Physical Therapist Assistant

A Physical therapist assistant or PTA works with physical therapists in assisting them in implementing rehabilitation therapies and exercises that are associated with the recovery of patients with a disability or injury. Working as a Pta is a great alternative to being a physical therapist because it doesn’t require the same number of years in college. The job as a PTA is also a great step in becoming a physical therapist while you are completing the required years of schooling and training to become a physical therapist.

A PTA performs the same physical therapy tasks like helping your patients thru various workouts, exercises, massages, electric stimulation, cold or hot packs, or paraffin baths. The PTAs work on these tasks under the guidance of a physical therapist who is responsible in evaluating the progress of the patient and in determining the treatment plan of the patient.

Physical Therapist Assistant Education Requirements

To become a physical therapist assistant you must acquire an associate’s degree from a certified program. The accredited PTA program takes 2 years to complete an undergraduate education. There are more than 200 programs you can choose from nationwide. These PTA programs include a combination of clinical and classroom instruction. The coursework for basic and physical therapist assistant continuing education involves science subjects like physiology and anatomy, with first aid, CPR and basic life saving skills. The American Physical Therapy Association is the governing body of the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. The commission gives the accreditation to the physical therapy assistant programs on the postsecondary level that culminate into an associate’s degree.

What courses count towards Physical Therapist Assistant

The common courses taken to complete a Physical Therapist Assistant required education are english, algebra, psychology, anatomy, physiology, first aid, physical therapy practices, chemistry, musculoskeletal disorders, neuroanatomy, clinical practice, massage, CPR and basic life saving skills.

The skills you will obtain in these PTA programs enables you to accurately assess the patient’s condition, perform the treatment successfully and safely, understand the human anatomy, know the effects of injuries and diseases, and learn the ability to communicate effectively in both oral and written forms.

What levels of degrees are available for Physical Therapist Assistant

An Associate in Science degree for physical therapy assistants is usually divided onto hands-on clinical experience and academic coursework. The physical therapy assistant education requirements involves coursework in algebra, anatomy, english, physiology and psychology. The clinical work results to physical therapy assistant certification and certificates in CPR and first aid with field experience in the treatment centers. The program usually takes 2 years to complete.

PTAs would normally progress to advancing their skills and knowledge in various clinical areas after their graduation. PTAs are recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association if they have gained their additional skill in pediatric, geriatric, musculoskeletal, integumentary, neuromuscular and cardiopulmonary physical therapy. PTAs also move to non-clinical areas such as administrative positions, or pursue teaching in a certified PTA academic program.

What are the financial requirements to become a Physical Therapist Assistant

The tuition cost associated in acquiring a Physical Therapist Assistant degree may vary depending on the school the student is enrolled in, the state or locality, the residency of the student and on the other costs added on the tuition fee.

A full-time undergraduate study in Physical Therapist Assistant degree may cost around $3361 per credit hour if taken in Florida, while it may cost around $18,254 in another school and location.

What the continuing education requirements for Physical Therapist Assistant

Several US states regulates physical therapist assistants by requiring them to be licensed, registered or certified in order to practice. Another of the physical therapist assistant requirements is graduating from an certified education program and passing the National Physical Therapy examinations. There are also some states that will require the Physical Therapy Assistants to pass their state examinations. Several states will also require credits on the physical therapy assistant continuing education to maintain their licenses. You must contact the state licensing boards for the complete information on the physical therapist assistant qualifications.

What are the skills necessary to become a Physical Therapist Assistant

In order to be successful in this career, a Physical Therapist assistant must possess these qualities:

  • Must be physically fit for the job. A PTA must be able to lift or support disabled patients and move or operate heavy equipment.
  • Must be willing to take instructions from the physical therapist
  • Must be patient, strong and a clear communicator
  • Must be flexible with their work schedules. Weekend and evening hours are often required of this job.
  • Must be detail oriented, well-organized and caring for people.

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