How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in South Carolina

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Physical therapy can mean a great deal to those who need it.

Whether it be due to an injury, illness, or disability, going through the process can be tough and rewarding.

This is true for both the patient and the physical therapist.

However, it’s not just a two-person scenario.

Physical therapy takes a team of dedicated medical staff to help improve the life of a patient.

A physical therapist may lead the treatment, but the support staff help make the whole thing possible.

That’s where a physical therapist assistant comes in.

If you feel compelled to be part of physical therapy but don’t have the time to get a doctorate at the moment, start your career as a physical therapist assistant!

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How to Become a Physical Therapist – Step by Step

Get a Degree

Before you can start applying for jobs in the field, an education is mandatory.

Students should focus on an associate of applied science degree in the physical therapist assistant program.

It will take at minimum two years to complete.

Get Licensed

Once a degree has been obtained, it’s time to put the knowledge to use.

Students must sign up for the National Physical Therapy Examination, the NPTE.

Passing the test will result in becoming a licensed physical therapist assistant.

Apply for Internships

Now that you’re educated and licensed, it’s time to start your career.

If you didn’t get an internship during the program, it’s time to get one now.

In fact, even if you did, you might be brought on originally as an intern before getting to employee status in the future.

Physical Therapist Assistant Schools in South Carolina

South University in ColumbiaSouth University in Columbia

Located in the capital, South University offers a hands-on approach to the physical therapy assistant program.

Upon acceptance, either a part-time or full-time route must be chosen, and the experience will be based on that decision.

Students will help put treatment programs into action, exercise patients, and learn first-hand how to use specialized equipment.

By the time graduation rolls around, 660 hours of clinical education will have been achieved.

The PTA program costs around $36,000 to obtain an associate’s degree.

Greenville Technical CollegeGreenville Technical College

The program in Greenville is split into two phases.

Phase one can be done part-time or full-time and can include transfer credits from other schools.

This is when students will get their gen ed classes completed.

The next phase is when the PTA classes start at a full-time capacity.

GTC wants to ensure students are comfortable both with the patient and with the technology they’ll need daily.

For the degree, expect to pay around $26,000.

Trident Technical CollegeTrident Technical College

Charleston’s Trident Tech will have you graduate with 69 credit hours.

This is divided up over the course of five or six semesters, depending on course load.

All physical therapist assistant classes must be passed with a grade of C or better to avoid repetition.

Students will end up paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 to graduate with an associate in applied sciences.

Top 3 Schools in South Carolina

School NameAddress
South University in Columbia9 Science Ct, Columbia, SC 29203, United States
Greenville Technical College506 S Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville, SC 29607, United States
Trident Technical College7000 Rivers Ave, North Charleston, SC 29406, United States


In South Carolina, the average pay for a physical therapist assistant is $59,000 annually.

The grand majority of PTAs here make between $54,000 and $65,000.

If you want to start at entry-level, you might be looking at around $50,000.

Those with more experience could expect around $71,000 a year.

Overall, PTAs in South Carolina are only slightly below the national average.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Physical Therapist Assistants in South Carolina

City NameSalary
North Charleston$60,501
Rock Hill$62,701
Mount Pleasant$60,501
Hilton Head Island$59,401
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in South Carolina

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Charleston-North Charleston, SC500$57,040$27.42$76,290$50,810
Columbia, SC340$63,030$30.3$81,720$48,290
Florence, SC80$67,860$32.62$87,950$46,800
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC420$67,550$32.47$83,770$49,500
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC70$63,240$30.4$80,690$46,260
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC140$61,790$29.71$79,800$47,740
Spartanburg, SC120$66,050$31.76$83,260$49,200
* 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 are the duties of a physical therapist assistant?

The recovery path of a patient going through physical therapy is put together by the therapist.

The assistant’s job is to make it possible to get through the process for both the patient and the therapist.

While it may not seem like the PTA has a lot of wiggle room, there are a lot more responsibilities than one might think.

For starters, the patient will lean on you for strength.

You might be what stands between the patient and the floor.

This makes you an invaluable member of the therapy team.

Duties will include making the patient comfortable, going through exercises, massage therapy, assistance with routines, as well as keeping vitals during the sessions.

Let’s not forget the administrative work!

Do physical therapist assistants wear scrubs?

Most likely, yes.

Scrubs may seem like a choice you wouldn’t make, but they are functional.

What you don’t want as a PTA is clothes that will restrict any type of movement.

Scrubs are made not only to be free-flowing but also more resistant to fluids that might befall them.

This attire is typically standard anywhere you might be employed as a physical therapist assistant.

Just wait until you get the job to wear them, show up for the interview like any other job.

How many questions are there on the PTA exam?

When it comes to having a career where you have the life of a person in your hand, things are held to a higher standard.

So, when it comes to getting your PTA license, the exam does not play around.

Test takers can expect 200 questions on the NPTE.

All questions must be answered within the four-hour testing window.

In total, that averages out to 50 questions an hour.

Be sure to study, so you don’t have to spend too much time on any particular question.

What happens if you fail?

You can try again three more times over the following year.

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