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How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Indiana

More than 1,900 physical therapist assistants practiced in Indiana in 2014 according to the state’s Department of Workforce Development. Physical therapist assistants in Kokomo were the fifth most highly paid of those in any metropolitan area in the country.

The number of physical therapist assistants in Indiana is expected to grow dramatically between 2012 and 2022 according to the Department. Its projections indicate that a growth rate of 26.5% will open up an average of 83 jobs a year for physical therapist assistants in Indiana.

Physical therapist assistants have job options in a number of settings in Indiana including hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, sports medicine clinics, home health agencies, and extended care units. One of Indiana’s major hospitals is now included on the U.S. News list of the best hospitals in the country for 2015.

Indiana University has two hospitals in Indianapolis and offers additional rehabilitative services at dozens of clinics throughout Indiana. From gait retraining to pelvic floor rehabilitation, its physical therapy services offer a breadth of techniques to bring patients back to full function.

Steps to Obtaining a Physical Therapist Assistant License in Indiana

Pursuing a career as a physical therapist assistant in Indiana starts by qualifying for a license through the Indiana Physical Therapy Committee.

Follow the step-by-step instructions in this simple guide to learn how to become a physical therapist assistant in Indiana:

Earn Your Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Degree
Consider Applying for a Temporary Permit to Practice
Submit Your Application for Licensure by Examination
Submit to a Federal Criminal Background Check
Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs
Establish Your Career as a Physical Therapist Assistant in Indiana
Renew Your Physical Therapist Assistant License When Required

 


 

Step 1. Earn Your Physical Therapist Assistant Degree

Your first step to becoming a physical therapist assistant in Indiana is to enroll in a school that offers a two-year associate’s degree program in physical therapist assisting. In order to meet Indiana’s PTA licensing requirements, your associate’s degree must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and approved by the Indiana Physical Therapy Committee.

You can find CAPTE-accredited PTA programs at schools with campus locations in a number of cities throughout Indiana:

  • Indianapolis
  • Fort Wayne
  • Evansville
  • Gary
  • Muncie
  • South Bend
  • Vincennes
  • Sellersburg

Qualifying associate’s degrees available in Indiana are similar but go by a variety of names:

  • Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant Studies (AS)
  • Physical Therapist Assistant Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Some schools require that you successfully complete a number of prerequisites in order to be admitted. For instance, one university in Indiana requires that you receive at least a B in Anatomy and Physiology I and II before starting the PTA program.

Your education will be comprised of both courses and clinical work. While each school is different, PTA programs generally include courses in:

  • Functional and applied anatomy
  • Pathophysiology
  • Patient care skills
  • Medical terminology
  • Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitative agents

Your two-year associate’s program will generally include at least 15 weeks of full-time clinical work. Typically, you will complete 750 hours of clinical work in a nursing home, hospital, or outpatient center.

The sequence of clinical work will vary depending on your program. In some cases, you will spend summer semesters working in a clinic. In others, you will perform clinical work after completing didactic coursework.

Facilities in Indiana that support clinical training for physical therapist assistants include:

  • Indiana University Health Rehabilitative Services – Indianapolis
  • Saint Joseph Rehabilitation Center – South Bend
  • Columbus Health Regional Health’s Rehabilitation Center – Columbus
  • Schneck Medical Center Rehabilitation Services – Seymour
  • Vincent Jennings Hospital Physical Therapy – North Vernon

Once you have completed your coursework and clinical rotation, you will receive your physical therapist assistant degree.

 


 

Step 2. Consider Applying for a Temporary Permit to Practice

Once you have your PTA degree, the Indiana Physical Therapy Committee offers you the option to obtain a temporary permit to practice under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist while you wait to obtain your license through the formal examination process.

To complete your application for a temporary permit, you must provide the following items:

  • The forms for your application and the affirmation of supervision
  • $100.00 license application fee made payable to the Professional Licensing Agency
  • $50.00 temporary permit application fee
  • Two recent passport type photographs signed at the bottom in black ink
  • Certified transcript of grades provided directly from your school(s)

You must have a social security number to be able to apply for a PTA permit in Indiana.

Submit your application for a temporary permit to the following address:

PHYSICAL THERAPY COMMITTEE PROFESSIONAL LICENSING AGENCY
402 West Washington Street, Room W072
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2724

Your temporary permit will be good until you receive your license or for a maximum of 90 days.

 


 

Step 3. Submit Your Application for Licensure by Examination

Obtaining your PTA degree will allow you to apply for the national PTA exam, a requirement for licensure. You will need to make three payments to initiate the licensing process:

  • A $100 fee for your license made payable to the Professional Licensing Agency
  • A $400 credit or debit card payment to register online for your National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs
  • A $70 payment to the Prometric testing center when you schedule your exam

You will have to provide the following items when you apply for your license:

  • Your application form with your social security number on it
  • Two recent passport type photographs signed at the bottom in black ink
  • Certified transcript of grades provided directly from your school(s)
  • If you have married and changed your name, you need to provide a notarized copy of a marriage certificate. You must provide an official affidavit if you changed your name legally in another manner.

Submit your application for a license to this address:

PHYSICAL THERAPY COMMITTEE PROFESSIONAL LICENSING AGENCY
402 West Washington Street, Room W072
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2724

 


 

Step 4. Submit to a Federal Criminal Background Check

The Physical Therapy Committee will send you an email with the official date that your application was processed. With your official notice in hand, you will then be able to submit your fingerprints to undergo the required FBI criminal background check.

Your first step in this process is to go to the identogo site and choose Indiana. Follow the steps and schedule the day you want to undergo the fingerprinting process. Once you have sent your information and paid your $39.45 fee, print out your confirmation page.

The types of identification that will be recognized for the purpose of fingerprinting include (only one required):

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Valid passport
  • Valid state issued ID card
  • Student ID card with picture and date of birth
  • Work ID card with picture and date of birth
  • Valid Alien ID card with picture and date of birth

If you cannot provide any of these forms of ID, you will need to have both a social security card and a valid birth certificate.

If you have no criminal record, you will get your license once you pass your exam. If you do have a criminal record, the Committee can either approve your license or request that you appear before them to discuss your record.

 


 

Step 5. Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) offers the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs, which you are required to pass as the final step to PTA licensure in Indiana. You should prepare in advance for this exam by reviewing the candidate handbook. The FSBPT offers you the opportunity to take an online practice exam.

Once the Indiana Physical Therapy Committee has approved your license application, the FSBPT will send an Authorization to Test Letter, which you will need in order to schedule the exam.

The content for this computerized exam includes:

  • Diseases/Conditions that Impact Effective Treatment (28%)
  • Physical Therapy Data Collection (20.7%)
  • Interventions (30.7%)
  • Safety & Protection; Professional Responsibilities; Research (6%)
  • Equipment and Devices; Therapeutic Modalities (14.7%)

You will need to achieve a scaled score of 600 to pass the NPTE-PTA exam.

Now you should be ready to schedule your exam online with Prometric. If you prepaid for the exam when you applied for your license, choose the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy – Prepaid option for the Testing Program.

You may schedule to take your exam at a number of Prometric sites in Indiana:

  • Fort Wayne
  • Indianapolis
  • Lafayette
  • Merrillville
  • Mishawaka
  • Terra Haute

 


 

Step 6. Establish Your Career as a Physical Therapist Assistant in Indiana

Now that you have passed your exam and become licensed as a PTA, you can start your career. Physical therapist assistants often find jobs at hospitals, rehabilitation homes, or nursing homes. The following facilities offered jobs for PTAs in Indiana as of October 2015 according to the state’s Department of Workforce Development:

  • Kindred Healthcare, Inc.
  • RehabCare Group, Inc.
  • Life Care Centers of America
  • Paragon Rehabilitation, Inc.
  • Legacy Healthcare Services
  • Genesis Rehab Services
  • Community Health Systems, Inc.
  • Genesis HealthCare
  • Reliant Rehabilitation
  • Select Medical – SMC

You may also opt to work for an independent practice with a licensed physical therapist.

 


 

Step 7. Renew Your Physical Therapist License When Required

Your license is valid through June 30 of even-numbered years. The Committee will email you 60 days before your license expires. If you do not have an email address, they will mail your notice to the address on file. The fee to renew your license is $100.

You will need to meet the Committee’s continuing competency requirements before you renew your license. You must obtain 22 hours of continuing education, two of which must be in ethics and Indiana jurisprudence as it relates to physical therapy. These two hours must be obtained within your renewal period and cannot be carried over.

The Indiana Physical Therapy Association serves as the source for the jurisprudence program for physical therapist assistants in the state. You can purchase a bundle of the essentials of Indiana jurisprudence as it applies to the PT profession combined with a course on medical ethics that will fulfill this requirement.

You can find approved continuing ed programs to fulfill the rest of your requirement at the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Once you have fulfilled the continuing education requirements, you can renew your license online. Your renewal will be processed and available for verification by the next business day.

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