Physical Therapist Assistants

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

16500+
Projected Job Openings

Medium Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.

Common job titles of Physical Therapist Assistants include:
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Experience and Education

Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

  • 99.83% said they needed a Associate's Degree.

  • 0.17% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

Tasks

    Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.

    Perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering telephone, taking messages, or filling out forms.

    Instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities.

    Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.

    Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.

    Measure patients' range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.

    Clean work area and check and store equipment after treatment.

    Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.

    Transport patients to and from treatment areas, lifting and transferring them according to positioning requirements.

    Prepare treatment areas and electrotherapy equipment for use by physiotherapists.

    Communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans.

    Administer traction to relieve neck or back pain, using intermittent or static traction equipment.

    Assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings.

    Monitor operation of equipment and record use of equipment and administration of treatment.

    Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.

    Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices, such as crutches.

    Perform postural drainage, percussions, or vibrations or teach deep breathing exercises to treat respiratory conditions.

    Attend or conduct continuing education courses, seminars, or in-service activities.

Tools

Wrist splints

Whirlpool therapy baths

Wheelchairs

Upper-body isokinetic machines

Ultraviolet UV phototherapy lamps

Ultrasound machines

Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation TENS equipment

All Tools

Total lift chairs

Tilt tables

Therapeutic treadmill exercisers

Therapeutic hot packs

Tablet computers

Swiss exercise balls

Surgical masks

Stretchers

Stationary bicycles

Standing tables

Standing cages

Splints

Slings

Sliding boards

Single point canes

Short wave diathermy devices

Sequential compression devices

Safety goggles

Safety gloves

Sacro-illiac joint lumbar corsets

Rotating bed

Resistive exercise bands

Reflex hammers

Reciprocating walkers

Reachers

Quad canes

Pulse oximeters

Protective gowns

Powder boards

Posture grids

Portable oxygen equipment

Plumb lines

Platform walkers

Pick-up walkers

Personal computers

Pelvic traction equipment

Patient positioning devices

Parallel bars

Paraffin baths

Notebook computers

Muscle strength dynamometers

Medicine balls

Medical nasal cannulae

Mechanical stethoscopes

Mechanical percussors

Massage equipment

Lower-body isokinetic machines

Lavage hydrotherapy equipment

Knee braces

Iontopheresis equipment

Intermittent compression units

Interferential electrical stimulation machines

Inclinometers

Hydrotherapy pools

Hoyer lifts

High-voltage Galvanic stimulation machines

Hi-lo manipulation tables

Hemi walkers

Hand grips

Goniometers

Gait belts

Functional electrical stimulation FES equipment

Front-wheel walkers

Free weights

Exercise trampolines

Ergometers

Electromyographs EMG

Digital video cameras

Digital cameras

Desktop computers

Crutches

Continuous passive motion CPM equipment

Cold packs

Cervical traction equipment

Cardiac monitors

Body-fat calipers

Blood pressure cuffs

Below-the-knee prosthetics

Balance boards

Balance beams

Back braces

Automated external defibrillators AED

Arm prosthetics

Ankle-foot orthotics

Above-the-knee prosthetics

Technologies

Medical condition coding software

Accounting software

Arena Health Systems Phys-X

Beaver Creek Software The THERAPIST

Billing software

BioEx Systems Exercise Pro

Bookkeeping software

All Technologies

Client caseload management software

dBASE

Eazy Application Systems QuickEMR

Email software

FileMaker Pro

Knees Software PT DocTools

Laboratory information system LIS

PhysioTools Tools RG

Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite

Scheduling software

SpectraSoft AppointmentsPRO

SpectraSoft DocuPRO

Spreadsheet software

Summit Software CarePoint

TherAssist

Video game software

Virtual reality game software

Skills

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Monitoring

Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Coordination

Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Instructing

Teaching others how to do something.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Writing

Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Abilities

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

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Occupation Sections

Knowledge

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Medicine and Dentistry

Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

Psychology

Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Therapy and Counseling

Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

Education and Training

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Biology

Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Sociology and Anthropology

Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

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