How to become a Physical Therapist Assistant


Basic Job Description of Physical therapist assistant

The popularity of physical therapy is increasing every day, especially among patients that are treated for cases like injuries due to accident, arthritis, lower back pain, and heart diseases. The basic duty of a physical therapy assistant is to provide assistance to the physical therapists. They help patients recovering from surgery, illness as well as injuries, to manage pain and also regain movement. In some occasion, exercise is conducted for patients, where muscles and joints are strengthened through diverse techniques.

When patient pays visits to a physical therapy clinic, the physical therapists will first and foremost, evaluate them.The physical therapists will also develop a treatment plan for the patient to follow.  It is the duty of the physical therapist assistant to supervise these patients while they follow the treatment, by ensuring that they properly and successfully carry out the plan. These physical therapists also help to offer services that improves the mobility of patients and also reduce pains. The duties as well as responsibilities of the physical therapists assistant may differ, depending on their experience as well as the clinic they work for. Generally, physical therapists assistant, work under the supervision and instruction of a physical therapist.

Here are a breakdown of the job duties performed by a physical therapy assistant;

  • Measure the motor function of patients
  • Use and also care for braces or prostheses
  • Help patients with devices such as walkers
  • Make use of ultrasound and electrical stimulation
  • Records patient’s strength and muscle performance
  • Assist patients in performing some specific exercises
  • Observe patients and also write report on their progress
  • Evaluate the ability of patients to function independently
  • treat patients with different techniques such as massage and stretching

What Degree is required to become a Physical Therapist Assistant

Individuals, aspiring to become physical therapist assistant must complete a physical therapy assistant education. Students must complete the physical therapy assistant degree program, before they can be allowed to work legally as physical therapy assistant. The required level of education for individuals in this profession is an associate’s degree.  The program is divided into two parts, which are the classroom coursework and clinical practice. Students that graduates from this program, gets an associate degree, which is roughly half of a bachelor’s degree time wise as well as slightly more than half the amount of credits that is needed to complete a full bachelor’s degree program.

Some of these programs, have basic requirements. Students going for admission must have a high school diploma. Other schools may require the student to have good grades in courses like mathematics and English language. The candidate may also be required to prove that he or she have previously taken classes in science as well as computers.

The physical therapy assistant degree classes, includes course like physiology, anatomy with a focus on disabilities and therapeutic procedures, musculoskeletal system, as well as physical therapy. Others includes the use of equipment and devices in physical therapy, medical terminology and ethics, and psychology.

Also, as part of the clinical practice module, prospects will get hands-on experience, by assisting a physical therapist to treat patients. In addition, he or she will be required to practice first aid and also get practical training on cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Laboratory training is also included as part of the exercise.

Is there any requirement for Certification or License?

After obtaining a physical therapy assistant degree, the individual will not be able to practice legally without obtaining a license. Having a license to practice means that prospects must pass an examination, although the type of examination that the physical therapist assistant is required to sit for depends on the state where the license is to be obtained. Most states, requires applicants to pass a National Physical Therapy Examination; some other states have their own examination which are administered by the respective state’s Board of Physical Therapy.

How long does it take to become Physical Therapist Assistant

Becoming a physical therapist assistant means that the individual must have a degree and also a license. The associate’s degree program for these professionals, are available for both community, junior as well as technical colleges.  The program last for about 2 years and it has two modules. In a nutshell, it is not up to the duration of time for obtaining a bachelor’s degree or even a higher degree for other profession.

Physical Therapist Assistant Job Location and Prospects

The main duties of the physical therapist assistant is to support the physical therapist. These professionals, works in places such as clinics, rehab centers, outpatient centers, research centers, extended care facilities, schools,offices, industrial places, hospitals, sport training facilities and education centers.

A closer look at the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the job prospects for physical therapist assistant is projected to be very good. The job market for these professionals should far more exceed the national average for allother occupations. While the career can be a physically demanding one, the fact that it would even experience growth amidst the economic recession nation-wide, shows that individuals who study to become physical therapist assistants, are venturing into a career that is recession proof. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projected that the number of jobs for these professionals will increase by 35 percent from now till 2018. Also, the chances to land a job will be relatively high for professionals with experience as well as for new graduates from education programs. The increase in available jobs is expected to occur, as a result of the ever increasing demand for physical therapy services.

Part of the reason why the job for the physical therapist assistant will be good is that, the elderly population especially in the U.S is growing at a very high rate, due to the advancement in medicine. As a result of this, more citizens will need physical therapy. The number of patients with disabilities as well as injuries, is also expected to increase; this is due to the technological advancement in medicine. Another contributor to the job growth is the inclusion of the health care service in different insurance policies.

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