Scholarships & Online Resources for Physical Therapy Assistant Students

From scholarships and grants to helpful articles and online communities, find the support you need to succeed as a PTA student.

If you’re studying to become a physical therapy assistant, then you probably already know you will be entering a high-demand field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that work for this occupation will increase by 27% through 2028, much faster than the national average.

And while that’s great news for your career prospects, it never hurts to look for a little extra help getting there during your PTA degree program – whether it’s a scholarship to help pay your tuition, a professional mentor that can help you get the most out of clinicals, or something else entirely. This guide will connect you to the places that provide these and other valuable financial, academic and career support resources. Keep reading to learn more about scholarship opportunities and additional resources for PTA students just like you.

Scholarships and Grants for Physical Therapy Assistant Students

Scholarships and grants are the most lucrative and advantageous forms of financial aid you can get as a physical therapy assistant student. This is because they are free awards with no strings attached and are often renewable for multiple years. Most scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, professional or volunteer experience, and/or demonstrated financial need. They typically come from individual schools and programs, local business and nonprofits, or professional organizations that support or belong to the physical therapy field. Learn more about scholarship and grant opportunities for PTA students in the sections below.

School-based Scholarships for Physical Therapy Assistant Students

Even though scholarships are issued by a variety of different sources, most physical therapy assistant students receive the bulk of their funding from school-based awards. These tend to more focused and of higher monetary value. Scholarships from outside entities or private organizations usually come as one-time awards, but these scholarships may offer financial aid for the duration of your study.

Below we highlight quality examples of school-based scholarships for PTA students. Many other PTA programs offer similar awards. The best way to discover if your school offers scholarships specifically for PTA students is to contact your financial aid office or your program director. Application processes vary widely so pay attention to the details.

Physical Therapy Assistant Scholarship Spotlight: North Central State College

North Central State College offers annual and endowed scholarships to its physical therapy assistant students. It maintains over 50 awards and extends a single application form that qualified students can use to determine their eligibility once they have completed the FAFSA and received an admission notification. The school also maintains relationships with local businesses, nonprofit initiatives, and other organizations that offer their own scholarship awards to North Central State students. Additional financial aid opportunities include student loans and federal work-study placements. The school’s financial aid office also keeps a handy FAQ tool for learners seeking additional assistance.

Dr. George Searle Physical Therapy Assistant Scholarship

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Amount

Varies

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Deadline

3/1/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

Qualified applicants must be North Central State College students enrolled in the physical therapy assistant program with demonstrated need.

How to Apply

Students must first complete their FAFSA and then submit the school’s scholarship application form. Additional materials may also be required.

Physical Therapist Assistant Scholarship Spotlight: Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s Foundation awards several scholarships to students studying an allied health field, including physical therapy. In addition, the school provides academic and merit-based awards to qualified students and offers resources that connect applicants to outside opportunities in the area. It also offers useful information on federal and state-based grants available to physical therapy assistant students. Southwestern’s financial aid office maintains a useful glossary to help students through the financial aid process along with several guides specific to common student situations (transfers, out-of-state concerns, and common FAFSA mistakes).

Weatherford Regional Hospital Scholarship

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Amount

Varies

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Deadline

3/1/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Applicants must be enrolled students in good standing in Southwestern’s School of Nursing and Allied Health science. They must also have at least one year of study remaining. How to Apply: Qualified students must complete the FAFSA to determine need. They must also fill out the school’s in-house financial aid application.

National and Regional Physical Therapy Assistant Scholarships

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Organization

American Physical Therapy Association

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Amount

$500-$1,000

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Deadline

TBD (Annual)

Eligibility

Interested students must be enrolled in the final year of their physical therapy program. They must also be active APTA members with demonstrated need.

How to Apply

Qualified students must complete the application supplied by the APTA and provide additional material as needed.

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Organization

Arctic Physical Therapy

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Amount

$500

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Deadline

8/31/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

Applicants must be attending an accredited physical therapy program by January 2021. They must be residents of the U.S. or Canada with at least a 3.0 GPA.

How to Apply

Prospective recipients must complete the application form. They must also submit a 1000-word essay that discusses how physical therapy can make an impact on people’s lives.

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Organization

The Arc New York

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Amount

$3,000

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Deadline

1/11/21

Eligibility

This scholarship supports New York state residents studying physical or occupational therapy at an accredited college or university.

How to Apply

Applicants must complete the provided form and have it signed by their department chairperson. They must also provide at least one recommendation letter written by an academic instructor.

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Organization

Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions

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Amount

$1,000

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Deadline

7/1/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

Eligible students must be enrolled in an ASAHP-affiliated school with at least one completed term of study.

How to Apply

Applicants must first be nominated by their institution. They must also complete the required application, provide a current resume or CV, and submit an essay that discusses why they chose their health profession.

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Organization

Heritage Fund

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Amount

$1,000-$3,000

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Deadline

TBD (Annual)

Eligibility

This award is open to all graduating seniors from a local high school planning to study physical therapy at an accredited institution. Preference is given to those focusing on special education.

How to Apply

Qualified students must create an account with the Heritage Fund and complete the provided application form. Additional material may also be required.

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Organization

HIE Help Center

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Amount

$1,000

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Deadline

7/31/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

All applicants studying physical, occupational, or speech therapy at an accredited U.S. institution with a 3.0 GPA may apply.

How to Apply

Qualified students must complete the application form and supply official academic transcripts. They must also submit an essay or a creative project that indicates why they want to pursue work in their chosen field of study.

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Organization

Arizona State Society – Daughters of the American Revolution

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Amount

$1,000

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Deadline

2/1/21 (Annual)

Eligibility

This scholarship is designated for Arizona residents studying physical or occupational therapy at an accredited college or university.

How to Apply

Qualified applicants must first contact the organization chairperson. They must also complete the provided application form and submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

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Organization

Pacers Foundation

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Amount

$2,500

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Deadline

4/15/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

Eligible applicants must be enrolled in a physical therapy program in Indiana and have completed at least one full year of study. They must display outstanding character and maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher.

How to Apply

Prospective recipients must fill out the application form and upload recent academic transcripts. They must also provide a recommendation letter from a current professor and supply a written statement that details their professional goals.

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Organization

American Physical Therapy Association

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Amount

$3,000

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Deadline

TBD (Annual)

Eligibility

This award supports students enrolled in an APTA-accredited program within 12 months of graduation. It recognizes superior scholastic ability and professional potential.

How to Apply

Qualified applicants must be formally nominated by their program. Once nominated they must complete the application and provide the following: enrollment verification, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay.

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Organization

National Strength and Conditioning Association

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Amount

Varies

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Deadline

10/15/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

All applicants must be currently enrolled in a physical therapy program and plan to pursue a career in strength and conditioning.

How to Apply

All applicants must be currently enrolled in a physical therapy program and plan to pursue a career in strength and conditioning.

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Organization

Daughters of the American Revolution

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Amount

$2,000

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Deadline

TBD (Annual)

Eligibility

Interested applicants must be U.S. citizens currently enrolled in an accredited occupational or physical therapy program. They must also demonstrate clear financial need.

How to Apply

Qualified students must complete the online application process and submit required documentation. These materials include a 1000-word personal statement, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and citizenship verification.

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Organization

BrightLife Direct

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Amount

$1,000

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Deadline

7/10/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

This scholarship is set aside for U.S. citizens enrolled in a physical therapy assistant program accredited by the CAPTE or the ACOTE. Applicants must keep a 3.0 minimum GPA and have completed a full year of study.

How to Apply

Interested individuals must submit an application along with official transcript, a recent CV, at least one letter of recommendation, and a short essay. The essay should discuss the applicant’s intent in pursuing study and outline their career aims.

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Organization

Lamber Goodnow

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Amount

$1,000

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Deadline

12/1/20

Eligibility

This scholarship is open to all students currently enrolled or accepted in an accredited physical therapy program.

How to Apply

Applicants must provide biographical information, a recent CV, and official academic transcripts. They must also submit a 750-1000-word essay that looks at intent to study and motivations for professional success.

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Organization

PTA Guide

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Amount

$500

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Deadline

12/1/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

Eligible applicants must be studying physical therapy at an accredited institution in the U.S. during their year of application.

How to Apply

Application materials include a completed online form and at 1000-word essay. The essay must address how the applicant plans to use their talent and education to improve the world.

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Organization

Sharps Compliance, Inc.

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Amount

$2,500 – $20,000

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Deadline

5/31/20 (Annual)

Eligibility

This broad-based scholarship is open to all students currently enrolled in an accredited program pursuing healthcare-related studies.

How to Apply

The award comes in the form of an essay contest. Applicants must submit a polished written response to be evaluated by a panel of judges. Essay questions vary for each application cycle.

5 Keys to Winning PTA Scholarships

The application process will be very similar for most scholarships, but specific details, criteria, and requirements can vary quite a bit. Be sure to carefully follow all instructions. This is especially important if your application requires a written essay. Each selection committee will specify different prompts or questions, so be sure that your responses address what is asked of you as comprehensively as possible. Follow our additional advice below to ensure your applications’ success.

  • Key #1: Reach out to your references early
    Most scholarships will ask for at least one reference or letter of recommendation. Once you know the deadline contact your references several weeks early to make sure everything arrives on time.
  • Key #2: Lean on your professional connections
    Use networks you already have to your advantage. It is possible someone may know about scholarships that aren’t widely advertised. They may also be able to provide you with inside connections in some cases.
  • Key #3: Be punctual
    If there is an interview as a part of your application process make sure that you are on time. The same holds true of your application materials: submit them by the deadline if not before. This shows initiative and will help you put your best foot forward.
  • Key #4: Don’t copy and paste
    Resist the temptation to recycle the same written responses over and over. This can sound canned and impersonal. It is okay to reiterate similar points, but tailor your language to meet the specifics of each award. It pays to be as precise and detailed as possible.
  • Key #5: Stay positive
    You will probably apply for many, many scholarships. The majority of those awards will likely go to someone else. Don’t be discouraged when this happens. It is a part of the process and isn’t a reflection on you or your potential. It only takes one application to be successful!

If You Still Need Help Paying for Your PTA Program

What if you have received some financial aid but still need help covering the costs? Scholarship and grant opportunities like those listed above are the best and most affordable means of financing your education. But they may not cover everything. Scholarship and grant recipients who need to make up the difference often turn to student loans and other financial aid options like work-study placements or employee tuition waivers. Navigate to our guides on student loans and additional financial aid for more information.

Academic and Professional Support Resources for Physical Therapy Assistant Students

Completing your PTA education and advancing your career to meet the goals you’ve set for yourself can be challenging. School places demands on your time and finances, and navigating a competitive job market once you graduate may seem daunting. Fortunately, many academic and professional development resources are available to physical therapy assistant students. These tools come from a variety of places including academic programs, websites, discussion forums, podcasts, and professional organizations. This section details some of the best academic and career resources for PTA students that can help you make the most of your time in college.

PTA Student Support Centers and Services

Reaching out to the student support center at your university or within its physical therapy department is one of the most effective ways to get help during school. Most colleges and universities will have some form of student support and the resources they provide are often tailored to meet the specific demands of your program. Whether you’re a new student or you’re on the verge of graduation, support centers can connect you with the resources you need, from tutoring services and internship placement to professional mentorship opportunities. Let’s take a closer look at two universities that are providing top-tier support services for their students.

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute

PTA students at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute enjoy a range of support services that include career coaching, resume workshops, and live job postings. Students in the early stages of their program can access the school’s academic support center to find tutoring services, academic advising help, and study advice. Online students can use Caldwell’s distance learning office to learn more about successful online study. They can also navigate to virtual lobby dedicated for student services consultations, technological assistance, and general troubleshooting. The school also maintains a comprehensive list of additional tools, guides, and student support resources.

Arkansas Tech University

PTA students at Arkansas Tech University can take advantage of virtual career services and over 10 distinct student organizations. Its online campus support center offers assistance for technology-related issues and its student success center extends tutoring and academic workshop opportunities. Physical therapy assistant students at Arkansas Tech also have access to field-specific research and study guides. Maintained by the school’s library and technology center, these tools aggregate relevant eBooks, streaming videos, and other useful websites. They also contain prominent physical therapy journals and research databases as well as test preparation tools for those nearing graduation.

Resources for Online Physical Therapy Assistant Students

Online and hybrid learning are more popular than ever. As the availability of online programs increases, so does the number of resources for online students, including those pursuing certification as physical therapy assistants. These tools include study help, practice tests, lab simulations, and other guides designed to address the challenges of online learning. Here’s a look at five quality resources that can support your studies in an online or hybrid PTA program.

  • Physiopedia
    Physiopedia is home to a comprehensive knowledge database focusing on physical therapy and evidence-based practice. Students can use the robust search function to located relevant materials and access online learning resources created by industry experts. The site also extends an intuitive app for learning on the go.
  • The PT Student
    Specifically designed with online physical therapy students in mind, this site offers short, 20-minute learning modules on a variety of topics specific to the field. It also extends resources for test-taking, school or job interviews, and common therapeutic modalities.
  • Transitioning to Online Learning
    EduMed’s guide to distance education offers actionable advice and resources for healthcare and physical therapy students looking to complete their studies online. It looks at logistical concerns as well as assistive technology and popular learning management systems.
  • Pocket Prep Physical Therapy Assistant Study App
    How does hands-on training work when a student takes an online nursing program? This page walks you through the process, offers advice on finding the right placement, and takes the mystery out of handling hands-on work while being an online student.
  • Study Stack Physical Therapy Flashcards
    This site offers downloadable, user-generated flashcard for physical therapy students. Recent additions cover the gait cycle, capsular patterns, wound dressings, and joint classification. Students can learn the flashcards in a traditional manner or opt for one of the site’s interactive gaming environments.

Student Organizations and Professional Associations

  • American Physical Therapy Association
    With roots dating all the way back to 1921, this organization represents over 100,000 physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. It promotes the field through advocacy, professional development, and the advancement of patient-centered care.
  • Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
    This nationally-recognized agency establishes quality assurance standards and oversees the accreditation process for physical therapy education. It publishes a number of research articles and offers program selection guides to prospective students.
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association
    Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this association supports strength and conditioning and other endeavors related to sports science. It aggregates evidence-based research and offers continuing education programs, careers services initiatives, and professional networking opportunities.
  • The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
    The FSBPT is comprised of representatives from state licensures boards across the country. It provides vital information on the licensure process and the national physical therapy exam required of all local professionals. It also extends a range of free study resources to new students and recent graduates.
  • World Confederation for Physical Therapy
    Founded in 1951, this international organization supports over 625,000 physical therapists worldwide. It gathers recent news specific to the field and hosts an annual congress were professionals gather to present their research findings.

Online Communities, Networking Sites, and Social Media

  • Physical Therapy Assistants Facebook Page
    Facebook maintains an active physical therapy assistant page with over 15,000 followers. New and experienced professionals gather to share their experiences, provide resources, and raise awareness surrounding the occupation.
  • Subreddit for PTA Students
    The physical therapy assistant forum on Reddit is a great place for students and recent graduates to find useful professional development tools. Some users share their experiences studying the national certification exam and offer advice on how to master it. Others come seeking answers to questions pertaining to their day-to-day work lives.
  • Physical Therapist Assistant Network on LinkedIn
    LinkedIn’s professional network offers physical therapy assistant a platform to connect with one another. The forum also welcomes employers and recruiters who often advertise new job openings for job-seekers and other professionals
  • #PhysicalTherapyAssistant on Instagram
    If you’re an active Instagram user check out the #PhysicalTherapyAssistant hashtag. With over 25,000 recent posts, this #PhysicalTherapyAssistant unlocks a number of crowdsourced tools and resources. Physical therapy assistants post their job progress, offer tips, and share useful infographics.
  • Indeed’s Healthcare Community
    Indeed is best known as a site for employers and new job-seekers. It also maintains an active healthcare discussion board that includes information specific to physical therapy. Recent posts include advice on balancing school and life, successful completing clinicals, and landing a fulfilling job following graduation.

Articles, Videos, Books and Podcasts

  • APTA Podcasts
    Sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association, these podcasts focus on best practices in the discipline and offer useful advice to both newcomers and experienced professionals. Recent episodes look at marketing and self-promotion, outpatient procedures, and telehealth concerns.
  • Physiotherapy Evidence Database
    This open-source resource is home to over 47,000 different reviews, trials, and clinical practice guides pertaining to physical therapy. It offers a robust search function along with several tutorials to help users navigate the platform.
  • PT Think Tank
    Maintained by experienced professionals and scholars, this site offers critical observations on physical therapy and healthcare technology. It also keeps a strategic partnership with MedBridge, an innovative patient education and learning management system for physical therapy practice.
  • Physical Therapy Assistant O*NET Page
    O*Net Online provides career exploration and job analysis tools to students and new professionals. Its physical therapy assistant page details a number of technology and applied skills specific to the profession. It also looks at required knowledge bases and describes common occupational tasks.
  • Physical Therapy 101 YouTube Channel
    With nearly 17,000 subscribers, this YouTube channel is a one-stop shop for physical therapy assistants looking for demonstrations of exercise technique. Videos are posted on a regular basis and look at pain relief strategies and range of motion activities.