0 selections
0 selections

What is a Physical Therapist Assistant

A physical therapist assistant facilitates the work of a physical therapist by providing operational and administrative assistance. This role is extremely in demand as many individuals experience some form of movement pain resulting from an injury, disability, or a health condition. In fact, yoga is one popular form of physical therapy that improves postures and blood flow through areas of concentration.

A physical therapist assistant is involved in tasks such as lifting patients, massaging muscle areas, overseeing patient progress, providing exercise guidance, setting up equipment, and performing after-therapy care briefings. Besides that, they also attend to phone calls and organize appointment schedules.

Employers require physical therapist assistants to have a minimum bachelor's degree in physical therapy as well as obtaining licensure in their relevant state. This role earns, on average, $26 per hour and suits someone who is passionate about rehabilitative services.

What Does a Physical Therapist Assistant Do

Physical therapist assistants, sometimes called PTAs, and physical therapist aides work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. They help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain. Physical therapist assistants are involved in the direct care of patients. Physical therapist aides often do tasks that are indirectly related to patient care, such as cleaning and setting up the treatment area, moving patients, and performing clerical duties.

Learn more about what a Physical Therapist Assistant does

How To Become a Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical therapist assistants entering the profession need an associate’s degree from an accredited program. All states require physical therapist assistants to be licensed or certified. Physical therapist aides usually have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training.

Education and Training

All states require physical therapist assistants to have an associate’s degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant program. There were more than 300 associate’s degree programs for physical therapist assistants accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education in 2015.

Programs typically last about 2 years. Classroom study includes courses in algebra, English, anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Assistants also gain hands-on experience during supervised clinical work. They may earn certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other first-aid skills.

Physical therapist aides typically have a high school diploma or the equivalent. They usually gain clinical experience through on-the-job training that can last from about a week to a month. Employers often prefer to hire applicants with computer skills.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require physical therapist assistants to be licensed or certified. Licensure typically requires graduation from an accredited physical therapist assistant program and passing the National Physical Therapy Exam for physical therapist assistants administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Some states require that applicants pass additional state-administered exams, undergo a criminal background check, and be at least 18 years old. Physical therapist assistants also may need to take continuing education courses to keep their license. Check with your state board for specific licensing requirements.

Physical therapist aides are not required to be licensed.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Physical therapist assistants and aides should enjoy helping people. They work with people who are in pain, and they must have empathy to help their patients.

Detail oriented. Like other healthcare professionals, physical therapist assistants and aides should be organized and have a keen eye for detail. They must keep accurate records and follow written and verbal instructions carefully to ensure quality care.

Dexterity. Physical therapist assistants should be comfortable using their hands to provide manual therapy and therapeutic exercises. Aides should also be comfortable working with their hands to set up equipment and prepare treatment areas.

Interpersonal skills. Physical therapist assistants and aides spend much of their time interacting with clients, their families, and other healthcare practitioners; and therefore should be courteous and friendly.

Physical stamina. Physical therapist assistants and aides are frequently on their feet and moving as they work with their patients. They must often kneel, stoop, bend, and stand for long periods. They should enjoy physical activity.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Kindred at Home Jobs (85)
  2. ATI Physical Therapy Jobs (75)
  3. Supplemental Health Care Jobs (89)
  4. Aegis Therapies Jobs (194)
  5. Functional Pathways Jobs (60)
Average Salary
$50,700
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
26%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
81,775
Job Openings
resume document icon

Don't Have A Professional Resume?

0 selections

Physical Therapist Assistant Career Paths

Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs You Might Like

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical Therapist Assistants in America make an average salary of $50,700 per year or $24 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $65,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $39,000 per year.
Average Salary
$50,700
Find Your Salary Estimate
How much should you be earning as an Physical Therapist Assistant? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.
See More Salary Information

Calculate your salary

Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to see how your pay matches up.

12 Physical Therapist Assistant Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Physical Therapist Assistant Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Physical Therapist Assistant resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Physical Therapist Assistant Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Kindred at Home Jobs (85)
  2. ATI Physical Therapy Jobs (75)
  3. Supplemental Health Care Jobs (89)
  4. Aegis Therapies Jobs (194)
  5. Functional Pathways Jobs (60)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Physical Therapist Assistant Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Physical Therapist Assistant templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Physical Therapist Assistant resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume
Physical Therapist Assistant Resume

Physical Therapist Assistant Demographics

Physical Therapist Assistant Gender Distribution

Male
Male
34%
Female
Female
66%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Physical Therapist Assistants, 66.3% of them are women, while 33.7% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Physical Therapist Assistants is White, which makes up 72.0% of all Physical Therapist Assistants.

  • The most common foreign language among Physical Therapist Assistants is Spanish at 61.2%.

Job Openings

Find the best Physical Therapist Assistant job for you

0 selections
0 selections

Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs You Might Like

Physical Therapist Assistant Education

Physical Therapist Assistant Majors

Physical Therapist Assistant Degrees

Associate

67.4 %

Bachelors

23.9 %

High School Diploma

2.8 %

Top Colleges for Physical Therapist Assistants

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA • Private

In-State Tuition
$17,653
Enrollment
16,405

3. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,306
Enrollment
6,975

4. Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, OH • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,042
Enrollment
5,131

5. Kettering College

Kettering, OH • Private

In-State Tuition
$12,960
Enrollment
610

6. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,595
Enrollment
30,184

7. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

8. University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,730
Enrollment
18,830

9. Clarkson College

Omaha, NE • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,392
Enrollment
646

10. Maria College of Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,140
Enrollment
876
Job Openings

Find the best Physical Therapist Assistant job for you

0 selections
0 selections

Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs You Might Like

Online Courses For Physical Therapist Assistant That You May Like

Managing Your Health: The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise
coursera

Managing Your Health: The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise will introduce learners to the concepts and benefits of physical therapy and exercise. Over six weeks learners will explore: Why physical activity and exercise are important, Exercise and Cardiovascular Disease, Exercise and Osteoporosis, Exercise and Cancer, Common Sports Injuries, Exercise and Arthritis...

Prehospital care of acute stroke and patient selection for endovascular treatment using the RACE scale
coursera

Acute stroke is a time-dependent medical emergency. In acute ischemic stroke, the first objective is to restore brain flow using sistemic thrombolytic treatment and, in patients with large vessel occlusion, by endovascular treatment. In hemorrhagic stroke there are also specific treatments that can improve the clinical outcome. The sooner the initiation of all these therapies the higher the clinical benefit. Thus, the organization of Stroke Code systems coordinated between emergency medical syst...

Vohra Wound Care Certification for Facility-Based Nurses
edX (Global)

The Vohra Wound Care Certification program was developed by Vohra Wound Physicians. Vohra is the largest group of wound physicians in the United States, with more than 20 years of clinical experience providing wound care services to more than 3000 skilled nursing facilities in 30 states, with thousands of patients treated every month. We believe every patient, family, nurse, and caregiver can be empowered through education. Hundreds of thousands of people have already benefited from this course...

Show More Physical Therapist Assistant Courses
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Physical Therapist Assistant

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 16.3% of Physical Therapist Assistants listed Rehab on their resume, but soft skills such as Dexterity and Compassion are important as well.

Best States For a Physical Therapist Assistant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant. The best states for people in this position are Nevada, Rhode Island, Utah, and Massachusetts. Physical Therapist Assistants make the most in Nevada with an average salary of $64,963. Whereas in Rhode Island and Utah, they would average $58,727 and $58,468, respectively. While Physical Therapist Assistants would only make an average of $58,398 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Hampshire

Total Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs:
422
Highest 10% Earn:
$74,000
Location Quotient:
1.75
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Nevada

Total Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs:
290
Highest 10% Earn:
$82,000
Location Quotient:
1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Vermont

Total Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs:
146
Highest 10% Earn:
$71,000
Location Quotient:
1.38
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Physical Therapist Assistants

How Do Physical Therapist Assistant Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

4.0

Physical strength December 2019

4.0

Zippia Official LogoPhysical strength December 2019

What do you like the most about working as Physical Therapist Assistant?

Rehabilitating impairments Show More

What do you NOT like?

Lifting patients who couldn’t able by themselves from bed Show More

Working as a Physical Therapist Assistant? Share your experience anonymously.
Do you work as a Physical Therapist Assistant?
Rate how you like work as Physical Therapist Assistant. It's anonymous and will only take a minute.

Top Physical Therapist Assistant Employers

Most Common Employers For Physical Therapist Assistant

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Physical Therapist Assistant SalaryAverage Salary
1$57,679
2$50,625
3$48,020
4$47,820
5
5.Select Rehabilitation
$47,771
6$47,696

Physical Therapist Assistant Videos

Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant FAQs

Do PTAs make good money?

Yes, PTAs make good money. The average physical therapy assistant (PTA) earns $58,790 annually. However, the range in pay can start as low as $36,000 to as high as $79,880 a year. Factors such as where the job is located account for some of the large variation in pay rate.

How do I become a PTA?

To become a PTA, you must graduate from a physical therapy assistant accredited program and pass a state-administered national exam to obtain licensure. Since physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work closely with patients (e.g., exercising), PTAs must have adequate training before they begin working.

How long does it take to be a physical therapist assistant?

It takes two years to become a physical therapy assistant. In most cases, students enroll in an associate's degree physical therapy assistant program. However, some PTAs also earn bachelor's degrees in physical therapy, increasing their earning potential.

Is PTA a stressful job?

Yes, PTA can be a stressful job. While physical therapy assistants (PTAs) do not have to meet sales quotas, meet deadlines, or work overtime, working as a PTA can be emotionally and physically stressful.

Is a PTA a good career?

Yes, being a PTA is a good career. Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) are ranked # 1 in Best Health Care Support Jobs. The amount of money a PTA can make relative to the school needed makes this an attractive job.

Search For Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs

0 selections
0 selections