Physical Therapy Assistant


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.

View all Physical Therapy Assistant Programs
Related Job Titles

Certified Physical Therapist Assistant (CPTA), Home Health Physical Therapist Assistant, Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA), Outpatient Physical Therapist Assistant, Per Diem Physical Therapist Assistant (Per Diem PTA), Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), Physical Therapist Assistant and Nurse Aide, Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA), Physical Therapy Technician (Physical Therapy Tech), Staff Physical Therapy Assistant

Primary Tasks
  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities.
  • 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.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.
  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Measure patients' range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans.
  • Transport patients to and from treatment areas, lifting and transferring them according to positioning requirements.
  • Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.
  • Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.
  • Assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings.
Education Level
  • Associate's degree 100%
Wages
Median wages (2013) $25.65 hourly, $53,360 annual
Employment trends
  • Employment (2012) 71,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2012-2022) Much faster than average (22% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2012-2022) 45,100

 

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