Physical therapy assistants, sometimes called PTAs, are medical professions that work with a physical therapist as an assistant to their practice. They help the physical therapist with treatments and various types of procedures as needed.

Physical therapy assistants have many job duties that they are required to perform. The main job of a physical therapy assistant is to assist and motivate patients while helping them to correctly perform physical therapy exercises. They observe patients during treatment and chart their progress. These results are then given to the physical therapist. They discuss and evaluate patient prognosis with the physical therapy staff. They walk patients to and from treatment stations, including lifting or positioning patients as needed. They may assist in heat or cold therapy, therapeutic massage, aquatic therapy, sound therapy and more. They advise caregivers or family members about treatment plans and at home exercises. They fit patients for orthotics or prostheses such as casts, boots and crutches. They measure each patient’s range of motion and chart their progression. They record the patient’s vital signs and record what treatments have been used and the effects of each treatment in the patient’s medical chart.

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary:

The current physical therapy assistant salary is around $51,000 a year. The amount of the physical therapy assistant wage will depend on the amount of experience you have, the type of patients you work with, the location you work in and even the education that you have received. All of these factors will decide what your physical therapy assistant pay rate will be. The type of place that you get hired on by is also important. Certain companies have higher needs for physical therapy assistants and this will reflect in the salary that they offer you. The top five facilities to work in are management companies, employment services, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, home health care services, and management and technical consulting services. If you find a job working for a management company as a physical therapy assistant, the salary offered averages about $57,000 a year. Employment services jobs and jobs in a substance abuse or mental health facility offer a physical therapy assistant income of $58,000 per year. Working in home health care services will net you $60,000 per year for your physical therapy assistant salary. The top physical therapy assistant salary can be found working in management and technical consulting services. Jobs in this sector pay an average of $76,000 per year.

Physical Therapy Assistant Education:

In order to become a physical therapy assistant, you will need at least an associate degree from an accredited physical therapy program. There are two hundred and eighty accredited programs to choose from. These programs will include both classroom learning and practical learning in a clinic environment. The training and education to become a physical therapy assistant will take about two years to complete. Courses will include physical therapy topics, pathophysiology, basic health care techniques, documentation, kinesiology, therapeutic modalities and exercises, rehab topics and much more. Most states require a licensing test upon graduation. Check with your state for requirements.

Physical Therapy Assistant Work Environment:

The work environment for a physical therapy assistant can vary depending on the type of place that you work. However, the environment typically is medical in nature and will include both an office setting and a treatment area. The environment is typically well lit, temperature controlled and nicely maintained. The majority of the work schedule will be done while standing. PTAs move around a lot and help position patients so they must be able to bend and stretch comfortably as a part of their job. The majority of physical therapy assistants work a forty hour full time schedule. Some may work weekend and night hours due to working in hospitals and twenty four hour clinics. A small number of PTAs will work part time hours. PTAs also need to work well in a team environment and have good team skills. Communication skills are also needed in order to properly care for patients.

Physical therapy careers can be an exciting way to make a living. You will be part of one of the fastest growing occupations out there. You also will be able to be proud of the job you do each day as you will be helping people to help themselves. Physical therapy assistants also are in demand at the moment. Currently, there are more than 67,000 medical professionals employed as physical therapy assistants. In addition to this, there is a staggering forty six percent expected increase in jobs within eight years. By 2020, that means that there will be an additional 31,000 physical therapy assistant jobs added to the jobs that are already available. This makes deciding on this career a great move for you and the future of your family for many years to come.

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