Physical Therapist Assistant Job Description

Physical therapists assist to recuperate patients or people suspected or diagnosed with disabling conditions such as cerebral palsy, heart disease and head injuries.  They offer services, which reinstate function, recover mobility, alleviate hurt, and control the possibility of a permanent physical disability. Physical therapist is not just about restoring the patients to physical health. It regards reacting and responding to the patient in a manner that encourages them to help themselves.  They ensure overall fitness and health of the patients.

A physical therapy assistant is required to undertake paperwork and other clerical duties. Thus, it’s crucial for them to be acquainted with administrative skills. They as well need to be innovative and be problem solvers. They need to assess the patient health progress in order to administer the best treatment possible. They are required to teach the patients and help them understand the instructions to and take exercises correctly to affect effective treatment.

Educational requirements

The physical therapist assistant profession requires a bachelor's degree in physical therapy from a recognized university as the minimum requirement. The physical therapy programme requires a requisite study in natural science, physics, chemistry, English, computer literacy, and physiology. At colleges, the physical therapy curriculum cover lessons in human growth and development, clinical sciences, human anatomy, examination procedures among others. However, students from who graduate from a physical therapist programs have to sit and pass a state licensing paper in order to practice. The National Physical Therapy Examination assesses competency in basics of the program practice, such as analysis, medication and consultation. This certification of clinical competency, call for thirty weeks of continuous medical experience under the supervision of a qualified physical therapist.

Educational institutions offering the program

Today, there are146 U.S. therapy assisting schools that offers Physical therapy degrees. Some of these institutions offer regular studies and others online programs. Some of the renown institutions include; Grand Canyon University, Herzing College, Argosy University, A.T. Still University, Penn Foster Career School, Independence University, Pima Medical Institute, Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences among others.

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Cost and time of study

The physical therapy associate colleges charge different costs to undertake the same therapy assistant course.  The duration of course also varies depending with the mode of study in the colleges. For example, in Loma Linda University, the physical therapist associate in the science program takes 15 months. The regular students pay $ 24,000 and for online module pay $373 per unit (Loma Linda University). In Pima Medical Institute, the program takes 18 months.


Physical therapy assistants work in all health practitioner offices, hospitals, nursing care facilities and home-health care. Currently, the cities with the highest employment levels include; Chicago, New York, Boston, Houston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Philadelphia. Employment of physical therapist assistants is anticipated to rise much more rapidly than the average all the way through year 2018; this is as a result of the rising figure of persons with disabilities or limited function. According to the US Bureau of Statistics, the technological developments ought to increase the rate of trauma and children with birth defects to survive, thus increasing demand for therapy (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009).

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The physical therapy assistant opportunities for those pursuing physical therapist assistants are projected to be very good. With assistance of a physical therapist assistant, physical therapists are capable of managing more patients. According to Miami Herald, a notable rise in the physical therapy job applications is evident. Career opportunities are supposed to be predominantly good in an acute hospital and practiced environments where the elderly get treated. According to the US Bureau of statistics, most physical therapists are looking for jobs in urban and some sub-urban areas. This makes job prospects be particularly favorable in rural areas.


According to Bureau of labor statistics, the physical therapist assistant’s median yearly income was $46,140 in May 2008.  The wages are dependent in the employer industry. In 2008, the industries were paying as follows:

Home health provision services $51,950
Nursing care installations $51,090
General surgical and medical facilities $45,510
Offices of other health practitioners $44,580
Offices of physicians $43,390

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides, on the Internet at (visited November 05, 2011).

Physical therapy association and journals

A physical therapy assistant is recommended to join one or more professional association. There are numerous organizations such as; New York Physical Therapy Association and Illinois physical therapy association. The professional association enables one to remain updated with the issues and trends facing the profession. These associations use the membership fee to publish magazines and journals which they review the current issues.  Professional organization also helps in social networking between members. It enables members to keep in touch with each other. This helps in discovering opportunists available indifferent regions (, 2011). Continuing Educational Units

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For the practicing physical therapist assistants, to retain their licenses, they are required to undertake continuing education classes as well as attending workshops. The time required for these classes range from state to state but usually 10-20 hours for a 2year licensure period. Continuous education classes are designed to be short and specific as compared to the normal therapy degree programme. For example, an institution may offer one-day conference focusing on the latest research findings for a specific patient (, 2011). The continuous education programme ensures that the physical therapist's professions are up-to- date with the current findings and new approaches. The health care field is constantly growing, and therefore, is important for continuous learning of the new technologies which might ease their way of operation.


Although, hospital environment hourly pay is relatively low, they offer greater job security than other enterprises. In private clinics, therapist may be sent home without salary if they don’t get adequate patients to cater for the expenses. Despite the above, I like the hospital working environment and especially, when assisting the disabled, acute injured persons both inpatient and outpatient. This profession I discovered that, though, the physical therapist assistant work closely with a physical therapist, they have time to do their private practices. As the law states one physical therapist should have two assistants. This allows the therapists to have more time to attend to patients and perform the clerical duties, such as billing and ordering supplies.



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