Career Advice on How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant

General Career Information

Most physical therapist assistants work in hospitals or the offices of physical therapists. In general, the physical therapist assistants work closely with physical therapists and their patients. It is common for physical therapist assistants to help patients with their exercises and rehabilitation. To this end, they must learn a variety of exercises that vary on the specific injury or physical problem. Other tasks that the physical therapist assistants can be expected to perform range from massage to using electrical stimulation. 
Those interested in this career and are in the middle of career planning or a job search, should realize that many physical therapist assistants are only hired to work part time by a given physical therapist. The rate of pay in relation to the level of education, combined with the expected high rate of job growth, may make the career of physical therapist assistant an attractive one for those who need to switch careers, or do not wish to spend years in school training.

Career Facts:

The rate of job growth for physical therapist assistants is expected to be a robust thirty-two percent. In 2006, there were about 60,000 physical therapist assistants employed across the nation. This number should grow to about 80,000 by 2016. On average, the pay for physical therapist assistants is respectable at about $41,000 per year. This is significantly higher than physical therapist aides, who earn only about $22,000 in comparison. Thus, making the decision to earn an Associate’s Degree in the field is a very attractive option.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Excellent:

The current projected rate of growth for physical therapist assistants is expected to be an impressive thirty-two percent. Most careers in health care are growing and growing rapidly due to the aging nature of the population. As the Baby Boomers retire, they will require the services of physical therapists like never before. When this fact is combined with the fact that the U.S. population is in increasingly poor health, it is only logical that all involved in physical therapy and rehabilitation are likely to see more and steady work.
Job Outlook is Excellent

A Day in The Life:

The average day of the physical therapist assistant is spent under the supervision of a physical therapist that directs him or her to help patients with a variety of exercises. The physical therapist assistant may perform other tasks such as massage. Due to the physical nature of the job, physical therapist assistants may find that they are required to help lift patients or transport patients short distances. Thus a degree of physical strength is required for the job.

Average Salary:

The average salary for the physical therapist assistants is roughly $41,000 per year, with the top ten percent of earners making approximately $57,000 per year.

$40k - $60k


Career Training and Qualifications:

It is common for a physical therapist assistant to hold an Associate’s Degree, but it is not required in all states. Additionally, some states do require a license to work as a physical therapist assistant. 
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