The purpose of the NPTE-PTA Exam is to ensure the physical therapist assistant possesses the ability to apply clinical practices in a manner that is consistent with best practices and gives patient care that is safe and effective.

When completing this computer-based exam, you are given 4 hours to answer 200 items.

Examinees with disabilities covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act may request special testing accommodations, as required.

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What are the topics covered on the exam?

The topics on this exam are broken down into two categories: body system and non-system. The body system items address the topics of physical therapy data collection, diseases/conditions that influence effective treatment, and interventions.

The body systems that are evaluated in the above areas include cardiovascular & pulmonary, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular & nervous, integumentary, metabolic & endocrine, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, lymphatic, and system interactions.

The non-system items are with regard to equipment, devices, & technologies, therapeutic modalities, safety & protection, professional responsibilities, and research & evidence-based practice.

The items for the cardiovascular & pulmonary systems will cover information such as tests related to these systems, nonpharmacological medical management, and the potential adverse effects on these systems for utilizing physical therapy on other systems of the body.

The items for the musculoskeletal system will cover information such as joint biomechanics, connective tissue diseases and conditions, and physical therapy rehabilitation.

The items for the neuromuscular & nervous systems will cover information such as movement analysis, pharmacological management, and motor control & learning, with regard to physical therapy.

The items for the integumentary system will cover information such as the anatomy and physiology of this system, with regard to tests, implementing plan of care for diseases, and physical therapy & health promotion.

The items for the metabolic & endocrine systems will cover information such as medical management via diagnostic imaging & surgical procedures, physical therapy of these systems, and adverse reactions.

The items for the gastrointestinal system will cover information such as utilizing medications for this system and knowing how to position the patient to prevent acid reflux.

The items for the genitourinary system will cover information such as nonpharmacological medical management with lab test values and physical therapy with pelvic floor retraining.

The items for the lymphatic system will cover information such as test outcome measures, conditions and plan of care, and physical therapy performance according to best practices.

The items for system interactions will cover information such as diseases that affect more than one body system, how co-morbidities impact the patient, and how various pain levels have a bearing on the patient.

The items for the equipment, devices, and technologies topic will cover information such as using walkers, wheelchairs & mechanical lifts, as well as utilizing prosthetic devices.

The items for the therapeutic modalities topic will cover information such as thermal modalities, iontophoresis, ultrasound modalities, and biofeedback.

The items for the safety & protection topic will cover information such as injury prevention, emergency preparedness, and infection control.

The personal responsibilities topic will cover information such as documentation standards, professional ethics, and health information technology.

The research & evidence-based practice topic will cover information such as research methodology, techniques of collecting data, and accessing evidence.

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How do I register for the exam?

Online. If this is not an option for you, registering via the phone is available. Payment via credit card is required.

What is the cost of taking this exam?

$400. This is expected to increase to $485 by 01/01/19. In addition, you must pay a test center fee of $70.

What are the testing dates and locations?

There are various centers located throughout the U.S., USVI, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Canada.

What should I do the day of the exam?

You are required to bring two forms of identification. One must include your name, signature, and photo. The other must have your name and signature. In addition to these forms of ID, at the testing center, your picture will be taken, and a digital image of your fingerprint will be taken.

The only items you are allowed to bring into the testing area are your IDs and key to the locker in which you’ve stored all other items you brought with you to the test center.

What happens after I take the exam?

You will receive access to your score report 10 days after taking the exam.

What is the minimum passing score?


What happens if I don’t pass the exam?

You are allowed to take this exam three times in a 12-month period.

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: September 27, 2022