WHAT DO PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANTS DO?
Physical therapist assistants work under licensed physical therapists (PTs) to help people with physical injuries or illnesses of to regain range of movement and control their pain. Under the PT's direction, PT assistants help people who have lost motor function due to accidents, illness or age.
Physical therapist assistants follow plans created by PTs that involve stretching, strength training, exercises and physical manipulation to help people recover. PT assistants will track progress and report to the physical therapist. In addition, PT assistants are in charge of the treatment area, making sure that it is clean, neat, and ready for each patient.
HOW MUCH DO PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANTS MAKE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median income for PT assistants in 2010 was $18.13 an hour, or $37,710 an hour.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Many states require that physical therapy assistants have at least an associate's degree in physical therapy from an accredited program. These programs are broken into practical and classroom sessions.
Licensure is required by most states.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Compassion: People come to physical therapy in pain, and will have concerns and doubts about their recovery. Physical therapist assistants are people that want to help those in pain.
- Attention to Detail: Physical therapist assistants need to observe a patient's issues, and accurately report observations to their supervising physical therapist.
- Dexterity: PT assistants use hands to move a patient's body and provide therapeutic exercise.
- Interpersonal Skills: Physical therapist assistants will be working one-on-one with patients every day. They need to like working with people in close situations, be a good communicator and listener.
- Stamina: Physical therapist assistants may have to lift clients, and spend much of their time on their feet. Strength and stamina are needed to do the job.
CAREER PATHS FOR PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANTS
THE FUTURE OF PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANTS
The future is bright! Physical therapist assistant jobs are expected to grow by 45% between 2010 and 2020, far exceeding the average job growth.