According to the Idaho Department of Labor, the state’s healthcare support sector is expected to be the third fastest growing employment sector in the state during the period spanning 2012-2022, with a projected job growth rate of 24.3%. Physical therapist assistants will be one of the biggest contributors to this growth, with the Idaho Department of Labor Idaho projecting a 37.8% increase in the number of PTA jobs during this 10-year period.
Physical therapist assistants in Idaho play an important role in the state’s hospital rehabilitation centers, outpatient PT and sports medicine practices, universities, and nursing homes, providing care to patients under the supervision of licensed physical therapists. As a PTA in the state, you will have the opportunity to establish yourself in a well-paying career field while assisting people of all ages recuperate from injuries and illnesses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the top 10% of physical therapist assistants in Idaho earned an average of $71,840 in 2014, demonstrating the earning potential that comes with experience and specialization in areas like cardiopulmonary rehab, neurology, orthopedics or geriatrics.
Steps to Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in Idaho
To become a physical therapist assistant in Idaho, you must fist qualify for a PTA license through the Idaho Physical Therapy Licensure Board. Follow these steps to learn how to earn and renew your license:
Step 1. Graduate from a Nationally Accredited Physical Therapist Assistant Program
The Idaho Physical Therapy Licensure Board requires all physical therapist assistants in the state to hold an associate’s degree at minimum from a nationally accredited program. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), accredits schools in the following Idaho cities:
You may find a complete list of CAPTE-accredited schools in Idaho on the CAPTE website.
Your physical therapist assistant program will consist of both classwork and clinical experience. Courses within your program may cover topics such as:
- Exercise physiology
- Behavioral sciences
- Clinical pathology
- Professional ethics
- Therapeutic Documentation for the PTA
- Medical Terminology
- Therapeutic Exercise
Your clinical experience is designed to provide you with the chance to gain hands-on experience in the physical therapy field before completing your program. You will likely work between 14-16 weeks, full-time, at your designated physical therapy practice in a nursing home, hospital, or outpatient center. You can find a list of physical therapist assistant employers in Idaho in Step 4 of this article.
Once you have completed your program, you may receive one of the following associate’s degrees:
- Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
- Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
Step 2. Submit an Application for Examination and Licensure in Idaho
To begin the physical therapist assistant licensure process, you must print and complete the application found on the Idaho Physical Therapy Licensure Board website. Along with your completed form, you must send the following items to the Idaho Physical Therapy Licensure Board:
- A passport-style photo
- A $65.00 fee in the form of a check or money order made out to “IBOL”
- Two completed reference forms, found on page 3 of the application document
- Your completed jurisprudence examination, found on pages 4-7 of the application document
You must send the materials to the following address:
IDAHO PHYSICAL THERAPY LICENSURE BOARD
Bureau of Occupational Licenses
700 West State Street, P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho, 83720-0063
In addition to your fees and documentation, the Board must receive your official transcripts or certificate of professional education directly from your school registrar.
Step 3. Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs and State Jurisprudence Exam
The Board will review your documentation and determine your eligibility to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs, offered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). In order to be eligible for the exam, you must score a minimum of 75% on your jurisprudence exam. You may register with the FSBPT as you wait for your approval.
The NPTE-PTA is offered at Prometric testing centers. There are two Prometric centers in Idaho, which can be found at the following locations:
Idaho State University – Meridian
1311 East Central Dr
Meridian, Idaho 83642
Idaho State University – Pocatello
1001 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho 83209
You must pay a $400 fee to the FSBPT and a $70 fee to Prometric to take the exam.
The NPTE is based on information found in the NPTE Candidate Handbook. Topics on the exam will include:
- Safety and Protection
- Equipment and Devices
- Therapeutic Modalities
- Professional Responsibilities
- PT Data Collection
You may prepare for the exam through the online practice exam & assessment tool (PEAT) on the FSBPT website.
To pass the exam, you must score the scaled equivalent of a 600 (scale ranges from 200-800).
Step 4. Start your Career as a Physical Therapist Assistant in Idaho
Once you have passed the NPTE-PTA, the Idaho Physical Therapy Licensure Board will email you a packet that contains your license cards and a wall certificate. At that point, you may begin practicing as a physical therapist assistant at one of the state’s many respected private practices.
Employers of physical therapist assistants are found in cities throughout Idaho. As a licensed PTA, you may apply to work at institutions such as:
- Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls
- Elks Rehab Hospital in Boise
- Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg
- Emmett Care and Rehabilitation in Emmett
- Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation – Aspen Park in Moscow
- Idaho Spine and Sports Physical Therapy in Boise
- Mountain Land Physical Therapy in Meridian
- Peak Physical Therapy in Boise
- Physical Therapy of Idaho in Boise and Meridian
- Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy in Treasure Valley/Boise
Step 5. Complete Continuing Competency Hours to Renew Your License
To maintain your license as a physical therapist assistant in Idaho, you must complete 16 contact hours during every 12-month period preceding your license expiration date. Your contact hours must comply with the Idaho Physical Therapy Licensure Board, as detailed in Rule 250 of Idaho legislature. You may find a complete list of approved CE courses and seminars on the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses website.
While you are not mandated to voluntarily submit your proof of Continuing Education, you are subject to random audits conducted by the Idaho Physical Therapy Licensure Board. If you are chosen for the audit, you must present the following:
- A list of your continuing education courses you have completed during the previous 12 months
- Proof of attendance documentation for each course
Your may renew your annual license on the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses website.