Top Schools for Physical Therapist Assistants

Jan 09, 2020

Learn about physical therapist assistant programs at three top colleges and universities. Also, find a list of other schools that provide training for physical therapy assistants.

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Physical therapist assistant (PTA) programs typically lead to an associate degree and include courses in anatomy, kinesiology and rehabilitation procedures. The best programs consistently prepare graduates to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam and acquire state licensure.

Aspiring physical therapist assistants can find strong programs at St. Catherine University, the University of Indianapolis, Louisiana College, and California University of Pennsylvania. Each of these schools has been cited by U.S. News & World Report in 2020 for the quality of its academic programs or boasts high licensure exam pass rates.

Additionally, physical therapy assistant programs for these schools have been approved by the Commission on Accreditation in physical therapy education.

1. St. Catherine University in Minneapolis, MN

In 2020, U.S. News & World Report tied St. Catherine University in 228 among best national universities. A private Catholic school, St. Catherine's has campuses in St. Paul and Minneapolis. At its Minneapolis campus, the university offers an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapy Assisting. This unique program allows students to learn alongside doctoral students in the university's physical therapy program.

2. University of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, IN

The University of Indianapolis tied 228 among best national universities in 2020, according to U.S. News & World Report. The school's physical therapist assistant program has a selective admissions process and awards an Associate in Science. The program takes two years to complete and offers its technical courses in the evenings and general education courses during the day.

3. Louisiana College in Pineville, LA

Louisiana College is a private, Baptist college that was ranked 5th among southern colleges offering the 'best bang for the buck,' by Washington Monthly in 2019. In fact, over 90% of students attending the school received financial aid.

The school offers an accredited physical therapist assistant program that culminates in an Associate of Applied Science. Requirements include one year of general education classes followed by one year of technical study. During the final three semesters of study, students also participate in experiential practicums.

The licensure pass rate for students who completed this training program in 2018 was 93%.

4. California University of Pennsylvania

The physical therapist assistant program at California University of Pennsylvania lasts for two years and leads to an Associate of Applied Science. It consists of a pre-technical phase and a technical phase. Admittance to the technical portion of the program is contingent upon academic performance in the first semester and is limited to less than 30 students each term. Upon completion, students can take the licensure exam.

For the class of 2018, the pass rate was just over 92%.

Top Physical Therapist Assistant Schools in the U.S.

These colleges and universities also provide outstanding training for aspiring physical therapist assistants:

School Name Distinction Location
College of Southern Nevada School offers an honors program Las Vegas, NV
Idaho State University Free annual healthcare conference for students Pocatello, ID
Mercyhurst North East Physical therapy training lab includes a mechanical lift, hydrotherapy tanks and balance boards North East, PA
Missouri Western State University The pass rate for the licensure exam was 90% for the class of 2018 St. Joseph, MO
University of Saint Francis - Fort Wayne Students use human patient simulator for practical learning Fort Wayne, IN
Washburn University Physical Therapy Club Topeka, KS

Students who want to become physical therapist assistants can find well-regarded programs at colleges and universities around the country. Many of these programs lead to associate degrees and report high licensure exam pass rates for its graduates.

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