject to suspension of their business, professional and/or driver’s licenses. NPTE administered examinations are currently used by the New York State Board for Physical Therapy for the purpose of issuing New York State licenses.

Federal law limits the issuance of professional licenses, registrations and limited permits to United States citizens or qualified aliens. Accordingly, NYS applicants are required to provide information regarding their citizenship or alien status.

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