Job outlook for physical therapist assistants

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MinhYên in Oakland, California

65 months ago

Hello everyone,
I'm taking prerequisites for the Respiratory Therapy at Ohlone college in Fremont, CA. It turns out the prerequisites are also those of the Physical Therapist Assistant plus one more class. I talked to my counselor, and she said that my chance to be admitted into these programs is very high. Compared to respiratory therapy, PTA seems more interesting to me. However, I don't know what the job opportunity for PTA is like, especially in this recession. I need to know before I get in this program. I don't want to end up being unemployed after 2 years of serious studying and volunteering. I hope you guys can give me some information. Thank you very much!

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MinhYên in Oakland, California

65 months ago

Anyone please?

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kyrasmith in Portland, Oregon

65 months ago

Check out this link from the Bureau of Labor Stats page...
www.bls.gov/oco/ocos167.htm

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Mark RCP in Texas

65 months ago

AsktheCareerLady in East Bay, California said: The Bureau of Labor Stats site is pretty much the best resource you’re going to find on labor market information. I would check it out.

I would also do an Indeed.com job search for Respiratory and Physical Therapy jobs to see how many are available, who the employers are, and what qualifications they are looking for. Keep in mind that by the time you finish the program things may be looking up.

The one sure way of increasing your chances of employment after graduation is to start volunteering now in a couple of different organizations, even if only giving a small time commitment per month. For example, volunteer at a major hospital or healthcare provider (such as Kaiser) and at a small specialist office for respiratory or physical therapy. This will provide you with experience, contacts, references, and diversify your background. Also make sure your school provides some kind of internship.

--
Megan Pittsley
Career Advisor
Web: www.meganpittsley.com
Column: www.examiner.com/x-14933-SF-Job-Search-Examiner
Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/meganpittsley

Go with PTA, I am RT, and unemployed. I live in rural area,with no RT needs. I call travel recruiters,and there are tons of PT positions. PTA can be your stepping stone to PT.If I could go to school I would, but its hard,in this rural,boring area.I wouldnt rely on stats of needs for any field,it changes all the time.

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AsktheCareerLady in East Bay, California

65 months ago

Guide

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a huge government agency which studies labor market information and offers in-depth reports, Mark. It’s a lot more than just “stats”.

As I stated before, it’s also wise to look at the needs within your local job market before training for a career (such as seeking ads in your area on Indeed) – career planning and research is important. If you jump into a program without doing industry and market research you may end up unemployed like Mark here.

__
Megan Pittsley
Career Advisor
[Contact information has been removed by a forum moderator]

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MinhYên in Oakland, California

65 months ago

Thank you, guys, for your valuable information!

Ms. Pittsley, I understand what you explain about volunteering, and I realize the need of it too. However, like you say, do I really have to volunteer in different organizations?

I don't have a problem with volunteering. Before, I volunteered in a local animal shelter. I stayed giving my help there until I had to move to a further area with my family. I picked up another animal shelter, and I have been volunteering there since then. When I realize that I want to work in healthcare, I have thought about volunteering at a hospital. I didn't know which area I want to work to help people. Now I know that I want to be a member in Physical Therapy field. Hence, I will start working on it. There is a Kaiser hospital in Hayward. I think I can volunteer there and certainly keep working in the current animal shelter.

Sorry for my prolix words. My point is I tend to stick with one place and never think about moving around unless I absolutely have to. Since I came to this country six years ago, I have only been a student in two community colleges. I don't often jump from one place to another if I have a choice.

Can you please tell me what is the benefit of working in different organizations? Is there any disadvantage if I stay working in one hospital or an office or a clinic for life, presumably that the place is not closed and I'm not laid off?

This is an aspect about Americans that I don't understand. I can see that lots of Americans have very good careers in some company. After a few years, they go to a different one, then another one. It's like moving to a new house or apartment. My uncle told me that most Americans never stay in a same place for the rest of their lives even though the rent is inexpensive.

I'm sorry for digressing this topic, but I'm curious of Americans' adventurous attitude, especially in career. I hope you can give me some insights. Thank you very much!

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AsktheCareerLady in East Bay, California

65 months ago

Guide

MinhYên,

While volunteering for an animal shelter is great (I’m a big animal welfare supporter too!), it doesn’t satisfy your need to gain experience in your industry or environment, and therefore isn’t going to help your career progression that significantly.

I didn’t mean “hopping around” necessarily. Long-term volunteering in 2 different environments with smaller weekly/monthly time commitments was more what I meant.

That will allow you to:

1.) Diversify your experience – for example, get hands-on experience in two different types of work environments that PTs may be used. Thus, exploring which you enjoy most, and making yourself a more well-rounded candidate with a deeper understanding of your field.

2.) Expand your network further – You’ll build more contacts and more references – thus, have a larger group of people to obtain employment referrals through upon graduation.

Hope this helps!

--
Megan Pittsley
Career Advisor
[Contact information has been removed by a forum moderator]

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Mark RCP in Texas

65 months ago

AsktheCareerLady in East Bay, California said: The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a huge government agency which studies labor market information and offers in-depth reports, Mark. It’s a lot more than just “stats”.

As I stated before, it’s also wise to look at the needs within your local job market before training for a career (such as seeking ads in your area on Indeed) – career planning and research is important. If you jump into a program without doing industry and market research you may end up unemployed like Mark here.

__
Megan Pittsley
Career Advisor
Web: www.meganpittsley.com
Column: www.examiner.com/x-14933-SF-Job-Search-Examiner
Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/meganpittsley

Just to clarify,Megan. I have been an RT for 10yrs, I just didnt jump into a career or program yesterday. I was on a travel assignment,when I met my now, fiance. I living in a very rural area, with no choices for RT's. I have to make the hard decision to leave her, for awhile to work.Untill now, I have never had a problem, finding or having recruiters seek me out. I have more skill and experience, than most RRT's.The postings on here are only a small list of possible openings, but better to call the individual hospitals or check their websites. And yes, the "stats" do not always give the truth. I have been in healthcare , for 20yrs. I should , know a thing or two. So anyone ,out there, wondering what field to choose, talk to others in that field,volunteer or shadow them, dont just rely on one person's advice.

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STAN in Diberville, Mississippi

64 months ago

AsktheCareerLady in East Bay, California said: The Bureau of Labor Stats site is pretty much the best resource you’re going to find on labor market information. I would check it out.

I would also do an Indeed.com job search for Respiratory and Physical Therapy jobs to see how many are available, who the employers are, and what qualifications they are looking for. Keep in mind that by the time you finish the program things may be looking up.

The one sure way of increasing your chances of employment after graduation is to start volunteering now in a couple of different organizations, even if only giving a small time commitment per month. For example, volunteer at a major hospital or healthcare provider (such as Kaiser) and at a small specialist office for respiratory or physical therapy. This will provide you with experience, contacts, references, and diversify your background. Also make sure your school provides some kind of internship.

--
Megan Pittsley
Career Advisor
Web: www.meganpittsley.com
Column: www.examiner.com/x-14933-SF-Job-Search-Examiner
Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/meganpittsley

Thanks Megan for your input you gave the other guy. Im an RN with my BSN but looking for a career change. And i have found that in PTA school. This is def. my area where as Nursing was not. Looking at the BLS website. was helpful. I hope it is close to what is the Avg for PTA's in my area. Thanks again, Stan

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MinhYên in Oakland, California

64 months ago

STAN in Diberville, Mississippi said: Thanks Megan for your input you gave the other guy. Im an RN with my BSN but looking for a career change. And i have found that in PTA school. This is def. my area where as Nursing was not. Looking at the BLS website. was helpful. I hope it is close to what is the Avg for PTA's in my area. Thanks again, Stan

Wow, you have a bachelor degree in nursing. It's a pity that you don't want to work as a nurse any more. If I didn't know about PTA or Respiratory Therapy, I would go for nursing. It's not easy to be an ADN nurse. I guess BSN is even more challenging. I hope you won't quit. With your degree, becoming a Physical Therapist is better, I think. Anyway, good luck with what you are doing.

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Stan in Gulfport, Mississippi

64 months ago

Hey Minh Yen, I know what you mean about the nursing thing. I look back and glad i recieved that education in nursing, but i really really did'nt enjoy the work. I dont regret going for it though. It was 4 hard years in my BSN program. However, Being a Massage Therapist for 10 years and teaching Kinesiology also has led me to PTA. I thought about PT but guess im scared to commit that much money and hard studing. Thats why the PTA program. Another (minor) reason is people in nursing dont seem to be happy people. PT's and PTA's seem to love there work and enjoy helping others. Good luck with your choice of career and remember.....Enjoy what you do....the money will come and you will be a happier person for it.....

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Anatomy Fanatic

64 months ago

Stan in Gulfport, Mississippi said: Hey Minh Yen, I know what you mean about the nursing thing. I look back and glad i recieved that education in nursing, but i really really did'nt enjoy the work. I dont regret going for it though. It was 4 hard years in my BSN program. However, Being a Massage Therapist for 10 years and teaching Kinesiology also has led me to PTA. I thought about PT but guess im scared to commit that much money and hard studing. Thats why the PTA program. Another (minor) reason is people in nursing dont seem to be happy people. PT's and PTA's seem to love there work and enjoy helping others. Good luck with your choice of career and remember.....Enjoy what you do....the money will come and you will be a happier person for it.....

Hi Stan,

I am considering the PTA program here at my school. I am also considering Surgical Technlogy and Medical Laboratory Technician LOL. I have some decision making to do. I am a single mother so I am trying to take working schedules into consideration but I also need to make sure I can sustain myself and son. I need help trying to narrow things down.
Anyone else with helpful info is welcome to respond. THANKS!!!

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JoAnnePTA in DeKalb, Illinois

64 months ago

Hi Minh Yen!! I've been a PTA for over 17 years and have never been out of work. I get calls, flyers, etc as there are not enough of us. Recently, trying to advance my career, I have moved into the position "Director of Rehab" in a skilled nursing facility. I have worked in various settings (out-patient, home health, hospital, and now skilled nursing facility). I think Physical Therapy is a great career for someone who has a passion for it. Unfortunately, I do come across some people who just do it for the money. Is the money good? Yes. It's amazing what a person can make on a 2-year degree. I know this various from place to place, so I can't speak for your area.

Anyway, I find my job very fulfilling and challenging. I enjoy everyday. I do love working with my elderly patients! I learn something new everyday!!

I will add, with the possibility of healthcare reform in our future, I'm not sure what that will hold (another reason I tried advancing my career). I have also considered returning to school for a bachelor's degree. If I had to do it all over again, I would have gone for the PT degree right from high school. I didn't have the right support system in place at that time and who knew that a career I chose by chance would choose me. We just follow the path that life leads us to and hope we make the right choices.

Good luck!!

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DavePTA in Pooler, Georgia

63 months ago

I think JoAnne is right on target. I've been a PTA for 5 years in Georgia, and the job market stays hot...for those that are excited about working in this field. There are plenty of second rate PTA's (or RN's, RT's, and MD's for that matter) that just go to work and come home and complain about their job and brag about their checks. But then again there are those that are commited to the profession and the advancement of the healthcare path they've chosen. You just have to do your research and decide what you think is a good fit for you. No matter what you choose, don't be that person who looks back in 20 years wishing they'd chosen different (no disrespect intended to any posters).
Currently, I'm in charge of education coordination for our facility over all PT/PTA/OT/COTA, and on average we bring in 30 students a year to a staff of about 25. The opportunities are endless, just like JoAnne said, to those that are pursuing excellence. I'm more intersted in advancing the PTA career field than I am about wishing I'd pursued PT. Actually, I would have rather been a PA. :)

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LaneStudent in RT in Overland Park, Kansas

28 months ago

This is an aspect about Americans that I don't understand. I can see that lots of Americans have very good careers in some company. After a few years, they go to a different one, then another one. It's like moving to a new house or apartment . My uncle told me that most Americans never stay in a same place for the rest of their lives even though the rent is inexpensive.

I'm sorry for digressing this topic, but I'm curious of Americans' adventurous attitude, especially in career. I hope you can give me some insights. Thank you very much![

I think if you stayed at one place your whole life go ahead if that's what makes you happy. Me, personally, not because I'm American because that has nothing to do with it, I just like to get out of my "comfort zone", if you have the ability to move around and see the world that's AWESOME! Why? Because why not travel around and find a place best fit for you and your likings? I live in Kansas now and VERY motivated to get out! I will first hit up California, then Colorado, it's not just adventure, it's enlightenment, fulfillment. I live in an illegal state to smoke pot, so if I believe pot should be legal, I will move to California to make life better. Simple.

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FuturePTA PT? in Pleasanton, California

27 months ago

LaneStudent in RT in Overland Park, Kansas said: This is an aspect about Americans that I don't understand. I can see that lots of Americans have very good careers in some company. After a few years, they go to a different one, then another one. It's like moving to a new house or apartment . My uncle told me that most Americans never stay in a same place for the rest of their lives even though the rent is inexpensive.

I'm sorry for digressing this topic, but I'm curious of Americans' adventurous attitude, especially in career. I hope you can give me some insights. Thank you very much![

I think if you stayed at one place your whole life go ahead if that's what makes you happy. Me, personally, not because I'm American because that has nothing to do with it, I just like to get out of my "comfort zone", if you have the ability to move around and see the world that's AWESOME! Why? Because why not travel around and find a place best fit for you and your likings? I live in Kansas now and VERY motivated to get out! I will first hit up California, then Colorado, it's not just adventure, it's enlightenment, fulfillment. I live in an illegal state to smoke pot, so if I believe pot should be legal , I will move to California to make life better. Simple.

HA! your uncle obviously has never lived in america, or else he would know the cost of living is sky high in most parts of the country. I really hope you don't plan on working a minimum wage job and moving to California, because if you do, you'll end up homeless. Heck, even if you are making more than double minimum wage you barely scrape by. The only places you'll be able to afford if you are not making at least $16+ an hour are in dangerous areas where you could get raped or robbed walking out your front door.

(continued below)

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FuturePTA PT? in Pleasanton, California

27 months ago

Your uncle is also wrong in another aspect, most Americans don't switch jobs all that often. Understand this, employers are very stingy and will try to pay you the least amount of money they can. People who are fresh out of college will take any job they can get and end up getting paid less than they should in the beginning, so eventually they get tired of being ripped off and look for a job that gives them they money they should be earning. Most people don't want to go from job to job but in our terrible economy, sometimes people get laid off and that's there only option. Also, if someone finds a higher paying job that's more convenient for them, who says they shouldn't go for it even if they didn't have their last job for very long?

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FuturePTA PT? in Pleasanton, California

27 months ago

Since the cost of living in America is very high, people have to go for the best option, which usually ends up being the highest paying job. Also, if you think pot is legal in California you are sadly mistaken. That is only if you have a medical card to smoke it and you better be really good at sneaking in fake pee to drug tests because nearly every employer in California has you take one for employment. Don't even get me started on taxes! California is known for it's crazy high taxes. California has taxes on everything where as some places only have taxes on a few things. Inexpensive, yeah, that's good joke, your uncle is a really good comedian.

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FuturePTA PT? in Pleasanton, California

27 months ago

Kansas is one of the cheaper states but I am still shocked that you don't realize how high the cost of living is in the U.S. is yet (you must not be paying rent and living with someone else, huh?)unless you came from a wealthier part of Europe or Canada, where the cost of living is higher than the U.S.

I can tell already you are going to have a very hard time in California just based on your post and it's misconceptions.

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darlin777 in Bayside, New York

27 months ago

This is something that all future PT's/PTA's should know. I have been a PTA in New York for 15 years and up to 7 years ago the demand was high. I worked at a SNF making over $40 an hour with full benefits after 12 years at the same place.
Unfortunately the rehab field is changing due to staffing agencies that are outsourcing us in the US. An agency took over the SNF that I worked for and started laying off people one by one. These agencies sponsor therapists from the Philippines and India and replace the local therapists. They save the owner money by reducing hours, making therapists per-diem and cutting any benefits. The PTA that replaced me is making $26 and no benefits. The PT's working for these agencies are lucky if they make $35 with no benefits. The agencies are charging the owner what used to be paid directly to the PT/PTA and keep the difference.
The APTA is doing NOTHING to protect the profession. I am looking at going back to school for Nursing since I cannot find a PTA job in NY that offers medical benefits and I have been looking for months. This not only my experience but the experience of many other people in my field that I know. It really is a sad reality.

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Lane future pta in Overland Park, Kansas

27 months ago

FuturePTA PT? in Pleasanton, California said: Kansas is one of the cheaper states but I am still shocked that you don't realize how high the cost of living is in the U.S. is yet (you must not be paying rent and living with someone else, huh?)unless you came from a wealthier part of Europe or Canada, where the cost of living is higher than the U.S.

I can tell already you are going to have a very hard time in California just based on your post and it's misconceptions.

Well, inexpensive was the wrong word to describe rent, I do pay rent and barely make it by, but if you're working as a physical therapist assistant I think you can live comfortably if you're good with your money. Sorry for my earlier comment, reading it now makes me wonder.. Ha ha. Anyways, thanks for your input. I don't plan for things to be easy, especially in California. What I'm saying is, if I can make it on my own on $9 an hour, I sure as hell can do it with $20 an hour. But enough about money, how are you guys liking your jobs as a physical therapist assistant? I'm more worried about whether I'm going to enjoy it or not.

My program starts in March, my goals is to get done and start living life! As for legalization in California and other states, yes I'm well aware of drug testing for a job, big deal? I don't know why people continue to give "stoners" the a stigma that we are stupid. I live in the middle of the bible belt where it is illegal, I don't think it's going to be a problem quitting for a month to get a job. Thanks for your concern.

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Joe in Lawrence, Kansas

26 months ago

Lane future pta in Overland Park, Kansas said: Well, inexpensive was the wrong word to describe rent, I do pay rent and barely make it by, but if you're working as a physical therapist assistant I think you can live comfortably if you're good with your money. Sorry for my earlier comment, reading it now makes me wonder.. Ha ha. Anyways, thanks for your input. I don't plan for things to be easy, especially in California. What I'm saying is, if I can make it on my own on $9 an hour, I sure as hell can do it with $20 an hour. But enough about money, how are you guys liking your jobs as a physical therapist assistant? I'm more worried about whether I'm going to enjoy it or not.

My program starts in March, my goals is to get done and start living life! As for legalization in California and other states, yes I'm well aware of drug testing for a job, big deal? I don't know why people continue to give "stoners" the a stigma that we are stupid. I live in the middle of the bible belt where it is illegal, I don't think it's going to be a problem quitting for a month to get a job. Thanks for your concern.

Just curious, where did you apply to for PTA? I am also wanting to get into a program.
Thanks

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Jedimindtricks in Agoura Hills, California

20 months ago

How much should a PTA's salary be if he/she worked in Beverly Hills Ca?

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