Becoming a physical therapist assistant is a great career choice if you’re interested in helping people with physical problems. In fact, there are many things that make this a great career choice.
Physical therapy helps patients with a range of conditions from treating injuries from falls to helping people who have a condition called a stroke. Physical therapists develop a patient’s treatment plan and perform a range of treatments to help a patient recover from a physical problem.
As you start considering becoming a PTA and learn how to become a physical therapist assistant, you are likely excited at the prospect of becoming a physical therapist. The good news is, after you get through the excitement of the job, the actual work of being a physical therapist assistant is dynamic and provides new opportunities everyday. It will never become a job that you are not sure you even want to do anymore.
This is just one reason why being a physical therapist assistant is really a great choice of career. Let’s get into more of the reasons why you may want to become a physical therapist assistant.
Here’s Why to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant
PTAs work under the direction of a licensed physical therapist to care for patients with injuries, illnesses, and disabling conditions.
Working as a physical therapist assistant (PTA) can be a financially rewarding career choice. In 2012, PTAs working in the United States earned an average salary of $58,790 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . The top 10% made at least $72,720, while the bottom 10% earned less than $32,420.
The PTA career made it to ThePennyHoarder.com’s list of the top 10 High-Paying Careers That Only Require an Associate Degree.
Physical therapist assistants, also known as PTA’s, work in a variety of settings — from long-term care facilities to rehabilitation clinics, nursing facilities, with sports teams and at hospitals. The field is growing, and the need for more PTA’s cannot be overstated. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment opportunities will grow faster than average in all industries through 2022.
Physical therapist assistants help with patient exercise regimens by assisting in physical therapy treatment plans and instructing patients with exercises that build strength and increase mobility.
The best part about working as a PTA is learning something new every day — a different patient, a new environment, a different co-worker.
They often work directly with patients and clients, but they’re also required to keep records and help doctors develop treatment plans.
PTA Education Requirements
Becoming a PTA is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling professions and the good news about your education is that it will only take about 2 years to complete.
The associate’s degree in Applied Science in Physical Therapy (ASPT) is the minimum requirement for eligibility to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and become a licensed physical therapist assistant.
There are many schools in the US that offer this qualification, but not all schools are created equally. It is important to do your research before deciding on which school you want to attend because each school has its own curriculum, teaching methods and facilities.
Your classes will require an understanding of medical conditions, anatomy and physiology.
Physical therapist assistants are highly skilled professionals who work under the supervision of a physical therapist and they are compensated well. Because they help patients who are recovering from an injury or illness to regain their range of motion, strength, and balance – their compensation is very competitive with other healthcare professions.
Salaries for physical therapist assistants depend on many factors such as the location where they work and the type of employer. There is no single salary rate for physical therapists assistants since they can be employed by so many different types of employers. However, according to the BLS, the average annual income for a physical therapy assistant is around $58,790.
In addition to great pay come great opportunities. Physical therapist assistants are able to use their skills in a variety of settings, including:
- nursing homes
- home health care agencies
- private practices
- public schools
…and many more places. Physical therapist assistants also assist in the rehabilitation of patients with neurological disorders brought on by strokes or spinal cord injuries.
All in all, the physical therapy assistant position is a worthwhile position to pursue and is ranked as the #1 job in healthcare support by USNews. It is a caring profession that requires a high degree of compassion and empathy for patients, as well as a dedication to helping them recover from accidents and illness. PTA’s help make a major change in the quality of life for their patients, and for this reason it is a passion that should be explored.
The PTA job outlook is expected to be excellent through 2026. Statistically, the demand for physical therapy assistants will continue to grow and with it, so will the need for qualified professionals. As a physical therapy assistant, you will be in demand, and with the proper training and certification, your career can be very rewarding.