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Physical Therapist Assistants

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What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

Occupation 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.

Daily Life Of a Physical Therapist Assistant

  • Measure patients’ range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans.
  • Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices, such as crutches.
  • Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.
  • Monitor operation of equipment and record use of equipment and administration of treatment.

Things a Physical Therapist Assistant Should Know How to Do

Physical Therapist Assistants state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

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.

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

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Types of Physical Therapist Assistants

  • Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA)
  • Rehabilitation Assistant
  • Outpatient Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Physical Therapist Assistant and Nurse Aide
  • Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)

Physical Therapist Assistant Employment Estimates

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 88,300 jobs in the United States for Physical Therapist Assistants.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 31% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 27,400 new jobs for Physical Therapist Assistants by 2026. The BLS estimates 14,700 yearly job openings in this field per year.

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

The states with the most job growth for Physical Therapist Assistants are Texas, Florida, and Ohio.

Watch out if you plan on working in District of Columbia, Alaska, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Physical Therapist Assistant Salary

The average yearly salary of a Physical Therapist Assistant ranges between $33,780 and $79,810. A Physical Therapist Assistant median salary is $58,040.

Salary Ranges for Physical Therapist Assistants

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Texas

$69,890

New Jersey

$68,000

Connecticut

$65,810

California

$64,210

Massachusetts

$64,180

Rhode Island

$63,630

Oregon

$61,990

Florida

$61,650

Nevada

$61,000

North Carolina

$60,190

Virginia

$60,110

Oklahoma

$59,950

New Hampshire

$58,970

Alaska

$58,950

Hawaii

$58,750

Ohio

$58,740

Washington

$58,210

Illinois

$58,060

Alabama

$57,410

Arkansas

$56,940

Delaware

$56,890

South Carolina

$56,880

Tennessee

$56,830

Wyoming

$56,520

Indiana

$55,730

Colorado

$55,370

Kansas

$55,190

Vermont

$54,610

Maryland

$54,150

Pennsylvania

$54,100

Kentucky

$54,060

Michigan

$54,010

Georgia

$53,840

Minnesota

$53,830

Missouri

$53,150

Utah

$52,830

New York

$52,720

Maine

$52,370

Wisconsin

$52,310

Iowa

$50,420

North Dakota

$49,880

West Virginia

$49,830

Idaho

$49,410

Louisiana

$48,300

Mississippi

$48,130

Nebraska

$47,240

Arizona

$47,050

New Mexico

$46,650

Montana

$46,130

South Dakota

$42,910

District of Columbia

$40,920

What Tools & Technology do Physical Therapist Assistants Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Physical Therapist Assistants:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Access

Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant

Education needed to be a Physical Therapist Assistant:

Physical Therapist Assistant Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become Physical Therapist Assistant?

Physical Therapist Assistant Work Experience

Who Employs Physical Therapist Assistants?

Physical Therapist Assistant Sectors

Those who work as Physical Therapist Assistants sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

  • Opticians, Dispensing
  • Acute Care Nurses

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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