How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in South Dakota

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Physical therapist assistants work with physical therapists to provide rehabilitative therapies to patients who have had an injury or disease.

The goal of physical therapy is to restore a person to the level of function they had before getting sick or injured.

Physical therapist assistants can work in hospitals, outpatient centers, private doctors’ offices, and fitness centers.

If you are looking for a healthcare career that you can begin without a four-year degree, you should consider being a physical therapist assistant.

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How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in South Dakota

To become a physical therapist assistant in South Dakota, you’ll need to complete several steps, including earning an associate’s degree and passing a national board exam.

The process takes at least 2 years to complete.

Earn an Associate’s Degree

The first step to becoming a physical therapist assistant is to earn an associate’s degree.

You’ll need to attend a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, or CAPTE.

South Dakota only has one physical therapy assistant program.

However, you can get an associate’s degree as a physical therapist assistant in another state.

Take the National Physical Therapy Assistants Exam (NPTE)

Anyone who wants to become a PTA in America must pass the National Physical Therapy Assistants Exam after earning their associate’s degree.

The exam is 200 questions, and you have 4 hours to complete it.

You’ll need a score of 600 or better to pass.

Before taking the exam, you’ll need to pay a $400 registration fee.

Get Your PTA License

You’ll apply for your physical therapist assistant license when you register for the NPTE exam, but your license won’t be granted until you pass the exam.

To apply for your PTA license in South Dakota, you’ll need to send in your school transcript or degree.

You’ll also send in a notarized application, which requires you to answer some personal questions.

A few of these questions are, “Have you received a mental health diagnosis that would prevent you from professional practice?” and “Have you ever been convicted of a crime other than misdemeanor traffic offenses?”.

It’s important to note that answering yes doesn’t immediately disqualify you from getting a license.

However, if you answer yes to any of the questions, you’ll need to provide a detailed explanation on another sheet.

Along with the application, you’ll need to send a $120 application fee.

Physical Therapist Assistant Schools in South Dakota

Lake Area Technical College is the only Physical Therapy Assistant program in South Dakota.

Lake Area Technical College Lake Area Technical College 

The Lake Area Technical College physical therapist assistant program will provide you with an associate of applied science degree.

Admission into the program is competitive, and only 28 students are admitted each year.

You’ll need a competitive ACT or Accuplacer score to get into the program.

An ACT reading score of 18 or an Accuplacer score of 255 is recommended before applying.

Students are selected based on three criteria.

ACT or Accuplacer scores are 70%, and essay questions are 30%.

Each student is scored, and those with the highest scores are chosen for the program.

You’ll need to maintain a 2.0 GPA to stay in the program.

If your score drops below this, you’ll be removed.

The other requirement is general education credits.

General education credits must be completed before applying to the PTA program.

General courses in the program include general psychology, fundamentals of speech, and career search strategies.

Program-specific courses include Theories of Therapeutic Exercise, Fundamentals of Physical Therapist Assisting, and Musculoskeletal Disorders and Treatment.

The program takes 20 months to complete, including four regular semesters and one summer semester.

You’ll need 75 credits to complete the program.

You’ll also participate in several clinical.

This means you’ll be working as a physical therapist assistant at a facility within the community.

This allows you to get real hands-on experience and put the things you’ve learned into practice.

The first occurs during the second fall term.

You’ll spend four weeks working at a facility for a total of 120 clock hours.

The next clinicals occur in the second spring term. Both require 6 weeks and 240 clock hours.

Top 1 Schools in South Dakota

School NameAddress
Lake Area Technical College1201 Arrow Ave NE, Watertown, SD 57201, United States

Physical Therapist Assistant Salary

Physical therapist assistants in South Dakota make an average of $56,059.

Salaries range from $50,622 to $61,834.

How much you earn will depend on the current demand for PTAs, the location where you work, and your experience.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Physical Therapist Assistants in South Dakota

City NameSalary
Sioux Falls$57,201
Rapid City$56,001
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in South Dakota

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Rapid City, SD40$47,960$23.06$57,420$36,540
Sioux Falls, SD100$50,770$24.41$61,760$40,440
* 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 can PTAs in South Dakota not do?

In South Dakota, physical therapist assistants can perform many of the same duties as a physical therapist.

However, they can’t create treatment plans or do initial evaluations.

There are also a few complex exercises that they can’t provide.

Do I need to renew my PTA license in South Dakota?

Yes, you’ll need to renew your license every two years.

You’ll need to have 30 continuing education credits before renewing your license.

License renewals must be done before January 2026.

You’ll pay a $120 renewal fee as well.

Are PTAs in demand in South Dakota?

Yes, the expected growth rate for PTAs in South Dakota is 14%.

This is lower than the national average of 19%, but still much higher than the average growth rate for all industries.

Can I bring my license from another state?

If you are licensed in another state, you’ll need to speak to the Board of Examiners in South Dakota.

You may not need to retake the NPTE exam, but you will need proof of your license from the other state.

Can I be licensed in multiple states?

Yes, you can be licensed in multiple states.

You’ll need to work with the board of each new state you want to practice in to be sure you are properly licensed there.

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