Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) Schools in Florida

There are nearly 30 accredited physical therapy assistant schools in Florida that award diplomas. Most of the programs involve 70-80 credit hours, which take about two years to complete.

In addition to satisfying the education requirements, a prospective PTA must complete clinical rotations and obtain a state license. No professional work experience or on-the-job training, other than that obtained while attending school, is necessary to qualify for an entry-level position.

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Florida Board of Physical Therapy

This agency is made up of seven members whom the governor appoints and the Florida Senate confirms. Five of the members are licensed physical therapists who practice in the state and have at least four years of experience. One member may be a full-time instructor in a physical therapy program at a Florida postsecondary school. The other two members are state residents who have never held licenses in the field.

This board ensures that PTAs meet minimum requirements in terms of education, training, safety, and other considerations. It licenses, monitors, disciplines, educates, and rehabilitates practitioners.

Minimum Education Requirements for Physical Therapy Assistant Programs in Florida

To become a physical therapy assistant in the Sunshine State, the first requirement is a high school diploma or GED. The next step is to enroll in an accredited education program that has earned the approval of the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Other schools do not offer the curriculum and training necessary to qualify their graduates for Florida licensure.

Most PTA associate of science degree programs involve classes, labs, and clinical experiences. There are generally certain core courses, as well as a wide range of electives. For instance, students may pursue their personal areas of interest by taking classes in cold and hot therapies, electrical stimulation, massage therapy, and orthotic devices. Programs also usually feature about 16 weeks (500-600 hours) of clinical rotations in hospitals, nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers.

Many students pursue specialties in certain clinical fields that align with their personal interests and career goals. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) certifies physical therapist specialists in seven areas, including aquatic, pediatric, cardiovascular, and neuromuscular therapy.

To qualify for certification, applicants must belong to the APTA, have five years of on-the-job experience, and earn a specified number of continuing education credits that varies according to specialty. In addition, they need to present letters of reference and show proof of contributions to the profession.

Physical Therapy Assistant Certification & Licensing Requirements in Florida

To practice in the state, a professional in this field must obtain a license. This entails successful completion of the National Physical Therapy Exam. The CAPTE, as well as a Candidate Handbook, help prepare students for the test.

There are fees for applying for the exam online, and for taking it at one of a number of sites across the state. The test’s 200 questions cover physical therapy data collections, interventions, safety and protections, therapeutic modalities, and diseases and conditions that affect treatment. A score of at least 600 on a scale of 200-800 is necessary.

Students also must pass the Florida Jurisprudence Exam, which pertains to the state’s laws, statutes, and administrative codes. Every two years, a practicing PTA is required to earn 24 hours of continuing education as a requirement for license renewal.

Source: Florida Board of Physical Therapy

Our Top Physical Therapy Assistant School Picks in Florida

We selected the schools below based on the programs that they offer, accreditation, student population, graduation rate and reputation.

View our Ranking Methodology to learn more about how we rank schools.

Best Physical Therapy Assistant Schools
Graduation Rate

96%

Student Population

342

Students at this Miami school complete 76 credit hours (1,785 clock hours) of study.The curriculum covers English, mathematics, psychology, anatomy, physiology, medical and healthcare terminology, kinesiology, therapeutic procedures, pathophysiology, therapeutic exercises, and rehabilitation. Students also must get 12 credit hours (600 clock hours) in clinical experiences.To win acceptance into the program, an applicant must score at the 11.0 level in mathematics, language, and reading on the TABE test. Additional requirements include a writing sample, personal oral interview, three letters of recommendation, and proof of having spent 20 observation hours in a physical therapy setting.

  • 3990 W Flagler St., Ste 103, Miami, Florida 33134
  • sabercollege.edu

18. Concorde Career Institute-Miramar

Graduation Rate

67%

Student Population

528

This institution offers PTA programs in several states. Its Florida locations are the campuses in Miramar and Jacksonville.Full-time students can complete the program requirements in as little as 20 months. The curriculum emphasizes therapeutic exercises, functional training, mobility training, ambulation training, and activities of daily living.

Among the courses are those covering anatomy and physiology, English composition, communication, psychology, human growth and development, math, patient care skills, physical therapy modalities, pathology, and rehabilitation for various conditions. The instruction takes place in classrooms, labs, and clinical settings.

  • 10933 Marks Way, Miramar, Florida 33025
  • concorde.edu/campus/miramar-florida

17. Florida Gateway College

Graduation Rate

51%

Student Population

3292

Located in Lake City, FGC touts its picturesque campus and small classes. The PTA program features a three-semester curriculum, with six weeks of clinical experience in the spring and eight more weeks in the summer.

The school notes that it has a “competitive, selective” admissions process with strict requirements. Students must complete prerequisite classes in Freshman Composition, College Algebra or Math for Liberal Arts, Medical Terminology, Essentials of Physics, and Anatomy and Physiology.

  • Highway 90 East, Lake City, Florida 32025-2007
  • fgc.edu

16. Gulf Coast State College

Graduation Rate

44%

Student Population

5379

This Panama City school boasts “one of the lowest tuition rates in the state.” More than 90 percent of its PTA graduates find employment in the field within six months.The 74-credit-hour program begins with general education classes in English, humanities, math, natural sciences, and social sciences.Students then proceed to the following “major courses”: Medical Terminology; Introduction to Physical Therapy; Applied Anatomy; Basic Skills in Patient Care; Functional Human Motion; Assessment, Measurement, and Documentation; Therapeutic Exercise; Therapeutic Interventions in Medical/Surgical, Orthopedic, and Neurological Disabilities; and Modalities. There are also labs, seminars, and clinical rotations.

  • 5230 West U.S. Highway 98, Panama City, Florida 32401
  • fnu.edu

15. Florida National University-Main Campus

Graduation Rate

60%

Student Population

4169

The 78-credit-hour PTA program in Hialeah can be completed in less than two years. General education classes include English Composition, Oral Communication, Humanities, Biomedical Ethics, Behavioral and Social Science, General Psychology, Math, College Algebra, Computers, Information Technology, and College Study Skills.

Core courses are Anatomy and Physiology; Medical Terminology; Introduction to Physical Therapy; Physics for Allied Health Professions; Therapeutic Communication; Applied Functional Anatomy & Kinesiology; Assessment, Measurement and Documentation; Basic Patient Care; Therapeutic Modalities and Physical Agents; Pathology; Therapeutic Exercise; Neuromuscular Conditions and Rehabilitation; Orthopedic Conditions and Rehabilitation; Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy and Other Systems; and Promotion of Health and Wellness.

  • 4425 West. Jose Regueiro (20th) Avenue, Hialeah, Florida 33012
  • fnu.edu

14. College of Central Florida

Graduation Rate

37%

Student Population

7151

This public state school offers its PTA associate of science degree program on campuses in Marion, Citrus, and Levy counties. The 74-credit-hour curriculum takes about two years to finish.

General education courses are Freshman Composition Skills, General Psychology, Medical Terminology, Personal Wellness Appraisal and Improvement, Human Growth and Development, Anatomy and Physiology, Elementary Statistics, and a humanities class.

Core courses are Introduction to Physical Therapy, Documentation, Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology, Data Collection Skills, Therapeutic Modalities, Therapeutic Procedures, Survey of Pathological Deficits, and Rehabilitation Procedures.

Students also attend lab sessions and take part in three clinical rotations.

  • 3001 SW College Rd, Ocala, Florida 34474
  • cf.edu

13. Pensacola State College

Graduation Rate

29%

Student Population

9655

Students here attend classes and get clinical experience for four semesters to complete the 74-credit-hour program.

Prerequisite courses are Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, English Composition, Concepts of Life Fitness, and College Algebra. They are followed by the following first-term classes: Human Growth and Development, Ethics, Introduction to Physical Therapy, Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology, and Basic Skills in Patient Care.

During the second and third terms, the coursework includes: Information and Internet Research, Therapeutic Modalities, Neuromuscular and Musculoskeletal Therapeutic Techniques, and Pathological Conditions. Fourth-term classes are Trends and Issues in PTA, Pathological Conditions, and Psychosocial Issues.

  • 1000 College Blvd, Pensacola, Florida 32504-8998
  • pensacolastate.edu

12. Polk State College

Graduation Rate

27%

Student Population

10659

This school offers a two-year, 74-credit-hour program on its Winter Haven campus. There are some evening classes, and students perform clinical rotations inside and outside the community.

Prerequisite classes are College Composition, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and General Psychology. Prospective students also must show verification of having completed 50 hours as a volunteer, observer, or employee in at least three physical therapy facilities. They also need certification in CPR and AIDS training.

The curriculum begins with general education classes in math, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The rest of the curriculum consists of standard courses related to physical therapy.

  • 999 Avenue H NE, Winter Haven, Florida 33881-4299
  • polk.edu

11. State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota

Graduation Rate

38%

Student Population

10886

The 74-credit-hour program here starts with general academic classes covering anatomy and physiology, human development, written and speech communication, math, psychology, and humanities.

The final 48 credit hours feature the following courses: Introduction to PT and Patient Care, Applied Anatomy and Kinesiology, Disabilities and PT Procedures, and Trends in PT. Students also take part in three clinical experiences to gain practical experience.

  • 5840 26th St W, Bradenton, Florida 34207
  • scf.edu

10. Daytona State College

Graduation Rate

37%

Student Population

13970

Located in Daytona Beach, this school offers a PTA program that begins each spring. Applicants must have 20 hours of experience as a volunteer, observer, or worker at two clinical sites.

Twenty credits of required general education courses cover composition, communication, math, college algebra, natural sciences (anatomy and physiology), humanities, and social sciences.

PTA classes include Kinesiology, Patient Care Skills, Pathology, Neuroscience, Rehabilitation Skills, Modalities, and Therapeutic Exercise. Students also have labs in most of these subjects. They also perform three clinical practicums and attend a seminar.

  • 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, Florida 32114
  • DaytonaState.edu

9. Indian River State College

Graduation Rate

39%

Student Population

17598

This school in Fort Pierce won the 2019 Aspen Prize for “excellence in equitable outcomes for students during and after college.”

The PTA program requires incoming students to have volunteered or worked for 20 hours in a clinic. The curriculum starts with general education classes in English Composition, Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, Introduction to Physics, Intermediate Algebra, and Introduction to Psychology.

Students then attend lectures and labs in Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology, Principles of Practice, Foundations of Therapeutic Exercise, Musculoskeletal PT, Neuromuscular PT, and Cardiopulmonary and Systemic PT. There are clinical experiences, as well.

  • 3209 Virginia Ave, Fort Pierce, Florida 34981-5596
  • irsc.edu

8. Seminole State College of Florida

Graduation Rate

41%

Student Population

17550

This school has campuses in the Orlando metropolitan area. The PTA program is highly selective, accepting only one-quarter to one-third of applicants. Classes are limited to 30 students. The graduation rate is about 90 percent.

The five-semester, 74-credit-hour program starts in the summer with classes in biology (with a lab), college algebra, English, psychology or sociology, and humanities.

Second-semester courses include General Biology, Introduction to PT, Functional Kinesiology (with a lab), Basic Patient Care (with a lab), and Anatomy and Physiology. The final three terms cover therapeutic modalities and other topics, and provide clinical experiences.

  • 100 Weldon Blvd, Sanford, Florida 32773-6199
  • seminolestate.edu

7. Eastern Florida State College

Graduation Rate

47%

Student Population

15769

Located in Cocoa, on the Space Coast, EFSC offers a six-term PTA program that begins each fall. Prerequisites include certification in CPR and AIDS training.

Students take 15 credit hours in these general education classes: Composition I, Intermediate Algebra, General Psychology, Fundamentals of Speech, and a humanities requirement.

“Major courses” and labs, totaling 42 credit hours, cover anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, therapeutic exercise, pathology, rehabilitation procedures, therapeutic modalities, and orthopedic and neurological disabilities and treatment.

Students must complete at least three six-week clinical practicums in which they work 40 hours per week.

  • 1519 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, Florida 32922
  • easternflorida.edu

6. Florida State College at Jacksonville

Graduation Rate

38%

Student Population

21092

The PTA program here emphasizes kinesiology, patient care, therapeutic exercise, and trends in physical therapy. Student graduation and employment rates have been near 100 percent in recent years.

The 74-credit-hour curriculum blends coursework with labs, as well as clinical experiences at area facilities. Applicants must complete 16 credit hours of prerequisite classes in math and humanities.

The program begins with general education coursework in math, humanities, anatomy and physiology, physics (with a lab), human growth and development, English composition, and psychology.

“Professional” classes include Pathological Conditions, Physical Agents and Mechanical Modalities, Musculoskeletal PT, Neuromuscular PT, and Cardiopulmonary and Integumentary PT.

  • 501 W State St, Jacksonville, Florida 32202
  • fscj.edu

5. Santa Fe College

Graduation Rate

57%

Student Population

14588

The campus of this Gainesville school features a planetarium, a teaching zoo, and underground caves. The PTA program involves six semesters of study, including prerequisite classes. Applicants must have at least 10 hours of observation experience at a physical therapy facility.

Among the courses are Anatomy and Physiology, College Composition, College Algebra, Medical Terminology, Physics, Biomed Ethics or General Ethics, Behavioral Science, PTA Principles and Procedures, Kinesiology / Anatomy Musculoskeletal Disorders, Principles of Disease, Modalities, Neurological Disorders, and Therapeutic Exercise.

Students earn additional credits in labs and clinical experiences.

  • 3000 Northwest 83rd Street, Gainesville, Florida 32606-6210
  • sfcollege.edu

4. St Petersburg College

Graduation Rate

32%

Student Population

29548

The 74-credit-hour program here covers diseases, therapy methods, laws and ethics, industry standards, and safety regulations.
The school advises students to take as many general education and support classes as possible before entering the program. The core courses are Functional Anatomy and Kinesiology, Introduction to Patient Care, PT Principles and Procedures, Orthopedic Disabilities and Treatments, Neurological Disabilities and Treatments, Therapy Exercise, and Trends in PT. The curriculum includes labs and clinical practices.
The A.S. degree transfers to a B.A.S. degree in health services administration. SPC also offers health continuing education through its Workforce Institute.

  • 6021 142nd Ave N, Clearwater, Florida 33760-2822
  • spcollege.edu

3. Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

Graduation Rate

65%

Student Population

18335

PTA programs are available on this school’s campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Melbourne, Miami, Sarasota, and West Palm Beach.

Prerequisites include general education courses, anatomy and physiology classes, and 10 hours of observation at a skilled nursing facility and PT outpatient clinic.

Major courses in the 74-credit-hour curriculum are Introduction to PTA, Kinesiology, Functional Modalities, Therapeutic Exercise I and II, Patient Care Procedures, Tests and Measurements, Medical Diseases, and Rehabilitation. Students also must complete two clinical practices.

  • 1500 NW 49th St., Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309
  • keiseruniversity.edu

2. Broward College

Graduation Rate

31%

Student Population

40754

The two-year program at this Fort Lauderdale school employs instructors who are licensed PTs or PTAs. The graduate employment rate has been 100 percent in recent years.

Students must complete 74 credit hours. In addition to learning about a number of therapeutic procedures, they take the following core courses: Anatomy (with a lab), Introduction to PT (with a lab), Pathological Deficits, Musculoskeletal Deficits, Basic Pharmacology, Applied Kinesiology (with a lab),, and Neurological Deficits. The program also features three clinical experiences.

  • 111 East Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
  • broward.edu

1. Miami Dade College

Graduation Rate

35%

Student Population

56001

Our top school bills itself as “a pioneer in the field,” having graduated the nation’s first PTAs in 1969.

The 74-credit-hour program, which includes clinical practices at PT facilities within the county, takes at least two years to complete. Courses cover neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, service learning, and wound care. Online classes are available for general education requirements and some program-specific coursework.

Students use the Blackboard learning management system, are able to view and listen to recorded lectures at any time, and have access to hundreds of videos. Faculty members have more than a quarter-century of PT teaching and clinical experience.

  • 300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, Florida 33132-2204
  • mdc.edu
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Physical Therapy Assistant Programs in Florida

These schools offer associate of science degrees in PTA. The required coursework, labs, and clinical practices generally take about two years to complete.

The programs typically cover basic subjects such as anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and therapeutic procedures. In most cases, students are expected to satisfy prerequisite general education requirements like English composition, math, science, and humanities. Some schools mandate that applicants have a certain number of hours of experience volunteering, working, or observing in a PT facility.

Students take part in at least one, sometimes as many as three, rotations at real-world clinics under the supervision of licensed practitioners to gain practical experience.

Physical Therapy Assistant Career Outlook & Salary in Florida

Hourly Wage

$30

Annual Wage

$62,000

Growth Trend

36%

Florida practitioners in this field enjoy higher earnings than their peers in most other states. The median pay is about $62,000 annually (or nearly $30 per hour), compared with about $57,500 (more than $27.50 hourly) nationwide. The top 10 percent have a salary of about $80,800 or an hourly wage of nearly $39 in Florida, better than the national average of more than $79,000 or $38.

The number of PTA positions in the state will expand from 5,320 to 7,220 between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That would be a job-growth rate of 36 percent, faster than the 31 percent that the agency projects nationally.

The highest number of positions are in the metropolitan areas of Jacksonville, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerOneStop

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