How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Connecticut

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Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) serve a vital function in helping patients through recovery in Connecticut.

This allied healthcare field combines meaningful patient interaction with career stability, growth, and numerous local opportunities.

For individuals weighing becoming a PTA, identifying the educational requirements and licensure process is invaluable for properly navigating this career path.

Let’s examine the steps needed to join this in-demand workforce.

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How to Become a Physical Therapy Assistant in Connecticut, Step by Step

Educational Requirements

PTA education begins at the associate’s degree level. Several accredited programs exist at community colleges across Connecticut, offering classroom learning and hands-on training.

Before applying, certain prerequisites are typically required. Common prerequisites include:

  • High school or college-level courses in biology, chemistry, and math with minimum passing grades.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA, often between 2.5-3.0, to demonstrate strong academic history. Some programs require higher GPAs for admission.
  • Standardized exam scores, such as SATs/ACTs exceeding program minimums.
  • A certain number of observation hours under licensed PTs and PTAs through volunteer or internship experiences.

Meeting these prerequisites, along with other application requirements, increases the chances of acceptance into competitive PTA programs.

PTA Degrees

To become a PTA in CT, students must complete an accredited associate’s degree program.

These programs average two years and include classroom and practical experience.

Students take courses covering subjects like anatomy, exercise physiology, and physical therapy techniques.

Clinical Experience

During rotations, students gain hands-on experience applying their developing skills while working under the supervision of licensed PTs at facilities like hospitals, private practices, and rehabilitation centers.

Licensure Process

Upon graduating from an accredited program, candidates must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to become licensed.

With a passing score, candidates can then apply for licensure through the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

The final step is to apply for licensure through the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH).

The application requires:

  • Proof of graduation from an accredited PTA program
  • Verification of a passing NPTE score
  • Licensure fee payment (currently $150)
  • Completed application form

This license must be renewed every two years by paying a renewal fee and documenting the completion of continued competency requirements.

Connecticut requires 24 hours of approved continuing education over the two-year renewal period.

A wide variety of courses are accepted, covering topics like treatment techniques, documentation methods, and ethics.

This ensures that PTAs constantly update their skills.

Career Prospects

Licensed PTAs have employment opportunities across various healthcare settings within the state.

In addition to hospitals and private practices, positions are available at eldercare facilities, schools, sports clinics, and more.

Career growth is also possible through certification in specialty areas like orthopedics.

Physical Therapist Assistant Schools in Connecticut

There are several accredited PTA programs in Connecticut:

Gateway Community CollegeGateway Community College

North Haven offers an Associate’s in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant.

Small class sizes allow for personalized instruction.

Gateway Community College’s associate’s degree program takes approximately two years.

In-state tuition for 2022-23 was $4,740, with additional costs of around $19,420. Out-of-state tuition is $14,140.

Tuition is estimated to rise slightly in 2023-24.

Naugatuck Valley Community CollegeNaugatuck Valley Community College

Waterbury has a highly competitive program with exceptional faculty mentoring.

Additional resources include modern labs and community clinical partnerships.

Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Physical Therapist Assistant program spans two academic years costing approximately $19,385 for Connecticut residents.

The program involves 75 weeks of academic instruction and 104 total calendar weeks.

Clinical experiences are included without additional housing or travel costs for students.

Norwalk Community CollegeNorwalk Community College

Boasts an experienced faculty dedicated to student success.

Located minutes from several hospital affiliates, clinical opportunities are easily accessible.

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Norwalk Community College has a duration of 80 weeks excluding breaks and 121 weeks including breaks.

The estimated costs for the program are:

For in-state students: Year 1 Tuition: $4,392 Year 2 Tuition: $4,392 Total tuition: $8,784

Annual institutional fees: $1,255 (including general fees for both years). Estimated other program expenses (books, labs, etc.): $1,400.

Total estimated cost of the 2-year program for in-state students: $11,439

Each program holds CAPTE accreditation and covers topics including gait training, therapeutic exercise, and modalities.

Admission is competitive, with prerequisite coursework required.

Top 3 Schools in Connecticut

School NameAddress
´╗┐Gateway Community College108 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034, United States
´╗┐Naugatuck Valley Community College750 Chase Pkwy, Waterbury, CT 06708, United States
´╗┐Norwalk Community College188 Richards Ave, Norwalk, CT 06854, United State

Physical Therapist Assistant Salary in Connecticut

Salary ranges for PTAs vary based on their level of experience working in the field.

For those just entering the profession with less than one year of experience, average annual wages are around $70,501.

PTA salaries typically increase with years of experience.

Those with three to five years earn in the mid-$70,000 to low $80,000s range.

Salaries reach around $85,321 annually after six to nine years.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Physical Therapist Assistants in Connecticut

City NameSalary
New Haven$39,100
New Britain$39,000
West Hartford$39,100
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Connecticut

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT230$69,120$33.23$86,130$45,630
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT300$70,060$33.68$81,240$56,280
New Haven, CT140$71,430$34.34$87,250$47,440
Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI50$67,980$32.68$78,890$54,860
Waterbury, CT40$71,160$34.21$87,530$58,970
* 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

Can I obtain licensure if I did not graduate from a CAPTE-accredited program?

No, Connecticut requires graduation from a CAPTE-accredited PTA program to be eligible for licensure.

How quickly will I receive my license after passing the NPTE?

The Connecticut DPH website states licenses are generally issued 4-6 weeks after a completed application is submitted.

Is interstate reciprocity available for my Connecticut PTA license?

CT participates in the Physical Therapy Compact, which allows licensed PTAs to practice temporarily in other compact states for up to 60 days per year without obtaining additional licensure.

What setting would offer the best work-life balance as a new PTA?

Outpatient private practices or orthopedic clinics often offer more predictable schedules than hospital-based roles.

However, all settings require some evening/weekend availability.

How can I get more clinical experience before applying to PTA programs?

Consider volunteering or completing an internship under a licensed PT or PTA to bolster your application.

Many programs require observation hours.

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