Physical Therapy AssistantPrint
PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSISTANTS assist physical therapists in providing services that help improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. Treatment procedures delegated to physical therapy assistants may involve exercises, massages, electrical simulation, paraffin baths, hot and cold packs, traction, and ultrasound. Physical therapy assistants may also fit, adjust, and train patients in the use and care of prostheses (artificial limbs), orthoses (artificial supports), walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, and other devices, and show them how to exercises at home.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $38,500 average per year ($18.50 per hour)
- A medium occupation (111,900 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (3.5% per year)
PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSISTANTS typically earn an associate's degree from an accredited physical therapy assistant program. States that require physical therapy assistants to be licensed to practice stipulate specific educational and examination criteria. Complete information on practice acts and regulations can be obtained from the state licensing boards. The programs are divided into academic study and hands on clinical experience. Both educators and prospective employers view clinical experience as an integral part of ensuring that students understand the responsibilities of a physical therapy assistant.