Physical Therapist Assistants Career

physical-therapist-assistanPhysical therapist assistants help patients improve bodily movement and manage pain after recovering from a serious illness or injury. Common duties of physical therapy assistants include observing patients and providing instructions after treatment has ended. Physical therapy assistants also perform stretching and massage techniques and help patients perform specific exercises.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapy assistants are supervised by physical therapists. These professionals usually work at a doctor’s office or hospital. The education requirement for physical therapy assistants is typically an associate’s degree from a community college or technical school.

Physical Therapist Assistants Snapshot

Physical therapist assistants work in a face-paced and physically-demanding environment. These assistants spend most of the day on their feet. The work schedule for physical therapy assistants might include nights, weekends, and overtime.

Further details on a career as a physical therapy assistant are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average salary for physical therapy assistants.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have an Associate’s degree.

Physical Therapist Assistants Education

The educational requirement for physical therapist assistants in an associate’s degree from an accredited program by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. License and certification requirements include passing the National Physical Therapy Exam for physical assistants. Medical professionals might also be required to take continuing education courses.

Physical Therapist Assistants Job Duties

Physical therapist assistants observe, monitor, and record the progress of patients. These medical professionals carry out treatment plans under the direction of a physical therapist. Physical therapist assistants use exercise, massage, and balance training to help patients improve movement.

Physical Therapist Assistants Salaries

According to the Labor of Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapist assistants earn a competitive salary. The average income for this profession was about $55, 170 as shown from May 2015 statistics from the The top 10 percent earned $76, 940 and the lowest 10 percent earned $32,640 in 2015. Physical therapist assistants earn the highest salary working at skilled nursing facilities.

Physical Therapist Assistants Job Outlook

The career outlook for physical therapist assistants is promising compared to other job markets. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is expected to grow 41 percent from 2014 to 2024. The demand for physical therapist assistants is also expected to increase due to the aging population. Older patients often need physical therapy to maintain mobility and manage pain. Physical rehabilitation is required for patients recovering from strokes and heart attacks.

Physical Therapist Assistants Skills & Traits

Physical Therapist Assistant Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Physical Therapist Assistants:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Monitoring
• Social Perceptiveness
• Speaking
• Service Orientation
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Speech Clarity
• Written Comprehension
• Lower extremity prosthetic devices
• Patient care beds
• Patient lifts or accessories
• Therapeutic balls
• Walkers
• Caring for others
• Recording information
• Getting information
• Communicating with others
• Performing general physical activities

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