How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Wisconsin

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Did you know Wisconsin has a high demand for Physical Therapist Assistants PTAs and offers higher-than-average pay?

Physical therapists often turn to the help of an assistant to help with hands-on stretching or massage, monitoring patient status, and providing patient education about home care.

The best part is that it only takes approximately two years of study before Physical Therapist Assistants can start working under a physical therapist in a hospital, school, rehab or outpatient facility, or private practice.

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How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant Wisconsin – Step-by-Step

Wisconsin requires Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) to complete specific education and clinical training and to pass state and national exams.

Follow these steps to become a physical therapist assistant in Wisconsin:

Complete an Accredited Education Program

PTAs in Wisconsin must graduate from a Board-approved program consisting of a technical diploma or associate degree and clinical training.

Apply for a Wisconsin PTA License

Apply for a Wisconsin PTA license by doing the following:

  • Fill out an application form on the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services website.
  • Pay the required fees, currently $165
  • Provide proof of education by requesting your transcripts sent to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.
  • Undergo a criminal background check, and you may need to provide a photograph or fingerprints or undergo a physical and show proof of vaccinations.
  • Submit the NPTE form administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy FSBPT. Include the National Physical Therapy Examination NPTE form fee, currently $47.50. Register for the exam through the FSBPT website.

Once you submit all required documents and fees, the Wisconsin Board of Physical Therapy will review your application, notify you of their decision, and issue your Wisconsin PTA license.

Pass State and National Exams

Once the PTA license application is approved, those wanting to work as a physical therapist assistant in Wisconsin must take and pass both the open-book Wisconsin Jurisprudence Statutes and Administrative Code Exam and the National Physical Therapy Exam, NPTE.

The NPTE is a computer-based exam administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy FSBPT at designated examination locations.

The exam covers a comprehensive examination to assess your knowledge and skills in physical therapy and patient management.

Register for the NPTE by visiting the FSBPT website and completing the registration process.

The online Open-Book Jurisprudence Examination focuses on the Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Code applicable to physical therapy practice in Wisconsin.

You must complete the exam within 90 days of submitting your application.

Renew License Every Two Years

All physical therapy assistants in Wisconsin must renew their license every two years by paying a $75 renewal fee and submitting a signature attesting to completing 20 hours of board-approved continuing education classes.

Four of these hours must be in ethics and jurisprudence.

Physical Therapist Assistant Schools in Wisconsin

The first step to gaining employment as a PTS in Wisconsin is completing an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science AAS or a trade school equivalent.

The top schools in Wisconsin include the following:

Gateway Technical CollegeGateway Technical College

Come to Kenosha to attain a 65 credit hour, two-year Associate of Applied Science AAS degree in physical therapist assisting.

Expect to pay approximately $10,622, not including the extra $4,819 for books.

Classes include lectures, labs, and more than 500 hours of hands-on experience.

Milwaukee Area Technical College MATCMilwaukee Area Technical College MATC

Attend a school in downtown Milwaukee, where many physical therapist assistants work.

This school offers a two-year AAS degree in physical therapy assisting (PTA), requiring students to petition for admission.

It also requires 75% or more on the HP-A2 pre-qualifying exam and a B- or higher in BIOSCI-177 or BIOSCI-201 and 202.

Expect to pay about $11,000 for the degree.

Blackhawk Technical SchoolBlackhawk Technical School

This Jaynesville school offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree after completing five semesters, or 69 credit hours.

Expect a total cost of about $11,157 plus $2,500 for books, supplies, and national examination costs.

Bryant & Stratton CollegeBryant & Stratton College

Earn your two-year PTA degree from the campus in Wauwatosa.

The base tuition rate for the PTA program is $9,450, and the per credit amount is $630.

Chippewa Valley Technical CollegeChippewa Valley Technical College

Come to Eau Claire to earn your PTA Associate degree.

Eau Claire offers a lot of employment opportunities for PTAs.

The two-year program requires completing 61 credit hours.

Wisconsin residents pay about $8,919 plus fees and books.

Herzing UniversityHerzing University

Study at this four-year institution in Brookfield, near Milwaukee, where many PTAs find employment.

Expect to pay about $14,200 for in-state students for a two-year degree.

Additionally, look to pay for a background check, PTA uniform, e-books and resources, an initial licensure application fee, the national exam fee, and mock exam fees in preparation for the exam.

Madison Area Technical CollegeMadison Area Technical College

Study in Madison to earn your two-year degree in their PTA program.

Expect to pay approximately $11,074.30 for Wisconsin residents to complete the 64-credit hours.

Admission to the program requires students to first petition for a spot.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical CollegeNortheast Wisconsin Technical College

Come to Green Bay to earn your PTA Associate Degree.

Green Bay PTAs receive an average higher pay than anywhere else in the state.

The program takes about two years to complete and costs approximately $12,389.55 in tuition for residents.

Expect to pay an extra $1,236.20 for books and $300 for supplies.

Southwest Wisconsin Technical CollegeSouthwest Wisconsin Technical College

Earn your two-year PTA degree with a General Anatomy and Physiology pre-requisite.

Complete 64 credit hours at a cost of about $9,350 for residents and much more for a full-time, non-resident living on campus in Fennimore.

Expect additional funds to cover physical, uniforms, travel, testing, and licensure.

Western Technical CollegeWestern Technical College

Pursue the PTA program in LaCrosse.

Earn this two-year degree for $6,954 for full-time Wisconsin resident students.

Non-residents pay an additional $94.45 per credit for an Associate of Science degree.

Top 10 Schools in Wisconsin

School NameAddress
Milwaukee Area Technical College MATC 700 W State St, Milwaukee, WI 53233, United States
Gateway Technical College1001 S, Main St, Racine, WI 53403, United States
Blackhawk Technical School6004 S County Rd G, Janesville, WI 53546, United States
Bryant & Stratton College110 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14203, United States
Chippewa Valley Technical College2320 Alpine Rd, Eau Claire, WI 54703, United States
Herzing University275 W Wisconsin Ave Ste. 210, Milwaukee, WI 53203, United States
Madison Area Technical College 1701 Wright St, Madison, WI 53704, United States
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College2740 W Mason St, Green Bay, WI 54307, United States
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore, WI 53809, United States
Western Technical College400 7th St N, La Crosse, WI 54601, United States


Salaries tend to have a range of factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of the end of 2023, physical therapist assistants in America averaged a salary of $63,701, with a range falling between $57,501 and $70,201.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Physical Therapist Assistants in Wisconsin

City NameSalary
Green Bay$61,101
Eau Claire$61,001
West Allis$59,201
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Wisconsin

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Appleton, WI90$58,250$28$72,900$32,720
Eau Claire, WI80$56,150$27$64,940$47,830
Fond du Lac, WI30$62,030$29.82$72,740$47,850
Green Bay, WI100$60,340$29.01$68,720$49,480
Janesville-Beloit, WI30$58,600$28.18$72,070$48,010
La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN50$58,760$28.25$69,520$48,360
Madison, WI240$56,720$27.27$72,710$37,090
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI440$61,890$29.76$74,860$48,840
Racine, WI80$53,940$25.93$72,660$35,050
* 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

How long does it take to get the necessary education to become a physical therapist assistant in Wisconsin?

Start working as a PTA in Wisconsin after completing a two-year AAS degree in PTA and passing the required exams.

Is Wisconsin a good state for physical therapy assistants?

Wisconsin has more PTA schools than most states, a higher-than-average salary possibility, and the chance of landing a job.

How Many Physical Therapy Assistants are there in Wisconsin?

Currently, 1,840 physical therapy assistants work in Wisconsin, with plenty of open job opportunities.

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