A physical therapy assistant is an individual who operates within a rehab setting and works only under the supervision of the licensed physical therapist for a PT. Physical therapy assistants are trained to assist patients with their therapeutic exercises. These exercises include range of motion exercises, balance and stretching exercises, as well as weight training routines.
Many physical therapy assistants are also certified and educated to perform therapeutic massage as well as ultrasound or electrical stimulation treatments. Under the direct supervision of a physical therapist. Most physical therapy assistants (PTA) provide patient education and offer information on adaptive equipment. Basically, this means that physical therapy assistants instruct patients as to how to correctly use crutches, walkers, and canes. Physical therapy assistants are an important part of the physical therapy team because they provide patients with motivation and hope for recovery.
Physical therapy assistants are also required to maintain patient documentation and record. Records obtained through physical therapy include patient progress, or regression, as well as additional physical development reports that be maintained by physical therapist at his or her assistant.
The field of physical therapy, and the demand for physical therapy assistants, is expected to increase dramatically over the next ten years. In fact, this career path is among the top ten growing careers through year 2012. For this reason, many schools and secondary education facilities are offering physical therapy assistant programs as a part of their general curriculum.
In order to become a physical therapy assistant, and individual is required to successfully complete high school and obtain a diploma or GED and then continue on to obtain an associates degree from any one of many accredited community or junior colleges, four year universities, or vocational programs.
The education program to become a physical therapy assistant includes general educations courses (i.e. math, science, and English) as well as a host of classes concentrating on the field of physical therapy and the duties of the physical therapy assistant. In addition to the classroom setting, physical therapy assistant students are also required to complete a series of hands-on clinical requirements. Also, upon successful completion of an accredited physical therapy assistant program, graduates are required to successfully complete a state licensing examination. This exam ensures licensing through the American Physical Therapy Association.
In order to ensure that you were education program of choice is an accredited program, it is wise to ensure were. But the program has been approved by The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, or CAPTE.
Upon obtaining licensing, a physical therapy assistant, to secure a position will continue their education by undergoing on-the-job training performed by their supervisory physical therapist. Each physical therapist requires different specialties and specifications from their physical therapy assistants. Therefore, it’s vital that each physical therapist, has his or her own training program for incoming employees.
Because the growth outlook for this career field is so prominent, salary outlooks and the potential for advancement are very promising. According to the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary range for a physical therapy assistantrange from $24,000 in the first few years of practice to around $52,000 after an individual’s practice has been well established.