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Become A Staff Physical Therapy Assistant

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Working As A Staff Physical Therapy Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Deal with People

  • $46,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Staff Physical Therapy 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.

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How To Become A Staff Physical Therapy 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.

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Staff Physical Therapy Assistant Career Paths

Staff Physical Therapy Assistant
Massage Therapist Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Assistant Director Office Manager
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Specialist Operations Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Personal Trainer General Manager Chief Operating Officer
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
PRN Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Personal Trainer Security Officer Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
PRN Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Staff Physical Therapist PRN Nursing Director
Director Of Clinical Operations
12 Yearsyrs
Director Of Rehabilitation Therapist Occupational Therapist
Director Of Correctional Therapy
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Therapist Occupational Therapist
Director Of Rehabilitation
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant To The Director Program Coordinator Medical Social Worker
Geriatric Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Licensed Practical Nurse Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Massage Therapist Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Instructor Project Manager
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant To The Director Service Representative Service Supervisor
Patient Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Case Manager Operations Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Physical Therapist Clinical Manager Operations Director
Regional Director Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Clinical Instructor Physical Therapist
Rehab Director
6 Yearsyrs
Rehab Director Therapy Program Manager Director Of Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Home Care Nurse Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Staff Physical Therapy Assistant?

Staff Physical Therapy Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

65.0%

Male

33.3%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

60.1%

Hispanic or Latino

17.8%

Black or African American

10.3%

Asian

7.7%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.0%

French

7.0%

Russian

4.2%

Hindi

4.2%

Tagalog

2.8%

Mandarin

2.8%

Polish

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%

Portuguese

1.4%

Filipino

1.4%

Hebrew

1.4%

German

1.4%

Cantonese

1.4%

Bengali

1.4%

Italian

1.4%

Gujarati

1.4%
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Staff Physical Therapy Assistant Education

Schools

South University

11.0%

Pennsylvania State University

9.3%

Cerritos College

5.9%

Central Piedmont Community College

5.1%

San Diego Mesa College

5.1%

Vincennes University

5.1%

Union County College

5.1%

University of Phoenix

5.1%

Keiser University

5.1%

New York University

4.2%

Harcum College

4.2%

Charles Stewart Mott Community College

4.2%

University of Delaware

4.2%

Sacramento City College

4.2%

Drexel University

4.2%

Saint Petersburg College

4.2%

Springfield Technical Community College

3.4%

George Washington University

3.4%

Nash Community College

3.4%

Trident Technical College

3.4%
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Majors

Physical Therapy

27.5%

Medical Assisting Services

22.4%

Kinesiology

11.5%

Nursing

7.4%

Business

6.1%

Psychology

3.5%

Biology

3.0%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

Health Sciences And Services

2.1%

Health Education

1.7%

Athletic Training

1.5%

Criminal Justice

1.5%

Medical Technician

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Management

1.2%

Medicine

1.2%

Exercise Physiology

1.2%

General Studies

1.0%

Public Health

0.9%

Education

0.9%
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Degrees

Associate

32.6%

Bachelors

29.9%

Other

18.7%

Masters

10.9%

Doctorate

3.3%

Certificate

3.2%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.5%
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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Staff Physical Therapy Assistant

Average Yearly Salary
$46,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$19,000
Min 10%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$46,000
Median 50%
$112,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems
Highest Paying City
Anchorage, AK
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.6 years
How much does a Staff Physical Therapy Assistant make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Staff Physical Therapy Assistant in the United States is $46,926 per year or $23 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $19,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $112,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Staff Physical Therapy Assistant?

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Top Skills for A Staff Physical Therapy Assistant

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Patient Care
  3. Treatment Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Implemented administrative guidelines within the physical therapy department to meet legal and clinical standards for State and Federal funded programs.
  • Supervised technicians and equipped them with information necessary to provide quality patient care.
  • Communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans.
  • Conducted monthly and quarterly inventory of supplies using facility cost reporting records.
  • Worked in inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation department implementing, reviewing, revising and progressing individual PT treatment programs.

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Top 10 Best States for Staff Physical Therapy Assistants

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Alabama
  3. Texas
  4. Nevada
  5. Connecticut
  6. Oregon
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Tennessee
  9. Florida
  10. California
  • (143 jobs)
  • (219 jobs)
  • (539 jobs)
  • (61 jobs)
  • (108 jobs)
  • (156 jobs)
  • (76 jobs)
  • (187 jobs)
  • (429 jobs)
  • (1,156 jobs)

Top Staff Physical Therapy Assistant Employers

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