Physical Therapy Assistants
Approximately 96,840 physical therapy assistants are employed in the United States. Physical therapy assistants work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools for the disabled, nursing homes, community and government health agencies, physicians' or physical therapists' offices, and facilities for the mentally disabled. Most PTAs work full time.
Physical therapy assistant positions are relatively plentiful and readily advertised on job posting sites such as Indeed.com. Alternatively, you can apply to the physical therapy departments of local hospitals, rehabilitation centers, extended-care facilities, and other potential employers. When just starting out, you may want to widen your search to areas where there is less competition, especially suburban and rural areas.
With experience, physical therapy assistants are often given greater responsibility and better pay. In large health care facilities, supervisory possibilities may open up. In small institutions that employ only one physical therapist, the physical therapist assistant may eventually take care of all the technical tasks that go on in the department, within the limitations of his or her training and education.
Physical therapy assistants with degrees from accredited programs are generally in the best position to gain advancement in any setting. They sometimes decide to earn a postbaccalaureate degree in physical therapy and become licensed physical therapists.
Tips for Entry
Visit The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) at http://www.capteonline.org/Programs to find an accredited physical therapy assistant program.
Join clubs in high school and college that demonstrate your interpersonal skills, which will make you a stronger job candidate.
Get a part-time or summer job working at a hospital or medical clinic. Physical therapist assistants must understand and interact well with patients and other medical professionals.
If you have or will be acquiring student loans, look for employers who will assist with paying them.