Physical Therapist Assistant & PT Aide Schools

As uncomfortable as physical therapy can be for post-operative patients, the occupational independence they gain from it is well worth the effort. Physical therapy is the treatment of injuries, disorders, and other issues by using non-surgical methods, such as massage, heat treatment, exercises, assistive equipment (such as walkers), and more. Accordingly, PTAs and PT aides may work with patients of all ages and abilities. Some of their patients may recover from work-related or sports injuries, while others may have a neurological disorder that impacts movement.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the addition of almost 27,600 physical therapist assistant (PTA) and physical therapy aide (PT aide) jobs between 2022 and 2032. Jobs in physical therapy assistance are predicted to grow by over 19 percent as the Baby Boomer generation in the United States ages and requires rehabilitation for post-surgery recovery for hip and shoulder replacements and other common age-related ailments.

PTAs and PT aides typically work in an office, clinic, hospital, skilled nursing facility, or home health setting. Depending on the setting, some PTAs and PT aides may work in an environment that specializes in certain patient groups, such as children or athletes. Those interested in this field should demonstrate strong interpersonal skills, as they commonly interact one-on-one with patients, as well as compassion and attention to detail. Many PTAs and PT aides are on their feet for most of the day, so they should have dexterity and physical stamina.

PTAs and PT aides perform different functions to ensure quality care is provided to patients. PTAs have more education and licensing requirements than physical therapist aides. Working under the supervision and direction of a physical therapist, PTAs work to provide treatment, rehabilitation, and preventive care to people of all ages.

They work closely with patients, monitoring and reporting their status and progress to the physical therapist throughout their treatment. Care and treatment options may include exercises, hands-on therapy, and assistive equipment. Recovery plans range from short- to long-term care depending on the injury or illness.

All PTAs must obtain a high school diploma or GED and complete an associate’s degree from a PTA program accredited through the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Coursework typically includes clinical pathology, biology, anatomy, physiology, and ethics and 15-30 weeks of supervised clinical education to obtain hands-on experience.

PT aides perform indirect patient care by performing clerical duties, setting and cleaning up treatment areas, and moving patients. They gain experience through on-the-job training and are not required to get licensed or certified. PT aides typically have a high school diploma or GED. Working as a PT aide can be a stepping stone toward becoming a physical therapist or PTA.

Read on to discover how to become a PTA, including education and licensure requirements, or pursue a career as a PT aide.

Fast Facts Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Physical Therapy Aide (PT Aide)
Projected Jobs Created 26,300 1,300
Projected Job Growth: 2021 to 2031 26 percent 3 percent
Low Salary: 10th Percentile $43,340 $22,140
Average Salary (Median) $62,770 $33,210
High Salary: 90th Percentile $85,230 $41,320
Entry-Level EDU Associate’s Degree High School Diploma/GED
Sources BLS (2022-2023)

List of Physical Therapist Assistant & Aide Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website GRADS ('21)
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale Florida 178
Pima Medical Institute-Tucson Tucson Arizona 79
The Pennsylvania State University University Park Pennsylvania 79
Broward College Fort Lauderdale Florida 77
Fox College Tinley Park Illinois 60
Concorde Career College-Garden Grove Garden Grove California 56
American Career College-Anaheim Anaheim California 53
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis Indiana 53
Southern California Health Institute North Hollywood California 53
Central Penn College Summerdale Pennsylvania 51
South College Knoxville Tennessee 51
CBD College Los Angeles California 50
ECPI University Virginia Beach Virginia 50
Miami Dade College Miami Florida 50
Green River College Auburn Washington 49
The College of Health Care Professions-San Antonio San Antonio Texas 49
Nassau Community College Garden City New York 48
Pima Medical Institute-Las Vegas Las Vegas Nevada 48
Kellogg Community College Battle Creek Michigan 47
Baker College Owosso Michigan 46
The College of Health Care Professions-McAllen Campus McAllen Texas 46
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville Florida 45
Pima Medical Institute-Mesa Mesa Arizona 45
Whatcom Community College Bellingham Washington 45
Loma Linda University Loma Linda California 44
Macomb Community College Warren Michigan 44
Pima Medical Institute-Denver Denver Colorado 44
Arkansas State University Jonesboro Arkansas 41
Saint Louis Community College Bridgeton Missouri 41
Pima Medical Institute-Seattle Seattle Washington 40
St Petersburg College St. Petersburg Florida 40
Tidewater Community College Norfolk Virginia 40
CUNY LaGuardia Community College Long Island City New York 39
Kent State University at Ashtabula Ashtabula Ohio 39
University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Indiana 39
Jefferson Community and Technical College Louisville Kentucky 38
Universal Healthcare Careers College Los Angeles California 38
Greenville Technical College Greenville South Carolina 37
Mott Community College Flint Michigan 36
South University-Montgomery Montgomery Alabama 36
Suffolk County Community College Selden New York 36
Institute of Technology Clovis California 35
Pima Medical Institute-Albuquerque Albuquerque New Mexico 35
University of Puerto Rico at Ponce Ponce Puerto Rico 35
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale Virginia 34
Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville North Carolina 33
Illinois Central College East Peoria Illinois 33
South University-Tampa Tampa Florida 33
Lake Superior College Duluth Minnesota 32
Lone Star College System The Woodlands Texas 32
Herzing University-Orlando Winter Park Florida 31
Lehigh Carbon Community College Schnecksville Pennsylvania 31
New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich Rhode Island 31
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay Wisconsin 31
Daytona State College Daytona Beach Florida 30
Morton College Cicero Illinois 30
Professional Skills Institute Maumee Ohio 29
Carl Albert State College Poteau Oklahoma 28
Harcum College Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania 28
Pima Medical Institute-Houston Houston Texas 28
St Philip's College San Antonio Texas 28
SUNY Broome Community College Binghamton New York 28
Austin Community College District Austin Texas 27
Concorde Career College-San Antonio San Antonio Texas 27
Essex County College Newark New Jersey 27
Union County College Cranford New Jersey 27
University of Indianapolis Indianapolis Indiana 27
Villa Maria College Buffalo New York 27
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 26
GateWay Community College Phoenix Arizona 26
George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville Hanceville Alabama 26
Hawkeye Community College Waterloo Iowa 26
Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson Kansas 26
Kent State University at East Liverpool East Liverpool Ohio 26
San Diego Mesa College San Diego California 26
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Weatherford Oklahoma 26
Stark State College North Canton Ohio 26
Tulsa Community College Tulsa Oklahoma 26
Anoka-Ramsey Community College Coon Rapids Minnesota 25
Bay State College Boston Massachusetts 25
Concorde Career College-Memphis Memphis Tennessee 25
Delaware Technical Community College-Terry Dover Delaware 25
Elgin Community College Elgin Illinois 25
Lane Community College Eugene Oregon 25
Naugatuck Valley Community College Waterbury Connecticut 25
State Technical College of Missouri Linn Missouri 25
Carrington College-Las Vegas Las Vegas Nevada 24
Concorde Career College-North Hollywood North Hollywood California 24
Delgado Community College New Orleans Louisiana 24
George C Wallace Community College-Dothan Dothan Alabama 24
Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown North Carolina 24
Hodges University Fort Myers Florida 24
Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City Kansas City Missouri 24
Rasmussen University-Florida Ocala Florida 24
South University-West Palm Beach Royal Palm Beach Florida 24
St Catherine University Saint Paul Minnesota 24
University of Puerto Rico-Humacao Humacao Puerto Rico 24
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University Baton Rouge Louisiana 23
Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City Kansas 23
Provo College Provo Utah 23
Salt Lake Community College Salt Lake City Utah 23
Southwestern Illinois College Belleville Illinois 23
Anne Arundel Community College Arnold Maryland 22
Blinn College Brenham Texas 22
College of the Sequoias Visalia California 22
Concorde Career College-San Diego San Diego California 22
Idaho State University Pocatello Idaho 22
Lackawanna College Scranton Pennsylvania 22
Oklahoma City Community College Oklahoma City Oklahoma 22
Owens Community College Perrysburg Ohio 22
Riverside College of Health Careers Newport News Virginia 22
Seminole State College of Florida Sanford Florida 22
State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota Bradenton Florida 22
Baltimore City Community College Baltimore Maryland 21
Black Hawk College Moline Illinois 21
California University of Pennsylvania California Pennsylvania 21
Chattanooga State Community College Chattanooga Tennessee 21
City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College Chicago Illinois 21
Horry-Georgetown Technical College Conway South Carolina 21
Mid-America Technology Center Wayne Oklahoma 21
Mount Aloysius College Cresson Pennsylvania 21
Pearl River Community College Poplarville Mississippi 21
Radford University Radford Virginia 21
South University-Austin Round Rock Texas 21
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Carbondale Illinois 21
Community College of Rhode Island Warwick Rhode Island 20
Del Mar College Corpus Christi Texas 20
John C Calhoun State Community College Tanner Alabama 20
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids Iowa 20
North Central State College Mansfield Ohio 20
Ozarks Technical Community College Springfield Missouri 20
Polk State College Winter Haven Florida 20
Rasmussen University-Minnesota St. Cloud Minnesota 20
Sacramento City College Sacramento California 20
San Jacinto Community College Pasadena Texas 20
Southwest Tennessee Community College Memphis Tennessee 20
Carrington College-Mesa Mesa Arizona 19
Carrington College-Pleasant Hill Campus Pleasant Hill California 19
Concorde Career College-Dallas Dallas Texas 19
Genesee Community College Batavia New York 19
Lake Area Technical College Watertown South Dakota 19
Nash Community College Rocky Mount North Carolina 19
North Shore Community College Danvers Massachusetts 19
Pennsylvania Institute of Technology Media Pennsylvania 19
River Valley Community College Claremont New Hampshire 19
South University-Columbia Columbia South Carolina 19
Walters State Community College Morristown Tennessee 19
Washburn University Topeka Kansas 19
Weatherford College Weatherford Texas 19
William Rainey Harper College Palatine Illinois 19
Brookline College-Phoenix Phoenix Arizona 18
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Hudson North Carolina 18
Carroll Community College Westminster Maryland 18
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte North Carolina 18
Herkimer County Community College Herkimer New York 18
Hinds Community College Raymond Mississippi 18
Jefferson College Hillsboro Missouri 18
Mount Wachusett Community College Gardner Massachusetts 18
Oakton Community College Des Plaines Illinois 18
Ohlone College Fremont California 18
Olympic College Bremerton Washington 18
Shawnee State University Portsmouth Ohio 18
South University-Savannah Savannah Georgia 18
Southeast Community College Area Lincoln Nebraska 18
University of Cincinnati-Clermont College Batavia Ohio 18
Volunteer State Community College Gallatin Tennessee 18
Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor Michigan 18
Arkansas Tech University Russellville Arkansas 17
Bishop State Community College Mobile Alabama 17
Casa Loma College-Van Nuys Van Nuys California 17
Cecil College North East Maryland 17
Colby Community College Colby Kansas 17
College of DuPage Glen Ellyn Illinois 17
Gulf Coast State College Panama City Florida 17
Jackson State Community College Jackson Tennessee 17
Lanier Technical College Gainesville Georgia 17
Mercer County Community College West Windsor New Jersey 17
Midlands Technical College West Columbia South Carolina 17
Norwalk Community College Norwalk Connecticut 17
SABER College Miami Florida 17
SUNY College of Technology at Canton Canton New York 17
Albany State University Albany Georgia 16
Arapahoe Community College Littleton Colorado 16
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College Martinsburg West Virginia 16
Clark State College Springfield Ohio 16
College of Central Florida Ocala Florida 16
Indian River State College Fort Pierce Florida 16
Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Ponce Mercedita Puerto Rico 16
Laramie County Community College Cheyenne Wyoming 16
McLennan Community College Waco Texas 16
Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee Wisconsin 16
Navarro College Corsicana Texas 16
Onondaga Community College Syracuse New York 16
Orange County Community College Middletown New York 16
Sinclair Community College Dayton Ohio 16
Somerset Community College Somerset Kentucky 16
South University-Richmond Glen Allen Virginia 16
Tyler Junior College Tyler Texas 16
Vincennes University Vincennes Indiana 16
Western Technical College El Paso Texas 16
Wytheville Community College Wytheville Virginia 16
Central New Mexico Community College Albuquerque New Mexico 15
Concorde Career College-Aurora Aurora Colorado 15
Craven Community College New Bern North Carolina 15
CUNY Kingsborough Community College Brooklyn New York 15
Dixie State University Saint George Utah 15
Eastern Florida State College Cocoa Florida 15
Florida Gateway College Lake City Florida 15
Gateway Technical College Kenosha Wisconsin 15
Heartland Community College Normal Illinois 15
Jefferson State Community College Birmingham Alabama 15
Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield Maine 15
Marion Technical College Marion Ohio 15
Martin Community College Williamston North Carolina 15
Missouri Western State University Saint Joseph Missouri 15
Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health Omaha Nebraska 15
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Salisbury North Carolina 15
Spokane Falls Community College Spokane Washington 15
Wor-Wic Community College Salisbury Maryland 15
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas Nevada 14
Concorde Career Institute-Miramar Miramar Florida 14
Connors State College Warner Oklahoma 14
Delta College University Center Michigan 14
Edison State Community College Piqua Ohio 14
Houston Community College Houston Texas 14
Kapiolani Community College Honolulu Hawaii 14
Louisiana Christian University Pineville Louisiana 14
McHenry County College Crystal Lake Illinois 14
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston Mississippi 14
Pensacola State College Pensacola Florida 14
Pierpont Community and Technical College Fairmont West Virginia 14
Pueblo Community College Pueblo Colorado 14
South Plains College Levelland Texas 14
South Texas College McAllen Texas 14
Springfield Technical Community College Springfield Massachusetts 14
Surry Community College Dobson North Carolina 14
West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah Kentucky 14
Western Technical College La Crosse Wisconsin 14
Athens Technical College Athens Georgia 13
Butler County Community College Butler Pennsylvania 13
Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center Cape Girardeau Missouri 13
Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins Georgia 13
Chattahoochee Technical College Marietta Georgia 13
Cuyahoga Community College District Cleveland Ohio 13
El Paso Community College El Paso Texas 13
Finlandia University Hancock Michigan 13
Herzing University-Brookfield Brookfield Wisconsin 13
Howard Community College Columbia Maryland 13
Labette Community College Parsons Kansas 13
Madison Area Technical College Madison Wisconsin 13
Meridian Community College Meridian Mississippi 13
Mineral Area College Park Hills Missouri 13
Montgomery County Community College Blue Bell Pennsylvania 13
North Idaho College Coeur d'Alene Idaho 13
North Iowa Area Community College Mason City Iowa 13
Northeast Community College Norfolk Nebraska 13
Northeast Texas Community College Mount Pleasant Texas 13
Rowan College of South Jersey Gloucester Campus Sewell New Jersey 13
Southwestern Community College Sylva North Carolina 13
Zane State College Zanesville Ohio 13
Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland Maryland 12
Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire Wisconsin 12
College of Western Idaho Nampa Idaho 12
Lake Land College Mattoon Illinois 12
Lorain County Community College Elyria Ohio 12
Madisonville Community College Madisonville Kentucky 12
Mohave Community College Kingman Arizona 12
NorthWest Arkansas Community College Bentonville Arkansas 12
NUC University Bayamon Puerto Rico 12
Seminole State College Seminole Oklahoma 12
South Arkansas Community College El Dorado Arkansas 12
University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage Alaska 12
Victoria College Victoria Texas 12
Western Iowa Tech Community College Sioux City Iowa 12
Wharton County Junior College Wharton Texas 12
California Baptist University Riverside California 11
Chesapeake College Wye Mills Maryland 11
College of Southern Maryland La Plata Maryland 11
Concorde Career College-Kansas City Kansas City Missouri 11
EDP University of Puerto Rico Inc-San Sebastian San Sebastian Puerto Rico 11
EDP University of Puerto Rico-Humacao Humacao Puerto Rico 11
Kankakee Community College Kankakee Illinois 11
Lake Washington Institute of Technology Kirkland Washington 11
Niagara County Community College Sanborn New York 11
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Miami Oklahoma 11
Southern Adventist University Collegedale Tennessee 11
Taylor College Belleview Florida 11
Blackhawk Technical College Janesville Wisconsin 10
Concorde Career Institute-Jacksonville Jacksonville Florida 10
EDP University of Puerto Rico Inc-San Juan San Juan Puerto Rico 10
EDP University of Puerto Rico-Manati Manati Puerto Rico 10
Kilgore College Kilgore Texas 10
Montgomery College Rockville Maryland 10
Murray State College Tishomingo Oklahoma 10
Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls Minnesota 10
St Louis College of Health Careers-Fenton Fenton Missouri 10
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta Georgia 9
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen Arkansas 9
Dewey University-Hato Rey Hato Rey Puerto Rico 9
Flathead Valley Community College Kalispell Montana 9
Great Falls College Montana State University Great Falls Montana 9
Hocking College Nelsonville Ohio 9
Itawamba Community College Fulton Mississippi 9
Johnson College Scranton Pennsylvania 9
Laredo College Laredo Texas 9
Mid Michigan College Harrison Michigan 9
Berkshire Community College Pittsfield Massachusetts 8
Bryant & Stratton College-Syracuse North Liverpool New York 8
Bryant & Stratton College-Wauwatosa Wauwatosa Wisconsin 8
Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Fayette Missouri 8
College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls Idaho 8
Kaskaskia College Centralia Illinois 8
Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines Iowa 8
Mountwest Community and Technical College Huntington West Virginia 8
Odessa College Odessa Texas 8
Carrington College-Boise Boise Idaho 7
Hazard Community and Technical College Hazard Kentucky 7
Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa Iowa 7
Morgan Community College Fort Morgan Colorado 7
Quincy College Quincy Massachusetts 7
South University-Virginia Beach Virginia Beach Virginia 7
Herzing University-Minneapolis St. Louis Park Minnesota 6
Mercyhurst University Erie Pennsylvania 6
Northeast Technology Center Pryor Oklahoma 6
Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College Orangeburg South Carolina 6
Terra State Community College Fremont Ohio 6
Bryant & Stratton College-Buffalo Buffalo New York 5
Remington College-Cleveland Campus Cleveland Ohio 5
East Los Angeles College Monterey Park California 4
Florida National University-Main Campus Hialeah Florida 4
University of Pittsburgh-Titusville Titusville Pennsylvania 4
Clovis Community College Clovis New Mexico 3
High Plains Technology Center Woodward Oklahoma 3
Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College Cumberland Kentucky 3
Three Rivers College Poplar Bluff Missouri 3
Columbus State Community College Columbus Ohio 2
Eastern Arizona College Thatcher Arizona 2
University of Evansville Evansville Indiana 2
Huertas College Caguas Puerto Rico 1
Northwestern University Evanston Illinois 1
Tarrant County College District Fort Worth Texas 1
University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle Maine 1
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

Degree & Certification Programs in Physical Therapy Assistance

PT Aides

It takes an average of several months to become a PT aide for those who already have a high school diploma or GED. This includes the time to apply for jobs and receive any on-the-job training. There are no licensing or certification requirements. Depending on age and prior education, those without a high school diploma or GED may take up to four years to complete their diploma or pass their GED examinations.

Penn Foster


PTAs need an associate’s degree from a physical therapist assistant program accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)’s Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). These two-year programs accept applications annually and provide coursework in physical therapy, general education, and clinical education. Depending on the school, the number of accepted students may range from 12 to 50 or more.

Admissions requirements are determined by individual schools, as there is no centralized application for PTA programs. Some schools may have a more selective admissions process and require a competitive, point-based process.

Those applying to a PTA program should always check with admissions offices for further information about requirements. However, most schools require one or more of the following:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum cumulative GPA
  • Completion of prerequisite coursework in science, math, and English
  • Submittal of personal statement or essay
  • Recommendations from past employers or teachers
  • Documented proof of observation of a clinical setting
  • Immunizations

Roughly three-fourths of two-year PTA degree programs take place in a lab or classroom, where students may also pursue additional certifications such as first aid skills. The remaining fourth of the curriculum is focused on clinical hours, according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Students in PTA programs spend an average of 16 weeks gaining full-time, hands-on experience. Degree programs for PTAs do not offer specializations. Accordingly, those interested in gaining experience within a specific industry, such as skilled nursing facilities or sports, will want to select a degree program with curriculum and clinical education opportunities that fit that area.

Here’s a featured list of accredited programs that train students to become licensed PTAs.

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College has one of the longest-running PTA programs in the US and was the first to graduate a class of physical therapy assistants in 1969. Located in Miami, Florida offers a two-year associate’s degree that PTA students can complete in five semesters.

Notable for its focus on technology, Miami Dade College uses an online learning management system, Blackboard, so that students may rewatch on-campus lectures and access resources such as guides to laboratory skills. This 74-credit program features a service-learning component, where students gain clinical experience while also serving the local community.

  • Location: Multiple campuses in Florida
  • Duration: 2.25 years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $8,789

Cerritos College

Located in Cerritos, California, Cerritos College offers an associate’s degree that prospective PTAs can complete in two years. With a focus on preparing students for licensure, over two-thirds of graduates pass their licensure exam on the first try.

Courses include therapeutic exercise, aging and integumentary management, soft tissue interventions, and prosthetics and orthotics for allied health professionals. The program begins every fall semester and can be completed in two academic years.

  • Location: Cerritos, CA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $46 per credit (residents); $320 per credit (non-residents)

Northland Community & Technical College

Located in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, provides a 74-credit associate of applied science (AAS) degree that positions students for immediate entry into working as a PTA. This program provides a diverse curriculum that includes additional courses in medical coding, interpersonal skills, public speaking, and more.

To apply, students must take and pass the TEAS V for Allied Health Exam, hold current CPR certification, complete all courses with a grade of “C” or higher, have an educational background in the sciences, complete the health screening & immunization requirements, and a criminal background check for clinical experiences.

  • Location: East Grand Forks, MN
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $15,631 total

Baker College – College of Health Science

With campuses throughout Michigan, Baker College’s College of Health Science offers an associate’s PTA degree that takes two years to complete. Providing coursework in areas such as human anatomy and physiology, psychology, communication, patient assessment, and pediatric management, the 78-credit program notably includes three clinical placements.

The program is offered on-campus, but general education and prerequisite coursework is available at the Muskegon, Owosso, and Royal Oak campuses and online.

  • Location: Multiple campuses in Michigan
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $435 per credit

Austin Community College

Located outside of Austin in Round Rock, Texas, Austin Community College offers a two-year physical therapy assistant program. Students in this program learn from award-winning faculty who teach students how to improve mobility with exercises, techniques, and patient tracking.

Courses include human growth and development, rehabilitation techniques, management of neurological disorders, and clinical hours. Graduates from this program have a 100 percent pass rate on the licensure exam and a 94 percent job placement rate.

  • Location: Round Rock, TX
  • Duration: Four semesters
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $85-$353 per credit (depending on residency)

Mohave Community College

With campuses in Bullhead City, Kingman, Lake Havasu City, and North Mohave, Mohave Community College offers a two-year degree. This two-year associate’s degree program prepares students for the PTA licensing exam and work with patients of all ages who are suffering from a variety of ailments. Courses include rehabilitation of special populations, physical therapy seminars, and clinical practicum.

  • Location: Multiple campuses in Arizona
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $81-$283.50 per credit (depending on residency)
School City State Website GRADS ('21)
Pima Medical Institute-Tucson Tucson Arizona 79
South College Knoxville Tennessee 51
Henry Ford College Dearborn Michigan 38
San Juan College Farmington New Mexico 35
Cerritos College Norwalk California 24
Mt Hood Community College Gresham Oregon 24
Stanbridge University Irvine California 23
Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg Idaho 23
Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts San Mateo California 22
Bossier Parish Community College Bossier City Louisiana 19
Clarkson College Omaha Nebraska 19
James A. Rhodes State College Lima Ohio 18
Santa Fe College Gainesville Florida 18
Amarillo College Amarillo Texas 16
Holmes Community College Goodman Mississippi 15
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore Wisconsin 15
Hussian College-Daymar College Clarksville Clarksville Tennessee 13
Roane State Community College Harriman Tennessee 13
Siena Heights University Adrian Michigan 3
'20-'21 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in September, 2023)

Hybrid and Online Physical Therapist Assistant & Aide Programs

PT Aides

Since PTAs are not required to obtain further post-secondary education or maintain any licenses or certifications, there are very few online programs available. Some community colleges offer hybrid programs which require a high school diploma or GED for admission.

Bucks County Community College

Located in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Bucks County Community College offers a hybrid physical therapy aide program at its Newtown Campus. This is a 50-hour program that prepares graduates for physical therapy aide careers. Students learn roles and responsibilities, applied human anatomy and physiology, pathology, biomechanics, and medical terminology. Special topic courses include total hip replacement, amputee support, and traumatic brain injury. Courses are offered in the evenings

  • Location: Newtown, PA
  • Duration: 50 hours; approximately 2.5 months
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $165-$495 per credit


While there are no fully online PTA degree programs due to the need for in-person labs and clinical experiences, there are a number of hybrid options available. The programs profiled below offer a hybrid delivery for those looking to pursue a career as a PTA.

Jefferson State Community College

With locations throughout Alabama, Jefferson State Community College offers a two-year hybrid associate of applied science for PTAs looking to maximize flexibility while furthering their career. Students complete lecture courses online and then travel to the Shelby-Hoover campus in Birmingham, Alabama to complete laboratory courses, network with other students, and participate in clinical experiences.

First-year coursework is dedicated to prerequisites and the second year focuses on professional courses. This program prepares graduates for the National Physical Therapy Assistants Board Exam.

  • Location: Multiple campuses in Alabama
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $168 per credit (residents); $295 per credit (non-residents)

San Juan College

Based in Farmington, New Mexico, San Juan Colleges offers a two-year hybrid PTA program that provides online course delivery and in-person clinical experiences. Students then attend on-campus labs once a semester, allowing those already working or with familial responsibilities to set a schedule that works for them. Courses include therapeutic exercise, clinical externships, and pathophysiology.

  • Location: Farmington, NM
  • Duration: 3.25 years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $56 per credit hour (residents); $178 per credit hour (non-residents)

NorthWest Arkansas Community College

Located in Bentonville, Arkansas, NorthWest Arkansas Community College offers a physical therapy assistant program in a traditional and hybrid format. In the hybrid program, students must travel to the NWACC campus every three to four weeks for a three-day intensive lab.

Courses are offered online and students are expected to manage their studying workloads. The traditional and hybrid programs offer the same requirements for service learning, didactic and clinical skills, testing procedures, and clinical internship hours.

  • Location: Bentonville, AR
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $79-$215 per credit (depending on residency)

Provo College

Provo College in Provo, Utah offers a 21-month hybrid PTA program. Some classes are available online or in a blended format for convenience and student safety. The curriculum includes 76 hours semester credit hours in general psychology, medical terminology, therapeutic procedures, and applied kinesiology.

Applicants to this program must submit a negative drug screening test, complete an online education virtual orientation, and have internet and computer access.

  • Location: Provo, UT
  • Duration: 21 months
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $21,925 per year

Whatcom Community College

Located near Seattle in Bellingham, Washington, Whatcom Community College offers an associate of science degree for PTAs. This program is offered full-time on-campus and part-time in an online-hybrid format. Students in this program can expect to spend 20 to 30 hours per week on coursework and homework.

An in-person laboratory course is offered monthly at Pierce College in South Puget Sound. Courses in this program include applied anatomy and clinical kinesiology, clinical neurology, and ethical issues in physical therapy.

  • Location: Bellingham, WA
  • Duration: 2.25 years
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • Tuition: $123.58 per credit (residents); $317.95 per credit (non-residents)

Core & Elective Courses in Physical Therapy Assistance

PT Aides

While PT aides are not required to obtain any certifications or licenses, they can expect on-the-job training to prepare them for the following responsibilities:

  • Preparing treatment areas for patient use, including setting and cleaning up
  • Cleaning treatment areas and moving equipment to maintain functionality
  • Assist with patient intake and other clerical duties
  • Working with physical therapists and PTAs to observe and document patient progress and responses
  • Coordinating with physicians’ offices and hospital personnel
  • Transporting patients to and from treatment areas

Note that allowed job functions for PT aides may vary by state. Working as a PT aide is a common stepping stone into a career as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.


While programs may differ by college and state, the two-year PTA program prepares students for the following responsibilities:

  • Observing patient status and progress before, during, and post-treatment
  • Noting and reporting patient status to the physical therapist
  • Helping patients do specific exercises and provide treatment as part of their plan of care
  • Providing patient care using manual treatments, such as stretching and massage
  • Using supportive equipment and devices, such as exercise balls, to help patients
  • Working with the patient and their friends and family on post-care activities and options

Below are some common PTA courses that an accredited program may offer:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Kinesiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Clinical pathology
  • Behavioral sciences
  • Communication
  • Ethics and values

These courses are completed alongside clinical observations and rotations so students gain hands-on experience. Clinical experience typically accounts for 25 percent of each program. As PTAs undergo different education and training than physical therapists, it is not considered a stepping stone to becoming a physical therapist.

Accreditation of Physical Therapist Assistant Programs

PTA programs are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), which is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Graduation from a CAPTE-accredited program is required to apply for state licensure to work as a physical therapist assistant. Note that licensure requirements differ by state.

According to the BLS, there are no accreditation requirements that apply to PT aides.

Career Outlook & Salary - Physical Therapist Assistants & Aides

As one of the country’s fastest-growing careers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2023) predicted PTAs and PT aides between 2022 and 2032—a 19 percent increase, adding to the 145,100 employed PTAs in 2023. Work environments for PTAs and PT aides include offices, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, or home healthcare settings that provide one-on-one care. An estimated 27,600 new positions will be needed in the same decade.

PT Aides

PT aides earn annual average salaries of $33,210 (BLS May 2022). PT aides working in local government had the highest annual salary at $41,320. Top-employing industries for PTAs include offices of health practitioners ($31,570); general medical and surgical hospitals ($36,670), and offices of physicians ($34,640).

In May 2022, the BLS reported the following annual salary data for PT aides:

  • 10th percentile: $22,380
  • 25th percentile: $26,940
  • 50th percentile (median): $31,410
  • 75th percentile: $35,280
  • 90th percentile: $41,320

According to the BLS, the highest paying states for PT aides are Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Washington.


In May 2022, the BLS reported that PTAs earned average annual salaries of $64,510. Note the average annual salary differs by industry. PTAs working in home health have the highest average salary at $78,360, whereas those working in specialty hospitals had the lowest average salary at $69,600. Average salaries in other settings include nursing care facilities ($73,180); retirement and assisted living facilities ($72,800); and management of companies and enterprises ($69,600).

In May 2022, the BLS reported the following annual salary data for PTAs:

  • 10th percentile: $43,340
  • 25th percentile: $53,,970
  • 50th percentile (median): $62,770
  • 75th percentile: $75,310
  • 90th percentile: $85,230

According to the same report, the highest paying states for PTAs are California, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Career Facts Physical Therapist Assistants Physical Therapy Aides
Related Careers Occupational therapy assistant, psychiatric technician, nursing assistant Medical assistant, nursing orderly, pharmacy technician
Common Job Titles PTAs, Assistant PT Aide, Aide
Technology & Equipment Treatment tables, ultrasound, resistance bands, electrical muscle stimulation, exercise bikes and balls, wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, bandages, strength and dexterity testers, scales, vital signs monitors, sensory evaluators, medical software, word processing software Treatment tables, wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, medical software, word processing software, cleaning supplies

Licensing & Certification for Physical Therapist Assistants

Each state and territory in the United States requires PTAs to get licensed in the state they want to practice in. Those seeking licensure should apply and graduate from a CAPTE-accredited PTA degree program. PTAs must also pass the National Physical Therapy Assistants Exam, administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Additional requirements may include a background check, a jurisprudence exam on state laws and practices, and proof of minimum age (typically 18). In addition, some states may require PTAs to take a certain number of continuing education courses or maintain certification in specific life skills, such as CPR. Always check with the appropriate state board for specific licensing requirements.

PT aides are not required to get licensed or maintain any certifications. However, some employers may prefer candidates to hold CPR and Basic First Aid certifications.

Bree Nicolello
Bree Nicolello Writer

Bree is an urban planner and freelance writer based in Seattle, WA. She has worked on land use and housing policy issues throughout the Pacific Northwest. She previously led Run Oregon Run, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Oregonians run for office and apply to boards and commissions. When not writing, she is lovingly tending to her cast iron pans.