How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Colorado

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Looking for a healthcare career where you can help others through their recovery journeys?

Consider becoming a physical therapist assistant (PTA).

As a PTA, you would collaborate with physical therapists and use your skills and training to design and administer care plans for patients.

This hands-on role has the rewarding opportunity to make meaningful impacts in people’s lives.

Colorado is one state with a growing demand for skilled PTAs.

In this article, we’ll explore the steps to take on your journey toward this career path in Colorado.

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Prerequisites for Enrollment

Before entering a physical therapist assistant (PTA) associate’s degree program in Colorado, certain baseline prerequisites must typically be completed:

  • High school diploma or GED: You must have proof of graduating from an accredited high school or completing a General Education Development (GED) program.
  • College coursework: Most programs require general education courses like biology, chemistry, psychology, math, and English to be finished before starting the PTA curriculum. These ensure students have fundamental scientific knowledge.
  • Grade point average (GPA): A minimum cumulative high school or college GPA of 2.5-3.0 is usually necessary to meet academic standards.
  • Admission exam: Some schools require taking the HESI Admission Assessment Exam for health professions and meeting a minimum score.
  • Observation hours: Around 20-40 hours of job shadowing a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant are needed by many programs.

Completing these prerequisites demonstrates readiness for the rigorous PTA coursework.

Be sure to research each Colorado school’s specific admission policies and plan prerequisites accordingly.

How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Colorado: Step-by-Step

Now that you have the educational requirements out of the way, here are the additional steps to becoming a licensed PTA in Colorado:

  1. Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for PTAs. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy created and graded this exam to assess your preparedness for practical application. You will be evaluated on your understanding of various topics, including documentation, ethics, equipment, and treatment methods. Most states require you to pass this exam to apply for licensure.
  2. Apply for Colorado state licensure. Once you have your associate degree and NPTE score, you can submit your application to the Colorado Physical Therapy Board. Expect to pay around a $100 fee. You’ll need to provide documentation of your education and exam results and meet any other specific requirements in Colorado.
  3. Maintain your license through continuing education. Colorado requires licensed PTAs to complete 24 continuing education credits every two years to renew their license. This ensures you keep up with new research and advances in physical therapy techniques. Many PTAs gain additional training in orthopedics, geriatrics, or sports medicine.

Check out potential specialty certifications:

PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways

Specialist Certification

Top physical therapy specialties and certifications

  1. While not required, getting certified in a specialty area can expand your career options and demonstrate expertise to potential employers. Some areas you could specialize in include orthopedics, geriatrics, neurology, and sports physical therapy.

Stick with it and these steps will have you well on your way to your new career as a licensed PTA!

Physical Therapist Assistant Schools in Colorado

Arapahoe Community CollegeArapahoe Community College

Located in Littleton, ACC offers a highly regarded two-year PTA program.

The curriculum combines general education prerequisites with specialized PTA coursework.

Clinical internships in the second year provide valuable hands-on experience.

Tuition is approximately $5,000 annually for in-state residents, with additional costs for textbooks, fees, and supplies.

The program accepts a new class each fall.

Concorde Career College-Aurora CampusConcorde Career College-Aurora Campus

Concorde’s PTA program in Aurora lasts 18 months of full-time study.

It focuses on classroom instruction as well as lab and hands-on clinical practice.

Graduates are prepared for the NPTE and licensure applications.

The cost is around $33,000, including tuition and certain fees/supplies.

Classes start in April, August, and November each year.

Pueblo Community CollegePueblo Community College

PCC offers a robust two-year PTA program in southern Colorado.

The program incorporates classroom learning and over 700 hours of clinical rotations at various healthcare facilities.

Tuition is around $4,500 per year plus fees.

Small class sizes allow for individualized attention.

New students are admitted each fall semester.

Morgan Community CollegeMorgan Community College

Based in Fort Morgan, MCC provides a two-year PTA program combining academic and clinical training.

The program emphasizes evidence-based practice to prepare graduates for real-world rehabilitation settings.

Annual costs, including tuition and fees, are approximately $5,000.

Applications are accepted year-round for the following fall semester.

Top 4 Schools in Colorado

School NameAddress
Arapahoe Community College5900 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, CO 80120, United States
Concorde Career College-Aurora Campus111 Havana St, Aurora, CO 80010, United States
Pueblo Community College900 W Orman Ave, Pueblo, CO 81004, United States
Morgan Community College920 Barlow Rd, Fort Morgan, CO 80701, United States


The average salary for a physical therapist assistant in Colorado is $73,750 per year.

While individual salaries can vary depending on location, years of experience, and employer, this figure provides a useful benchmark for typical PTA earnings in this state.

Indeed reports that the typical salary range for Colorado PTAs is between $51,890 and $104,610 annually.

Entry-level Colorado PTAs may make it closer to the lower end of that range, while PTAs with more experience and advanced certifications, or those working in specialty areas, could expect salaries towards the higher end of $104,610 annually.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Physical Therapist Assistants in Colorado

City NameSalary
Colorado Springs$63,401
Fort Collins$62,401
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Colorado

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Boulder, CO110$59,990$28.84$76,450$28,580
Colorado Springs, CO270$58,820$28.28$76,660$43,530
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO730$64,710$31.11$81,830$51,690
Fort Collins, CO80$66,400$31.92$80,430$53,930
Grand Junction, CO50$59,620$28.67$75,930$38,090
Greeley, CO60$60,300$28.99$79,130$39,360
Pueblo, CO90$55,380$26.62$73,520$30,150
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Physical Therapist Assistants, OCC Code 31-2021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What educational requirements are needed to become a PTA in Colorado?

To work as a PTA in Colorado, you must graduate from an accredited PTA associate’s degree program.

There are several accredited options within the state to choose from.

Is licensure required for PTAs in Colorado?

Yes, Colorado requires all PTAs to be state-licensed.

To apply for a Colorado PTA license, you must graduate from an accredited program and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

Your license must then be renewed biennially.

How do continuing education requirements work for PTAs in Colorado?

Licensed PTAs in Colorado must complete 24 hours of approved continuing education every two years.

This helps ensure Colorado PTAs stay up to date with the latest techniques and issues relevant to physical therapy.

Accepted continuing education covers topics like new treatment approaches, documentation skills, and ethics.

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