The Best Physical Therapist Assistant Programs

Become Team
Become Team
November 11, 2021

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Physical therapist assistants' salary is $59,440 a year on average. When you consider that the average income across all occupations is $41,950, this is a strong salary for a job that only requires an associate degree and passing the National Physical Therapy Exam. You can find the best physical therapist assistant at community colleges and vocational schools.

25 Best Physical Therapist Assistant Programs

To work as a physical therapist assistant, you need to graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). But the best programs are also affordable and graduate the majority of its students. Here are some of the best physical therapist assistant programs in alphabetical order:

How We Choose the Best Programs

We chose the best physical therapist assistant programs based on the following criteria:

  • Under $35,000 net price
  • Over 50% graduation rate
  • Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accreditation
Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center Cape Girardeau, MO

School type: Public
Net price: $10,739
Graduation rate: 84%

Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree for physical therapist assistants. You'll complete in-person classes and clinical rotations.

Colby Community College Colby, KS

School type: Public
Net price: $9,655
Graduation rate: 54%

Colby Community College's four-semester physical therapist assistant associate degree program ends in a 10-week clinical experience.

Concorde Career College-Aurora Aurora, CO

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $19,765
Graduation rate: 72%

You can complete the physical therapist assistant associate degree program at Concorde Career College's Aurora campus in 21 months.

Concorde Career College-Dallas Dallas, TX

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $22,745
Graduation rate: 73%

Concorde Career College's Dallas campus offers a 21-month associate degree to become a physical therapist assistant.

Concorde Career College-Garden Grove Garden Grove, CA

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $20,731
Graduation rate: 83%

Concorde Career College's Garden Grove campus has a physical therapist assistant associate degree program that you can complete in 21-months. It includes an externship.

Concorde Career College-Memphis Memphis, TN

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $20,931
Graduation rate: 66%

The associate degree program at Concorde Career College's Memphis campus allows students to become physical therapist assistants in 21 months.

Concorde Career Institute-Miramar Miramar, FL

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $25,229
Graduation rate: 67%

Like Concorde Career College, Concorde Career Institute in Miramar offers a 21-month physical therapist assistant associate degree program.

Fox College Bedford Park, IL

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $13,195
Graduation rate: 78%

Fox College's 18-month physical therapist assistant associate degree program includes hands-on learning in the on-campus simulated physical therapy clinic.

Institute of Technology Clovis, CA

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $22,551
Graduation rate: 74%

Institute of Technology's physical therapist assistant program is a hybrid program, meaning you learn both in-person and online.

Johnson College Scranton, PA

School type: Private not-for-profit
Net price: $18,996
Graduation rate: 62%

Johnson College offers a five-semester physical therapist assistant associate degree program with clinical education on partner sites.

Lake Area Technical College Watertown, SD

School type: Public
Net price: $12,075
Graduation rate: 68%

Lake Area Technical College's 20-month physical therapist assistant associate degree program prepares students with both classroom learning and clinical experience.

North Iowa Area Community College Mason City, IA

School type: Public
Net price: $8,456
Graduation rate: 52%

North Iowa Area Community College offers a physical therapist assistant associate degree program that you can complete in two years.

Northeast Community College Norfolk, NE

School type: Public
Net price: $8,813
Graduation rate: 53%

Northeast Community College's Associate of Applied Science degree program for physical therapy assistants prepares students for the national and state exams.

Pima Medical Institute-Albuquerque Albuquerque, NM

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $20,176
Graduation rate: 66%

Pima Medical Institute's Albuquerque campus offers an 18-month associate degree program that helps future physical therapist assistants get the training they need to help patients rehabilitate.

Pima Medical Institute-Denver Denver, CO

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $17,886
Graduation rate: 80%

Pima Medical Institute at Denver has a physical therapist assistant associate degree program that includes hands-on training and classroom instruction, preparing students for national and state exams.

Pima Medical Institute-Houston Houston, TX

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $23,289
Graduation rate: 75%

Pima Medical Institute's Houston campus offers a physical therapist assistant associate degree program that you can complete in five semesters.

Pima Medical Institute-Las Vegas Las Vegas, NV

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $18,736
Graduation rate: 54%

Pima Medical Institute's Las Vegas physical therapist assistant associate degree program is much like Pima's other campuses, but it includes an additional three-credit class that you can take online.

Pima Medical Institute-Mesa Mesa, AZ

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $21,007
Graduation rate: 71%

You can earn an Associate of Occupational Science in Pima Medical Institute at Mesa's physical therapist assistant program.

Pima Medical Institute-Seattle Seattle, WA

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $25,476
Graduation rate: 70%

Pima Medical Institute's Seattle campus offers a physical therapist assistant associate degree program that includes three clinical practicum courses over the five semesters.

Professional Skills Institute Maumee, OH

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $31,657
Graduation rate: 67%

Professional Skills Institute has a physical therapist assistant associate degree program that you can complete in 96 weeks. It includes 656 hours of work in physical therapist departments and clinics.

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI

School type: Public
Net price: $10,115
Graduation rate: 55%

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College's physical therapist assistant associate degree program that you can take during the day, evening, weekend, or online.

State Technical College of Missouri Linn, MO

School type: Public
Net price: $7,218
Graduation rate: 72%

State Technical College of Missouri offers a physical therapist assistant program that placed 98% of its graduates in jobs in the 2017-18 school year.

Taylor College Belleview, FL

School type: Private for-profit
Net price: $22,893
Graduation rate: 50%

Taylor College's 72-credit physical therapist assistant program takes 20 months to complete. Taylor College caps class sizes at 24 students, meaning you'll get valuable 1:1 time with instructors.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, KY

School type: Public
Net price: $7,780
Graduation rate: 51%

West Kentucky Community and Technical College offers a five-semester physical therapist assistant associate degree program. They only admit 16 students each year, so the program is highly selective, but the small class size allows for better instruction.

How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant

To become a physical therapist assistant, you must first obtain an associate degree. Physical therapist assistant degrees typically take two to three years to complete. It's possible to graduate faster, but the course load is heavy and time-intensive.

Once you complete the proper schooling, you can take the National Physical Therapy Exam. The cost for the physical therapist assistant exam is $485, and you need a score higher than 600.

After you are fully licensed, you may need to take continuing education courses to maintain your certification. The requirements for each state are different, so be sure you understand what you need to do to maintain licensure from year to year.

FAQs on Physical Therapist Assistant Programs

Do you have to take a program to become a physical therapist assistant?

Yes, anyone aspiring to become a physical therapist assistant must acquire, at minimum, an associate degree in physical therapy education. Some four-year colleges offer associate degrees, but you'll spend less at community college or vocational school.

What will you learn in a physical therapist assistant program?

Typically, students study physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, anatomy, behavioral sciences, and clinical pathology. This is because becoming a physical therapist assistant requires a broad spectrum of knowledge.

How long is physical therapist assistant school?

If you have no college experience, expect to spend between two and three years studying to become a physical therapist assistant. It is possible to complete the program sooner, but this means you will have to tackle a heavier course load each semester.

How much does a physical therapist assistant school cost?

Physical therapist assistant schools' costs vary greatly depending on where you live and what type of program you choose. You could spend a few thousand dollars on an associate degree or up to $30,000. All of the programs listed above are below $35,000 total, making each program cost less than just one year at a four-year school.

To determine the total cost of tuition, calculate how many credit hours you need to graduate at the school, and then multiply that number by the cost per credit hour that the school charges. The sum will equal the total cost of tuition but won't take into account fees or textbooks. Talk to an admissions counselor about the net price of your program before signing up.

How to Choose the Right Physical Therapist Assistant Program

To find the best physical therapist assistant schools, look for the following:

Other Ways to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant

Anyone hoping to become a physical therapist assistant must undergo the proper training from an accredited college or university before they can take the National Physical Therapy Exam. It is not possible to forgo schooling before taking the test.

Once you are state-certified to be a physical therapist assistant, you could continue your education to get a more advanced degree to become a physical therapist.

Financial Aid for Your Physical Therapist Assistant Program

Physical Therapist Assistant Scholarship

Mary McMillan Scholarship Award

Physical Therapist Assistant Grants

Pell Grant

Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant Program

Become Team
Become Team
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