Physical Therapy Assistant Job Description
Physical therapy assistants are in-demand professionals that provide direct care to individuals recovering from illnesses or injuries. Working under the direction of licensed physical therapists, these specialized aides use their abilities to assist patients regain movement and reduce pain.
Job duties for a PTA vary based on the injury, condition and physical therapist they are working with. Generally speaking, PTAs spend much of their day observing patients’ progress and taking notes to share with the therapist.
They may also assist patients in moving and balancing. Therapists use techniques such as heat or cold therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and traction to increase a patient’s range of motion and promote healing.
A physical therapist assistant typically holds an associate’s degree from an accredited program that lasts two years and includes classroom study as well as clinical experience. Upon graduation from these programs, you are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapist assistants is expected to surge by 40% between 2014 and 2024. This rapid rise is primarily driven by an aging population and increasing demands in healthcare services.
As a PTA, you have the opportunity to work in hospitals, clinics and private practices. You may specialize in certain areas of rehabilitation like sports injuries or surgery recovery. Furthermore, PTAs may find employment through home health care services, long-term care facilities and other settings where patients require rehabilitation services.