Find The Best Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs For You

Where do you want to work?

0 selections

Working as 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.

Duties

Physical therapist assistants typically do the following:

  • Observe patients before, during, and after therapy, noting patient status and reporting it to a physical therapist
  • Help patients do specific exercises as part of the plan of care
  • Treat patients using a variety of techniques, such as massage and stretching
  • Use devices and equipment, such as walkers, to help patients
  • Educate a patient and family members about what to do after treatment

Physical therapist aides typically do the following:

  • Clean treatment areas and set up therapy equipment
  • Wash linens
  • Help patients move to or from a therapy area
  • Do clerical tasks, such as answering phones and scheduling patients

Physical therapist assistants help physical therapists provide care to patients. Under the direction and supervision of physical therapists, they treat patients through exercise, massage, gait and balance training, and other therapeutic interventions. Physical therapist assistants record patients’ progress and report the results of each treatment to the physical therapist.

Physical therapist aides work under the direct supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. They usually are responsible for keeping the treatment area clean and organized, and preparing for each patient's therapy. They also help patients who need assistance moving to or from a treatment area. In addition, aides do a variety of clerical tasks, such as ordering supplies, scheduling treatment sessions, and filling out insurance forms. The types of tasks that physical therapist aides are allowed to perform vary by state. Contact your state licensing board for more information.

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.

Average Salary$53,659
Job Growth Rate26%

Physical Therapist Assistant Career Paths

Top Careers Before Physical Therapist Assistant

Top Careers After Physical Therapist Assistant

PRN
10.1 %

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 $53,659 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $61,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $47,000 per year.
Average Salary
$53,659

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Urban Honolulu, HI
Salary Range54k - 68k$61k$60,870
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range51k - 71k$61k$60,550
Medford, OR
Salary Range51k - 69k$60k$60,002
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range49k - 69k$59k$58,792
Colorado Springs, CO
Salary Range50k - 65k$58k$57,892
Montgomery, AL
Salary Range49k - 66k$58k$57,566
$43k
$71k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Physical Therapist/Physical Therapy Assistant
Physical Therapist/Physical Therapy Assistant
Total Care Physical Therapy
Total Care Physical Therapy
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$62,61001/28/2021
$62,610
Physical Therapist Assistant-PTA-Skilled Nursing Facility
Physical Therapist Assistant-PTA-Skilled Nursing Facility
Careerstaff Unlimited
Careerstaff Unlimited
01/26/2021
01/26/2021
$62,61001/26/2021
$62,610
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapist Assistant
Oakton Community College
Oakton Community College
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$52,02701/23/2021
$52,027
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapist Assistant
Good Samaritan Society
Good Samaritan Society
01/12/2021
01/12/2021
$39,65301/12/2021
$39,653
Home Health Physical Therapist Assistant, PRN-Lake City, Live OAK
Home Health Physical Therapist Assistant, PRN-Lake City, Live OAK
Covenant Hospice
Covenant Hospice
11/20/2020
11/20/2020
$73,04511/20/2020
$73,045
See More Recent Salaries

Calculate your salary

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

Physical Therapist Assistant Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

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 best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Physical Therapist Assistant Demographics

Gender

female

63.9 %

male

33.0 %

unknown

3.1 %

Ethnicity

White

70.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.7 %

Asian

7.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.2 %

French

4.7 %

Russian

3.9 %
See More Demographics

Physical Therapist Assistant Education

Degrees

Associate

70.3 %

Bachelors

17.4 %

Masters

3.4 %

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 • Public

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 • Public

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 • Public

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
See More Education Info
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 Hawaii, California, Alaska, and Oregon. Physical therapist assistants make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $60,826. Whereas in California and Alaska, they would average $59,708 and $59,047, respectively. While physical therapist assistants would only make an average of $58,938 in Oregon, 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. Mississippi

Total Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs:
196
Highest 10% Earn:
$75,000
Location Quotient:
2.26
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. Alabama

Total Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs:
368
Highest 10% Earn:
$76,000
Location Quotient:
1.92
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. South Carolina

Total Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs:
415
Highest 10% Earn:
$76,000
Location Quotient:
1.96
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
View Full List

How Do Physical Therapist Assistant Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

4.0

Physical strength December +0000

4.0

Zippia Official LogoPhysical strength December +0000

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.
Rate
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.
Rate

Top Physical Therapist Assistant Employers

1. HCR ManorCare
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$45,244
Physical Therapist Assistants Hired: 
152+
2. Physical Therapy Central
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$48,733
Physical Therapist Assistants Hired: 
131+
3. Genesis HealthCare
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$50,593
Physical Therapist Assistants Hired: 
128+
4. Encore Rehabilitation Services
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$50,265
Physical Therapist Assistants Hired: 
115+
5. Supplemental Health Care
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$56,084
Physical Therapist Assistants Hired: 
88+
6. Encompass Health
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$53,469
Physical Therapist Assistants Hired: 
86+

Physical Therapist Assistant Videos

Updated October 2, 2020