Physical Therapist Assistant: Duties and Requirements

If you’re the kind of person who likes helping people in need, then a physical therapist assistant job is the one for you. This profession is currently a demanding career as more and more people suffer from physical problems each day. Read on to learn more about the duties and the requirements of a PTA.

Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapist Assistant

What They Do

Physical therapist assistants work directly under physical therapists, who also supervise them. They provide assistants and various services to the patients. Their main duties are implementing components of patient health, collecting treatment data related to the patient’s condition, and working side by side with the physical therapist to offer care and assistance whenever they need. Also, you should take time to consider whether you should choose to become an OTA or a PTA, as these two careers are very different from each other.

Physical therapist assistants can provide assistance for physical therapists in treating people of all ages, from infants to elderly people. They even treat injured, disabled patients or those with other health conditions that require treatment. Not only that, people who just want to have a healthy body also come to a physical therapist to prevent any problems that may occur in the future.

Become an OTA or a PTA
Become an OTA or a PTA

All PTA actions and services are the physical therapist’s responsibility. They are the one directly order and supervise the PTA. However, the PTA should also be extra careful and follow everything the PT says for maximum efficiency. It is a PT’s job to examine each patient and build an appropriate treatment plan for every patient. This will improve their moving ability, decrease pain, restore function, and prevent any problems and disabilities in the future.

Although they are just an assistant, PTAs play a large role in people’s lives. They are the ones who work directly alongside the PT, so they are just as important. People have been able to achieve fitness goals, build up their confidence and regain their independence, and do their daily activities once again. This career is closely related to occupational therapy assistant jobs, so if you wish to get one, it could be done as well.

Where They Work

Where They Work
Where They Work?

Most PTAs, about 72%, usually work in privately-owned physical therapy practices, hospitals, or even in schools, home health, and rehab units. The remaining 28% work part-time while pursuing their degree. This is an effective method to combine learning and gaining actual experience. 

How Much They Earn

Physical therapist assistants have an average income of $52,000. Keep in mind that salaries can vary depending on their position, the type of degree, years of experience, geographic location, as well as practice setting.

Education and Licensure

Education and Licensure
Education and Licensure

Graduating from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited physical therapist assistant education program is the first requirement to become a physical therapist assistant in the US. Additionally, you must also have to pass a national exam that is administered in the state you want to work. Finally, you can earn your very own licensure or certification, which you can use to practice your work. What’s more, you can even have the chance to get physical therapist jobs in the future.

The typical time that you need to finish your PTA program is two years, consisting of five semesters in total. The programs provide primary subjects such as physiology, anatomy, exercise physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, clinical pathology, neuroscience, communication, behavioral sciences, and ethics/values.

Conclusion

As you can see, becoming a physical therapist assistant isn’t hard at all. However, the actual practice and working alongside your physical therapist may be a real challenge to some people.