How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Washington

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Are you interested in becoming a  Physical Therapist?

Are you located in or planning to move to the state of Washington?

Or are you simply curious to learn about the requirements for becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant in this state?

Whatever your reasons, keep reading to find out the necessary steps one must take to pursue this career in Washington.

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How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Washington

  • According to the official website of the Washington State Department of Health, one of the first requirements for becoming a physical therapist assistant is to “graduate from an institution of higher learning accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education under RCW 18.74.030(2).” The next step after graduating is to send your official transcripts to the institution you wish to attend.
  • Your next step toward starting your career is to attend and graduate from an accredited program. This can be an Associate Degree of Science in Physical Therapy Assistant or an Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant.
  • Upon completing the course, you should be eligible to take the Washington Physical Therapist Assistant Jurisprudence Exam. The test is comprised of sixteen questions, and upon passing, you can go on to the next step, which is the National Physical Therapy Exam.
  • The NPTE costs $370, and the proctoring fee is $70. The exam consists of 200 questions, and to pass, you must get a score of 600 or higher. Some of the topics included in this test are therapeutic modalities, PT data collection, and protection and safety.

Physical Assistant Therapy Schools in Washington

Lake Washington Institute of TechnologyLake Washington Institute of Technology

In this fully accredited, full-time program, you will have the option to choose between daytime and afternoon classes, which are held during the weekdays.

To be admitted into the program, you must first apply, and then go through the school’s selective admissions process.

The school’s Physical Therapist Assistant, AAS consists of 92 credits and focuses on the necessary skills for starting a career in this field. As a student of this program, you will learn about topics and skills such as mobility and balance exercises, the proper tools for communicating with patients and educating them on the problems at hand, and how to maintain a proper system of documentation.

The prerequisites for this program are:

  • Biology: 6 credits
  • Psychology: 5 credits
  • English: 5 credits
  • Communications: 5 credits
  • Statistics: 5 credits

Upon graduation, you can take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) and are eligible to apply for your license in the state of Washington.

Whatcom CollegeWhatcom College

This 111-credit Associate of Applied Science can be taken in person or online – depending on the chosen course format, you will take the courses either at the Whatcom College Campus or Pierce College.

Additionally, students can choose to opt for the full-time or the part-time option.

To be accepted into the program, you must have a 2.3 or higher GPA.

The program is generally divided into four quarters; the curriculum of which focuses on subjects like Math, Biology, Communications, and Public Speaking.

Pierce CollegePierce College

If you are interested in a hybrid program, you may be interested in the one offered by Whatcom Community College.

The school’s program is hybrid as well as in-person, with the lab practice option being offered through Pierce College.

To be accepted into the program, you must have a 2.3 GPA or higher, be admitted into the Whatcom College program, and attend monthly lab sessions at Pierce while taking all the classes online.

Olympic CollegeOlympic College

The school offers a two-year program designed to prepare students for further education or a career in the field.

One of the first requirements to being admitted into the program is the completion of 26 prerequisite credits in Biology and Physics, or Biology and Chemistry.

The tuition can vary based on various factors; however, there are additional costs you should prepare for, aside from tuition.

One example is the Lab fees, which can be up to $35 per course.

Once you are admitted into the program, you will go through 560 hours divided into six quarters.

The first year is divided into four quarters – fall, winter, spring, and summer – whereas the second year only has a fall and a winter quarter.

The curriculum includes topics such as Medical Terminology, Human Growth and Development, Orthopedic Conditions, and PTA Procedures.

To graduate, students are required to complete a total of 40 hours of observation in two or more facilities.

Top 4 Schools in Washington

School NameAddress
Lake Washington Institute of Technology11605 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034, United States
Whatcom College237 W Kellogg Rd, Bellingham, WA 98226, United States
Pierce College6201 Winnetka Ave, Woodland Hills, CA 91367, United States
Olympic College1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337, United States

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary

The salary of a physical therapy assistant in the United States averages between $58,000 and $70,758.

In comparison, a professional in this field can expect to earn an annual salary that ranges from $62,228 to $75,916.

Like with most jobs, if you’re just starting, you should expect to start on the lower end, with your chances of earning more money growing alongside your experience.

However, other factors – like the city in which you are professing or any additional certifications – can also influence your salary as a physical therapy assistant.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Physical Therapist Assistants in Washington

City NameSalary
Federal Way$68,501
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Washington

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA50$59,410$28.56$77,410$48,990
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA50$58,280$28.02$76,200$36,630
Kennewick-Richland, WA70$59,440$28.58$80,390$36,400
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA40$60,990$29.32$77,110$46,600
Olympia-Tumwater, WA60$64,520$31.02$87,110$48,090
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA800$66,160$31.81$82,120$42,520
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA190$58,940$28.34$76,900$35,080
Wenatchee, WA30$62,060$29.84$77,800$49,690
Yakima, WA60$60,950$29.3$81,090$35,330
* 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

Am I required to pay any fees?

To be eligible to start working once you have graduated from a program, you must pay a $100 non-refundable fee to the Department of Health – for your application and license.

How much does the NPTE cost?

In the state of Washington, the National Physical Therapy Assistant Exam, also known as NPTE costs $370.

What to expect from the NPTE?

The exam consists of multiple-choice questions from topics like the skeletal and pulmonary systems.

What can I expect when taking the Jurisprudence Exam?

The exam consists of 16 questions and focuses on topics such as state rules and regulations and ethical concepts.

To pass, you must acquire a score of 70 or higher.

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