Do you really know what a physical therapist assistant does? People who want to work in the field of physical therapy start out as a physical therapist assistant because this is a stepping-stone to a career as a physical therapist. The duration of completing a degree is shorter and the job duties are less. The main role of a physical therapy assistant is to provide assistance and support to the physical therapist and patients.
Job Description Of Physical Therapy Assistant
- In The United States, there are 114,000 physical therapist assistants and this number will continue to increase in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual growth rate for this job is 45%. The average salary of a physical therapist assistant is $37,710 per year.
- In a clinic or medical facility, the PTA is supervised by the physical therapist. A physical therapist assistant does not have much autonomy yet. The physical therapist is the one who creates the treatment plan for each patient. There are various treatments and procedures needed to be done. The physical therapist assistant is the one who helps conducts this plan. He or she will keep track of the patient’s progress and will also help answer patient queries.
- The salary of a physical therapist assistant depends on the skill, experience and job location. For physical therapist assistants with 20 years of work experience, salary will range from $42,000 to $65,000. A fresh graduate can expect a starting salary of $30,000 to $40,000. In terms of job location, the home-health service area pays the most while next to it are nursing homes and hospitals. Virginia and Texas are known to pay the highest salary for physical therapist assistants while New York and Pennsylvania pays the lowest.
To become a physical therapist assistant, you should earn a degree from a recognized and accredited school. In the U.S., 233 accredited schools are offering physical therapist assistant degree programs. The degree takes 2 years to finish and will include some summer training. Subjects to be taken include psychology, physiology, anatomy, biology and chemistry. After earning the degree, the newly graduates can start looking for work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, private clinics and home-service facilities. There are patients who hire private physical therapist assistants to work in their homes.
The job of a PTA is not overly challenging but it is a good stepping-stone in furthering your career in physical therapy. It is a highly satisfying job and there is always a great feeling when you are able to use your skills to help make someone’s life better.