Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) assist the physical therapist in implementing treatment programs, training patients in exercises and activities of daily living, conducting treatments, and reporting to the physical therapist on the patient’s responses.
Physical Therapist Assistants’ work may occur in a hospital, in a school system, in an orthopedic or sports rehabilitation clinic, in the patient’s home through a home health agency, or in a hospital that specializes in rehabilitating patients after serious injury or disease.
The hours and days that physical therapist assistants work vary, depending on the facility and whether they are full or part-time employees.
Employment of physical therapist assistants and aides is projected to grow 41 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services is expected to increase in response to the healthcare needs of an older population and growing rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Physical therapist assistants must complete a 2-year education program, typically offered through a community or junior college. Candidates receive an associate degree upon graduation. The course of study includes usually one year of general education and one year of technical courses on physical therapy procedures and clinical experience. The majority of PTA programs have specialized PTA courses across two years of study. There is a heavy emphasis on science courses.
Licensure is required in the state of Connecticut. Prerequisites: An approved Physical Therapy Assistant program or graduation from an approved US Physical Therapy school or 20 years of PTA employment prior to October 1, 1989.
American Physical Therapy Association
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314