How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Utah

The number of jobs for licensed physical therapist assistants is expected to grow significantly in Utah in the coming years. In fact, Utah Department of Workforce Services projects a 42.9% increase in the total number of physical therapist assistants in the state during the period spanning 2012-2022.

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Utah’s physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of physical therapists at physical therapy practices, orthopedic and sports medicine outpatient clinics, as well as inpatient rehab centers in the state’s top hospitals. According to Utah Department of Workforce Services, the Salt Lake Metro area has the highest concentration of physical therapist assistants in the state, due in part to the presence of several large rehabilitation centers in Salt Lake City.

As a physical therapist assistant, you will be responsible for documenting patient progress, educating patients on rehabilitative movements, and establishing patient treatment plans, among other duties.

Steps to Earning a Physical Therapist Assistant License in Utah

Your path to earning a physical therapist assistant license will involve meeting the educational and professional requirements of the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing-Physical Therapy Division. Follow this step-by-step guide to earn your Utah physical therapist assistant license.

Graduate from a CAPTE-Accredited Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Submit an Application for Examination and Licensure in Utah
Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs
Start your Career as a Physical Therapist Assistant in Utah
Complete Continuing Competency Hours to Renew your License

 


 

Step 1. Graduate from a CAPTE-Accredited Physical Therapist Assistant Program

As an applicant for physical therapist assistant licensure in Utah, you must graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). CAPTE-accredited schools are found in the following Utah cities:

  • Provo
  • St George
  • West Jordan

You can find a complete list of CAPTE-accredited PTA programs in Utah on the CAPTE website.

Your physical therapist assistant program will consist of both classroom and clinical learning. Just some of the topics your coursework may cover include:

  • Rehabilitative agents
  • Pediatrics
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Kinesiology
  • Medical terminology
  • Fitness
  • Behavioral sciences
  • Ethics in the workplace
  • Biomechanics
  • Clinical pathology
  • Anatomy
  • Exercise physiology
  • Gerontology

Your clinical experience will give you the chance to work with patients directly under the supervision of a physical therapist. Students typically work full-time for 14-16 weeks at a nearby rehabilitation clinic, nursing home, or hospital. To view some of the top physical therapist assistant employers in Utah, visit Step 4 of this article.

Once you complete your classroom and clinical work, you may earn a degree such as:

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

 


 

Step 2. Submit an Application for Examination and Licensure in Utah

The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing requires graduates of CAPTE-accredited physical therapist assistant programs to begin the license application process within three months of graduation. To begin, you must apply to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs, offered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). The application form can be found on the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing website.

In addition to your application, you must submit the following to the Board:

  • A $60 fee in the form of check or money order made payable to “DOPL”
  • Your official college transcripts with your school’s seal/stamp on the envelope flap

You may deliver your materials to the Division through one of the following methods:

In person or via express delivery to the following address:

Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing
Heber M Wells Building, 1st Floor Lobby 160 E 300 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Through US Postal Service to the following address:

Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing
PO BOX 146741
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6741

As the Division determines your approval to take the exam, you must also register with the FSBPT.

 


 

Step 3. Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs

Once you have received approval to take the NPTE-PTA, you must schedule your exam through the FSBPT. The NPTE-PTA can be taken at Prometric testing centers across Utah in the following cities:

  • Lindon
  • Salt Lake City
  • George

The NPTE is a four-hour exam consisting of 200 questions. The exam will cover topics including:

  • PT Data Collection
  • Safety and Protection
  • Interventions
  • Professional Responsibilities
  • Equipment and Devices
  • Therapeutic Modalities

You may prepare for the exam by using the online practice exam & assessment tool (PEAT) on the FSBPT website. You may also study directly from the NPTE Candidate Handbook.

To pass the exam, you must score the scaled equivalent of a 600 (scale ranges from 200-800).

The FSBPT charges a $400 testing fee. You will have to pay an additional $70 fee to Prometric.

 


 

Step 4. Start your Career as a Physical Therapist Assistant in Utah

Once you have passed the NPTE-PTA, you will receive your license to practice as a physical therapist assistant. You may then begin applying to work for a physical therapy clinic in Utah.

One of the top employers of physical therapist assistants in Utah is Mountain Land Physical Therapy. The company has 24 locations throughout the state, including three locations in St. George and two locations in both Salt Lake City and Tooele. Other top employers of physical therapist assistants in the state include:

  • Bear River Valley Hospital in Tremonton
  • Davis Hospital & Medical Center in Layton
  • Logan Regional Hospital in Logan
  • McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden
  • Mission at Hillside Rehabilitation Center in Salt Lake City
  • Redwood Health Center – University of Utah Health Care in Salt Lake City
  • Registered Physical Therapists, Inc. in locations throughout Utah
  • Salt Lake Regional Medical Center in Salt Lake City
  • South Jordan Health Center – University of Utah Health Care in South Jordan
  • Thatcher Brook Rehabilitation and Care Center in Clearfield
  • The Orthopedic Speciality Hospital in Murray
  • University Orthopaedic Center in Salt Lake City
  • Utah Physical Therapy in West Haven and Lehi

 


 

Step 5. Complete Continuing Competency Hours to Renew your License

After you have begun your professional practice as a physical therapist assistant, you must renew your license with the Utah Division of Occupational Licensing by May 31 of every odd-numbered year. Physical therapist assistants in Utah are required to complete a minimum of 20 contact hours of Continuing Education (CE) to maintain their license. Of those 20 hours, a minimum of three hours must be in law and/or ethics. To view the complete details of your required CE hours, visit R156-24b-303b in Utah Administrative Code

To renew your license, you must print and complete a renewal form on the Division website. You must send the form, along with a $47 renewal fee check or money order made payable to “DOPL”, to the following address:

DOPL
PO Box 146741
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6741

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