The Maine Center for Workforce Research and Information has identified physical therapist assisting as the 12th fastest growing occupation in the state that requires an associate’s degree. Even with 270 licensed physical therapist assistants practicing in the state as of 2014, the Center expects the number of PTA jobs in the state to increase by 17.8% between 2012 and 2022 as demand for therapeutic services continues to grow. This rate of growth is expected to create an average of 13 new jobs a year for licensed PTAs in Maine during this ten-year period.
Physical therapist assistants in Maine have a wide array of job options through inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services in the state. Acute care hospitals and nursing homes have a strong need for physical therapist assistants, as do home healthcare agencies, sports medicine clinics, and schools throughout the state.
Two of Maine’s hospitals meet national high performing standards according to US News and World Reports; the Maine Medical Center in Portland and the Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick. The Maine Medical Center has been recognized for its collaboration with the New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland. This collaborative effort allows them to offer innovative rehabilitative care, including a highly renowned spinal bracing program designed to stabilize patients with spinal injuries or illnesses.
Steps to Obtaining a Physical Therapist Assistant License in Maine
Your career as a physical therapist assistant in Maine starts by meeting license requirements set by the Maine Board of Examiners in Physical Therapy.
Follow the step-by-step instructions in this simple guide to learn how to become a physical therapist in Maine:
Step 1. Earn Your Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Degree
Enrolling in a school that offers a two-year associate’s degree in physical therapist assisting is your first step to becoming a licensed PTA in Maine. You will need to choose one of the two schools that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and approved by the Maine Board of Examiners in Physical Therapy.
These campus locations are situated in Fairfield and Presque Isle. You may be expected to complete a number of prerequisites before applying.
Your two options for a physical therapist assistant degree in Maine include:
- Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant (AAS)
- Physical Therapist Assistant , Associate of Science (AS)
Your education will involve both classroom-based coursework as well as clinical work.
While PTA coursework varies somewhat between schools, you can expect to take courses in:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Introduction to Kinesiology for the PTA
- Kinesiology for the PTA
Your two-year associate’s degree will include 14-16 credits of full-time clinical experience. You will need to undergo a criminal background check in order to participate in clinical training at local healthcare facilities and may be expected to hold current Basic Life Support certification and proof of immunization against a number of communicable diseases.
Your clinical experience will take place in a number of settings throughout Maine, including hospitals, outpatient centers, and nursing homes. The following facilities are among those that support clinical experience rotations for PTA students:
- Maine Medical Center – Portland
- New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland – Portland
- Back in Motion Physical Therapy – Portland
- Prospect Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation – Augusta
- Advanced Health Physical Therapy – Augusta
- Select Physical Therapy – Bangor
- Mary’s Regional Medical Center – Lewiston
Step 2. Apply for and Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs
Now that you have obtained your education in physical therapist assisting, you will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs through the National Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (NFSBPT) in order to become licensed to practice in Maine. This will involve submitting an exam application to the State of Maine Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, so they can determine that you are qualified to take the exam.
You can either apply online or by submitting a paper application form. You must pay the $25 exam application fee by credit card if applying online, or by check made out to the Maine State Treasurer if submitting a hard copy application.
It is critical that you include either your official transcripts, or a letter of intent if you have not yet graduated. The “Letter of Intent to Graduate” is designed for students very close to graduating who would like to initiate the application process early in order to eliminate possible delays based on when the next exam is scheduled. The letter of intent must state that you have met all clinical and coursework requirements and that your graduation is eminent.
If submitting by mail, will send your application, fee, and supporting documents to this address:
Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation
35 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0035
After submitting your application, check the Office of Professional and Occupation Regulation website periodically to verify approval. Your status will appear as “Pending” while your application is being reviewed. Once you have been approved to take the exam, your status will change to PENDING EXAMINATION.
Once approved, you must register to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs online directly through the FSBPT and pay the $400 registration fee by credit or debit card. Once registered, you will be instructed to schedule to take the exam through Prometric and pay a $70 exam proctoring fee. New Hampshire’s Prometric test sites are located in these cities:
- South Portland
Sites available in New Hampshire include:
The four hour exam will consist of 200 items. You are strongly advised to prepare in advance, and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) provides a candidate handbook for this purpose. After you have reviewed the information, you can take a computerized online pratice exam.
The content for the NPTE-PTA exam includes:
- Safety & Protection; Professional Responsibilities; Research (6%)
- Interventions (30.7%)
- Diseases/Conditions that Impact Effective Treatment (28%)
- Physical Therapy Data Collection (20.7%)
- Equipment & Devices; Therapeutic Modalities (14.7%)
In order to pass the exam, you need to obtain a score of at least 600.
Step 3. Submit Your Application for PTA Licensure in Maine
Now that you have passed your exam, you can apply for your license to practice as a physical therapist assistant in Maine. You will download your application form from the Maine Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation and pay two fees: $30 for the license and $21 for a criminal background check. You can pay by check made out to the Maine State Treasurer or by including credit card information on your application.
If you have had any criminal conviction, you must include a description of the court judgment and decision and include a signed written statement about the crime.
Your application will be rejected if it has any alterations. This includes the use of white out. If you submitted a Letter of Intent to Graduate when you applied for your approval to take the NAPTE, you will need to submit your official transcripts along with your application.
You will also need to direct the Federation of State Boards to send your exam scores directly to the Board. You can do this from their website or by calling (703) 739-9420.
You can find out when your license has been approved by checking the website of the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Once your license has been issued, your status will display as ACTIVE. It will then take at least 14 business days to receive the physical copy of your license.
Step 4. Establish Your Career as a Physical Therapist Assistant in Maine
As a fully licensed PTA, you have a number of options available to you as you begin exploring available jobs. Many PTAs choose to become part of the independent physical therapy practice, while others choose to work in Maine’s network of hospital systems, and outpatient clinics. Facilities that posted job offers for physical therapist assistants as of October 2015 included (shown as illustrative examples only and not intended as job offers):
- Supplemental Health Care – Deer Isle
- Genesis Rehabilitation Services – Augusta
- Goodwill Industries of Northern New England – Lewiston
- MaineGeneral Health – Augusta
- ResCare – Rockland
- Genesis HealthCare – Augusta
- Mercy Hospital – Portland
- Central Maine Medical Center – Rumford
- Preferred Therapy Solutions – Augusta
Step 5. Renew Your Physical Therapist Assistant License Every Year
Your physical therapist assistant license will expire every year on March 31. The Board will email you with a reminder to renew your license at least 30 days before it expires. This email will contain your access code and license number, which you will need to renew.
It is important to keep your contact information up to date with the Board to ensure you don’t miss important communications regarding your license renewal.
You will renew your license using the online system and pay a $30 renewal fee. If you renew late, you will have to pay a $50 late fee, and if you wait more than 90 days, you will need to reapply for your license.
The Board does not require any continuing education credits to renew, but they will check your records to see if you qualify to renew your license.