If you want a career in physical therapy, you should consider becoming a physical therapist assistant. The job title might downplay its importance in the field of physical therapy but the truth is, physical therapist assistants play a vital role in a physical therapist’s practice. Physical therapist assistants perform tasks to assist the physical therapist. In addition, they contribute to the comfort level of the patient. If you are still hesitant about becoming a physical therapist, you can start with this job first.
The Work Of A Physical Therapist Assistant
The workload of a physical therapists assistant is not too demanding. Often, he will take the menial tasks that a physical therapist do not have time. The physical therapist assistant will work under the supervision of the physical therapist and is not allowed to work independently. The physical therapist assistant will assist patients in performing physical exercises or applying hot and cold packs. They can perform ultrasounds tests and massage treatments too. In addition, the physical therapist assistant keeps track of the progress of the patients and performs clerical tasks like booking appointments and answering phone calls. The tasks may be a lot but these are not hard at all.
Do You Need To Be Educated?
As a physical therapist assistant, you have to be educated and trained. You have to earn an associate degree, which will take just two years to finish. Associate degrees are offered in colleges, universities and online schools. There are states that offer physical therapist assistant training in vocational colleges. Take note, you should only get training from an accredited school. The curriculum of the program should have classroom lectures and clinical work.
What Else Do You Need?
After you get your degree, you have to pass the national licensing exam to get your license and become a certified physical therapist assistant. Once you get your certificate, you can seek employment already. Another extra requirement for a physical therapist assistant is upper body strength. As you have read above, you will be assisting patients to perform physical exercises. Most of these patients are temporarily disabled or injured. Thus, you will need a lot of strength to help them up and assist them in moving around.
A physical therapist assistant has the freedom to choose where to work. You can find work in a nursing home, fitness center, rehabilitation center, school or a doctor’s clinic. Your work as a physical therapist assistant may not weigh as much as that of a physical therapist but know that you are vital in his practices.