What does a Physical Therapist Assistant do?
Physical Therapist Assistants work under the guidance of certified Physical Therapists to provide supportive patient care to people recovering from illnesses and injuries. They talk to the Physical Therapist about each patient’s condition and what treatments they will assist with during their session. They are responsible for staging the treatment area with the appropriate exercise equipment and adaptive tools for each session, sanitizing the area, removing potential hazards and making sure there is enough space to complete the treatment.
They also perform administrative tasks like scheduling appointments, updating patient records and providing family members or caregivers with information and resources.
Physical Therapist Assistant skills and qualifications
PTAs need certain skills and qualifications to succeed, including:
- Physical strength and stamina
- Ability to lift patients and help them move
- Ability to read and execute detailed instructions
- Good interpersonal skills
- Excellent verbal and written communication
- Compassion and empathy
- Good attention to detail
- Solid knowledge of anatomy
- Knowledge of PT stretches and exercises
Physical Therapist Assistant salary expectations
A Physical Therapist Assistant makes an average of $22.78 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.
Physical Therapist Assistant education and training requirements
PTAs need at least an associate degree in physical therapy education from an accredited institution. These programs last two years and include a mix of classroom instruction and clinical training. Clinical training involves working under close supervision of a Physical Therapist with real patients. After earning an associate degree, PTAs are required to earn a license or certification, which involves passing the National Physical Therapy Exam for Physical Therapist Assistants. Most employers also require PTAs to have first aid/CPR certifications. Clinics that work with specific types of patients often provide on-the-job training as well.
Physical Therapist Assistant experience requirements
Entry-level PTAs usually don’t need experience since they get training during their programs. For employers who need a Physical Therapist Assistant to work with a specific set of clients, some related experience is necessary. Senior PTAs should have at least five years of experience.
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