A physical therapist assistant's role is to provide treatments that will help a patient improve physical movements while under a physical therapist's supervision. Their responsibilities revolve around regularly observing a patient's reaction and progress to the treatment, operating various machines such as treadmills and trainers, and giving instructions to families on how to take care of the patient while at home. Furthermore, they must coordinate with a physical therapist to meet all of the patient's needs and give the best treatment possible.

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Physical Therapist Assistant Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real physical therapist assistant resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage a diverse caseload including, but not limit to CVA's, cardiac care, Alzheimer's and sub acute orthopedics
  • Provide patients at a SNF with ROM exercises, transfer and gait training as well as balance and bed mobility exercises.
  • Provide physical therapy treatment as directed by physical therapist as PRN PTA for inpatient orthopedic rehabilitation and community hospital settings.
  • Care of patients in acute and ICU settings.
  • Work with adult, geriatrics, burns, ulcers and ICU patients
  • Prepare iontophoresis patches, give cervical and/or lumbar hot packs to clients.
  • Perform E-stim and ultrasound, and apply both hot and cold packs on patients.
  • Set up different modalities, such as electric stimulation therapy, Iontophoresis therapy, cervical and lumbar DTS.
  • Contribute to team meetings and collaborate with OT, COTA, SLP and therapy management in the decision-making process.
  • Provide treatment that improve patient mobility while working extensively with the patients on their gait and balance and functional ADL's.
  • Instruct patients on the proper use of wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, braces and prosthetic appliances and devices.
  • Teach patients use of wheelchairs, braces, canes, crutches and prosthetic devices, focusing on safety in the home.
  • Assist physical therapists with patient care including soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, traction, ultrasound and electrical stimulation
  • Gain clinical experience working with post-operative patients on a daily basis, and other aspects of outpatient rehabilitation and sports therapy.
  • Work under direct supervision of LPT.

Physical Therapist Assistant Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a physical therapist assistant does, you may be wondering, "should I become a physical therapist assistant?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, physical therapist assistants have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 26% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of physical therapist assistant opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 38,000.

Physical therapist assistants average about $25.5 an hour, which makes the physical therapist assistant annual salary $53,035. Additionally, physical therapist assistants are known to earn anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 a year. This means that the top-earning physical therapist assistants make $26,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

It's hard work to become a physical therapist assistant, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a rehab technician, rehabilitation aide, certified occupational therapy assistant, and occupational therapy assistant.

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12 Physical Therapist Assistant Resume Examples

Physical Therapist Assistant Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 26% of Physical Therapist Assistants are proficient in Patients, Rehabilitation, and Home Health. They’re also known for soft skills such as Dexterity, Compassion, and Detail oriented.

We break down the percentage of Physical Therapist Assistants that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Patients, 26%

    Provided quality out-patient treatment, education and instruction and progression of therapeutic exercise programs for patients with trauma related injuries

  • Rehabilitation, 15%

    Practiced specialized post-orthopedic surgery recovery and rehabilitation.

  • Home Health, 11%

    Provided physical therapy to a diverse population covering a variety of medical condition in home health and assisted living facility.

  • PTA, 7%

    Performed various Physical Therapy interventions under the direct supervision of a PTA clinical instructor.

  • Physical Therapy Treatment, 5%

    Prepared patients for physical therapy treatment by welcoming, comforting, providing and/or assisting patients into physical therapy apparel or apertures.

  • Quality Care, 4%

    Facilitated Care Plan meetings with family caregivers and other disciplines to deliver quality care to every patient.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Physical Therapist Assistant Resume templates

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Physical Therapist Assistant Resume

Most physical therapist assistants list "patients," "rehabilitation," and "home health" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important physical therapist assistant responsibilities here:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a physical therapist assistant to have happens to be dexterity. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "physical therapist assistants should be comfortable using their hands to provide manual therapy and therapeutic exercises" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that physical therapist assistants can use dexterity to "provided hands-on soft tissue massage, manual and mechanical traction. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many physical therapist assistant duties rely on compassion. This example from a physical therapist assistant explains why: "physical therapist assistants and aides should enjoy helping people." This resume example is just one of many ways physical therapist assistants are able to utilize compassion: "displayed compassion, coaching, motivation, and patient safety skills during all physical therapy treatments. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among physical therapist assistants is detail oriented. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a physical therapist assistant resume: "like other healthcare professionals, physical therapist assistants and aides should be organized and have a keen eye for detail" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "established a good rapport with patients and support staff insuring a team-oriented approach to patient treatment. "
  • In order for certain physical therapist assistant responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "interpersonal skills." According to a physical therapist assistant resume, "physical therapist assistants and aides spend much of their time interacting with patients, their families, and other healthcare practitioners; therefore, they should be courteous and friendly." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "direct interpersonal communication with patients and family during discharge planning and treatment. "
  • See the full list of physical therapist assistant skills.

    Before becoming a physical therapist assistant, 23.9% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 2.2% physical therapist assistants went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, some physical therapist assistants have a college degree. But about one out of every three physical therapist assistants didn't attend college at all.

    Those physical therapist assistants who do attend college, typically earn either a physical therapy degree or a medical assisting services degree. Less commonly earned degrees for physical therapist assistants include a kinesiology degree or a business degree.

    Once you're ready to become a physical therapist assistant, you should explore the companies that typically hire physical therapist assistants. According to physical therapist assistant resumes that we searched through, physical therapist assistants are hired the most by Reliant Rehabilitation, HealthPRO, and Genesis HealthCare. Currently, Reliant Rehabilitation has 545 physical therapist assistant job openings, while there are 514 at HealthPRO and 371 at Genesis HealthCare.

    Since salary is important to some physical therapist assistants, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Children's Hospital Colorado, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. If you were to take a closer look at Children's Hospital Colorado, you'd find that the average physical therapist assistant salary is $72,003. Then at Brigham and Women's Hospital, physical therapist assistants receive an average salary of $66,863, while the salary at Massachusetts General Hospital is $66,609.

    View more details on physical therapist assistant salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a physical therapist assistant include Physiotherapy Associates, PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSOCIATES, INC., and Encompass Health. These three companies were found to hire the most physical therapist assistants from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious physical therapist assistants are:

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    What Rehab Technicians Do

    A rehab technician's role is to assist physical therapists and patients in a hospital or similar facility. Typically, their responsibilities revolve around gathering a patient's personal information and medical history, escorting them to corresponding rooms, and conducting initial tests and assessments. It is also essential to maintain records of all transactions, updating medical accounts promptly and accurately. Furthermore, a rehab technician may also perform basic treatments under the supervision of a physical therapist. There are also instances when they have to sanitize and clean therapy equipment, all in adherence to the facility's safety regulations and policies.

    In this section, we compare the average physical therapist assistant annual salary with that of a rehab technician. Typically, rehab technicians earn a $24,530 lower salary than physical therapist assistants earn annually.

    Even though physical therapist assistants and rehab technicians have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require patients, rehabilitation, and home health in the day-to-day roles.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a physical therapist assistant responsibilities require skills like "physical therapy treatment," "quality care," "snf," and "pet." Meanwhile a typical rehab technician has skills in areas such as "customer service," "cpr," "cleanliness," and "taking care." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Rehab technicians tend to make the most money in the health care industry by averaging a salary of $29,851. In contrast, physical therapist assistants make the biggest average salary of $52,806 in the professional industry.

    On average, rehab technicians reach similar levels of education than physical therapist assistants. Rehab technicians are 1.5% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.5% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Rehabilitation Aide?

    A rehabilitation aide is responsible for assisting patients with injuries, mental disorders, and illnesses in their treatment plans and medications. Rehabilitation aides monitor the patients' progress and update attending physicians regarding their conditions. They also prepare treatment rooms, including the materials and equipment for the medical procedures, and discuss the process with the patients. A rehabilitation aide must be highly organizational, especially in attending to different patients' needs and ensuring the safety and security of all facilities and assets.

    Now we're going to look at the rehabilitation aide profession. On average, rehabilitation aides earn a $24,751 lower salary than physical therapist assistants a year.

    A similarity between the two careers of physical therapist assistants and rehabilitation aides are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "patients," "rehabilitation," and "home health. "

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real physical therapist assistant resumes. While physical therapist assistant responsibilities can utilize skills like "pta," "quality care," "snf," and "pet," some rehabilitation aides use skills like "cpr," "cleanliness," "data entry," and "occupational therapy."

    It's been discovered that rehabilitation aides earn lower salaries compared to physical therapist assistants, but we wanted to find out where rehabilitation aides earned the most pay. The answer? The health care industry. The average salary in the industry is $29,100. Additionally, physical therapist assistants earn the highest paychecks in the professional with an average salary of $52,806.

    In general, rehabilitation aides study at similar levels of education than physical therapist assistants. They're 2.1% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.5% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Compares

    Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants are professionals who work with licensed occupational therapists in providing therapy to patients. This therapy is usually related to the physical or mobility challenges of a patient. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants help patients retain their skills, improve on their challenges, and eventually recover. They record the patient's progress after every therapy session. They may also help out in creating treatment plans for the patient. Since they spend a lot of time with patients, their inputs and recommendations are valuable in crafting and adjusting the treatment plan.

    The certified occupational therapy assistant profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of physical therapist assistants. The difference in salaries is certified occupational therapy assistants making $2,163 lower than physical therapist assistants.

    Using physical therapist assistants and certified occupational therapy assistants resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "patients," "rehabilitation," and "home health," but the other skills required are very different.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a physical therapist assistant is likely to be skilled in "pta," "physical therapy treatment," "quality care," and "direct supervision," while a typical certified occupational therapy assistant is skilled in "patient care," "occupational therapy," "occupational therapy treatments," and "adaptive."

    Additionally, certified occupational therapy assistants earn a higher salary in the education industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $51,821. Additionally, physical therapist assistants earn an average salary of $52,806 in the professional industry.

    Certified occupational therapy assistants typically study at similar levels compared with physical therapist assistants. For example, they're 0.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.5% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of an Occupational Therapy Assistant

    An occupational therapy assistant is primarily responsible for assisting an occupational therapist when handling patients at a clinic or similar setting. Their duties revolve around gathering patient information and medical history, treating patients using the therapist's care plan, monitoring a patient's progress, and maintaining an accurate and extensive record. There are also instances when an assistant must discuss the conditions and extent of treatment to patients and families, as well as monitor supplies and inventory.

    Occupational therapy assistants tend to earn a lower pay than physical therapist assistants by about $2,382 per year.

    While their salaries may vary, physical therapist assistants and occupational therapy assistants both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "patients," "rehabilitation," and "home health. "

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "pta," "physical therapy treatment," "pet," and "physical therapy interventions" are skills that have shown up on physical therapist assistants resumes. Additionally, occupational therapy assistant uses skills like patient care, therapy programs, occupational therapy treatments, and adaptive on their resumes.

    In general, occupational therapy assistants make a higher salary in the education industry with an average of $52,020. The highest physical therapist assistant annual salary stems from the professional industry.

    In general, occupational therapy assistants reach similar levels of education when compared to physical therapist assistants resumes. Occupational therapy assistants are 1.8% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.5% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What a Physical Therapist Assistant Does 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 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.

    Where Do Physical Therapist Assistants Work?

    Physical therapist assistants mainly work in hospitals and privately-owned physical therapy practices. There is a range of other environments in which a physical therapist assistant may work.

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