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What You Need to Know About Physical Therapist Assistant

Job Description: Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.

List of Physical Therapist Assistant Job Duties

  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.
  • Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.
  • Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.
  • Monitor operation of equipment and record use of equipment and administration of treatment.
  • Clean work area and check and store equipment after treatment.
  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.

Physical Therapist Assistant Required Skills

These are the skills Physical Therapist Assistants say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Types of Physical Therapist Assistant

  • Per Diem Physical Therapist Assistant (Per Diem PTA)
  • Physical Therapy Technician (Physical Therapy Tech)
  • Rehabilitation Aide
  • Physical Therapist Assistant and Nurse Aide
  • Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA)

Physical Therapist Assistant Job Outlook

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 88,300 jobs in the United States for Physical Therapist Assistant. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 31.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 27,500 new jobs for Physical Therapist Assistant by 2026. The BLS estimates 14,700 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Physical Therapist Assistants in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Physical Therapist Assistant are Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Kansas, or District of Columbia. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for a Physical Therapist Assistant

The salary for Physical Therapist Assistants ranges between about $33,780 and $79,810 a year.

Salary Ranges for Physical Therapist Assistants

Physical Therapist Assistants who work in Texas, New Jersey, or Connecticut, make the highest salaries.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $57,410
Alaska $58,950
Arizona $47,050
Arkansas $56,940
California $64,210
Colorado $55,370
Connecticut $65,810
Delaware $56,890
District of Columbia $40,920
Florida $61,650
Georgia $53,840
Hawaii $58,750
Idaho $49,410
Illinois $58,060
Indiana $55,730
Iowa $50,420
Kansas $55,190
Kentucky $54,060
Louisiana $48,300
Maine $52,370
Maryland $54,150
Massachusetts $64,180
Michigan $54,010
Minnesota $53,830
Mississippi $48,130
Missouri $53,150
Montana $46,130
Nebraska $47,240
Nevada $61,000
New Hampshire $58,970
New Jersey $68,000
New Mexico $46,650
New York $52,720
North Carolina $60,190
North Dakota $49,880
Ohio $58,740
Oklahoma $59,950
Oregon $61,990
Pennsylvania $54,100
Rhode Island $63,630
South Carolina $56,880
South Dakota $42,910
Tennessee $56,830
Texas $69,890
Utah $52,830
Vermont $54,610
Virginia $60,110
Washington $58,210
West Virginia $49,830
Wisconsin $52,310
Wyoming $56,520

Tools & Technologies Used by Physical Therapist Assistants

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Physical Therapist Assistants may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Spreadsheet software
  • FileMaker Pro
  • Scheduling software
  • Medical condition coding software
  • Billing software
  • Accounting software
  • Bookkeeping software
  • dBASE
  • Laboratory information system LIS
  • SpectraSoft AppointmentsPRO
  • Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite
  • Client caseload management software

How do I Become a Physical Therapist Assistant?

Individuals working as a Physical Therapist Assistant have obtained the following education levels:

Physical Therapist Assistant Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Physical Therapist Assistant Work Experience

Where Physical Therapist Assistants Are Employed

Physical Therapist Assistant Sectors

Physical Therapist Assistants work in the following industries:

Physical Therapist Assistant Industries

You May Also Be Interested In…

Are you already one of the many Physical Therapist Assistant in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: Ryan Conroy via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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