Physical Therapist Assistant

* Last Updated on September 22, 2021

Finding a satisfying job is never dull. It is often a tedious and mundane task. When finding happiness in your career, there are a lot of things to consider-these include salary, job benefit, work conditions, and many more. However, if you have a heart and passion for helping others, we have a job for you-become a physical therapist assistant.

In this article, you are going to explore through the importance of being a physical therapist assistant, how to become, what makes this job an appealing career, and many more. Keep reading.

What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

Physical therapist assistant (PTA) are experts trained to offer physical therapist services. They work under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Being a physical therapist is a rewarding opportunity to help patients improve their health conditions. Physical therapist assistant involves directly in the care of patients affected by illness and injuries to overcome pain and regain movements. In many cases, they associate most often with setting up patients’ treatment areas, conducting clerical duties plus other works that he/she assigned from the physical therapist.

Job Description, Roles, and Other Responsibilities

So far, you have been procrastinating to becoming a physical therapist assistant? You are the right place. Under the supervision of your licensed physical therapist, PTAs are dedicated persons ready to help patients improve their daily functions and mobility.

Physical therapist assistants must be ready to work in many different places of work-these include doctors’ offices, nursing homes, hospitals, and more. They must possess interpersonal skills in administering treatments such as body massage, ultrasound therapy, exercises, and more.

But competent PTAs are at their best when they exhibit compassion and willingness to help others. They must possess the expertise to deal with computers and therapy equipment. Physical therapist assistant is not just a career; it is all about generosity and passion for helping others.

Physical therapist assistants perform the following duties;

  • Teach ill people after treatment services
  • Apply various treating techniques to help patients recover quickly
  • As part of their plan care, they help patients do exercises
  • Taking care of patients before and after therapy
  • Cleans therapy areas

How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant

Below is a step-by-step guide to becoming a successful physical therapist assistant.

Step 1. Finding an accredited PTA program

It is all about earning a degree in PTA career. It is mandatory for all states that to become a physical therapist assistant; you need to have an associate’s degree. It is something that many schools allow you to finish in less than 18 months. About 25% of training goes on clinical practice.

Step 2. Passing the licensing exam

All 50 states except Hawaii and Colorado allow PTAs to be licensed. All eligible applicants who have graduated from the physical therapy assistant program are allowed to take a licensure exam. Successful students receive a license award.

Preparedness is a must before taking this exam. Otherwise, you will do a retake. According to the Federation of state boards of physical therapy, you are likely to do three retakes in a year, making a total of six for the whole learning period.

To keep their licenses, many have allowed PTAs to continue with education programs.

Step 3. Gaining the experience

After successful licensing, all PTAs need to sharpen up their skills. Yes, because you are nearly ready to start your career. You need to be put into the field and show off how prepared you are. All PTA application jobs require top skills. It is, for this reason, all PTAs students need to undergo severe training and exercise to perform the job as expected.

All PTAs also undergo post-care plans courses to help them secure jobs. In the last PTA job posting, most employers are looking for PTAs with expertise in dealing with patient and family education. For this reason, they need excellent knowledge and practical skills to be successful.

Of course, all PTA programs equip applicants with the necessary skills needed, but sharpening these skills can make you a real winner. For PTAs to succeed, it is advisable always to involve yourself in extracurricular events. Teach youths and anyone possessing interests in motivational skills to polish your skills. Show your interests by voluntarily working at nursing homes, it will be a better way to improve your proficiency.

Step 4. Get additional certificates

Obtaining the other license means you are more likely to be considered for a job. Go ahead, and pursue certificate courses as this will increase the chances of getting employed. Be it a certificate in cardiovascular or neuromuscular; certification is a course that can take a minimum of 2000 hours to complete. Obtaining an additional license is a measure of your skills and knowledge needed to work, depending on your specialty.

Physical therapist assistant has opportunities for advanced proficiency by APTA recognition. It is where you show off your expertise, the depth of skills, and how prepared you are, particularly in your area of specialty. The program is open and voluntary to all PTAs.

Career Outlook

Physical therapy assistant career to say has gained some serious popularity over the last couple of years. The career opportunities in PTA have become the best in the USA.

According to the US Bureau of labor statistics, physical therapist assistants’ employment is likely to grow to 41%, that is, from 2021-2022-this is far much faster than other average careers.

The demand for this career is indeed likely to increase by 2022, particularly in response to the health needs of aging people. Why? For one, this is the group that is more active compared to youths. And for the second, older people are vulnerable to ton chronic diseases that need special attention and care.

Additionally, several cases of chronic diseases have increased-theses includes diabetes strokes and many more, increasing the demand for physical therapist assistants. Increased instances of congenital disabilities and many victims of trauma require a lot of care that improves the need for PTA. Federal health legislation, on the other hand, has put in a considerable a measure to expand good health to patients with health insurance, making many people turn to physical therapist assistant services.

PTA career has an average scorecard of 7.0. The job is enjoyable, and since most Americans maintain good work up to 60s, this job has low-stress levels, great working balance, and higher prospects of being promoted.

What else, PTA is an entry-level job-a fulfilling career that you will ever pursue.

Job Benefits and Salary

A physical therapist assistant career is an open way to exciting opportunities. Every hour, there are quite several patients who need PTAs to help them manage their conditions.

Job opportunities are excellent, especially in hospitals and orthopedic settings where aging people get treated.

Want to know how much a physical therapist assistant can earn?

PTA is a nice job with a good salary. According to our latest report, a physical therapist assistant’s median salary was $58,720. In Alabama, the annual mean wage for a PTA is $55,000., California is $60, 780, Colorado $52,780 and Florida $62, 710.

Most PTAs work full time. There are many therapy clinics open to evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of patients.

Work Conditions

Physical therapist assistants can hold up 70,000 jobs. There are a lot of facilities that need physical therapist assistants. In 2012, offices of the speech, occupation, and physical therapist managed to employ 40 percent PTAs, hospitals 27 percent, nursing facilities 11 percent, home health care 8 percent, and offices of physicians 5 percent. Here are some of the diseases/conditions treated by physical therapist assistants;

  • Fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Hand injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Stroke
  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pains
  • Developmental delays

Physical therapist assistants are always on toe to help patients. They are still on frequent movements to treat patients. For this reason, PTAs are susceptible to back pains or injuries. Therefore, we recommend them to use various techniques when handling patients.

Pros and Cons of being a PTA

A physical therapy assistant career is the right decision. But like many jobs, PT assistant can have advantages and disadvantages.


  • Above average salaries: PTA career is very demanding. It is a straightforward job after college, and every PTA possesses the ability to from anywhere as long you are licensed. For a person with such a great benefit and being able to help others, great pay is a reward. The fact is that, despite their low educational requirements, physical therapist assistants get paid amount relatively right above-average occupations. The average salary of a physical therapist assistant is estimated to be $51,000 depending on your area of specialty.
  • High demands: Physical therapy assistants’ career is physically demanding. There are a lot of patients who need support and care from PTA. These are the people whose therapist requires to work in their offices and set up therapy equipment. People need them.
  • PTA career is easy to find a job after schooling: Pursuing PTA is a smart career choice. Yes, after college, you will be sure of securing a job.
  • PTA opens up to endless possibilities to new yet advanced technology while providing you fantastic opportunities to work independently.


  • Work under supervision: The worst feeling of a PTA is working under supervision. Therefore, the PTA is limited to meaningful decision making because the boss is the final thought.
  • Low educational requirements: It only takes approximately about 18 months to pursue a PTA associate’s degree. For those who would like to obtain additional certificates, it will take a maximum of 2000 hours.
  • PTA are prone to more working hours within a job

Career Advice

If you are unsure if PTA is the right choice for you, never worry. Here is the help.

Realistically, before you decide on which career you should pursue, it is wise to gain insight, clarity, and better understand your talent, strength, and personal preferences. You should equally understand the right part for you and make better judgments. Then predict a career that satisfies you.

There are tools outside there that can predict your interests, your personality, and tools that can perfectly match your character with an appropriate career.

To say, choosing PTA is a better decision. It is a work of compassion, honesty, passion, and passion for helping others. Being a PTA means you are ready to work under supervision. You must exhibit good behaviors and skills needed to handle therapy equipment. There is no surprise, and many PTA loves the work. The earning is significant too.

A report published in the US news and world report proves PTA as the most healthcare ranking job.

Now you want to pursue PTA? There are several factors you need to take into consideration. But accreditation is the leading factor for many. Certification means finding a legit physical therapist program, pursuing a licensure exam, and get accredited by the commission on accreditation.

Also, it is advisable to weight the following factors when enrolling in a college:

  1. License exam pass rates
  2. Time taken for clinical instruction and setting
  3. The program curriculum

Right now, over three hundred colleges are supporting PTA programs across the USA. This is already an indication that it is a field that has gained popularity all over the world


Physical therapist most often relies on PTA when they undergo large practices that may result in unnecessary attention to patients. Physical therapist assistants, therefore, helps to observe, treat, and record the progress of patients as assigned.

Indeed, physical therapist assistants are just a wonder. Beyond the helping nature, PT assistant career seems like a satisfying course for many. The salaries are excellent, and the work is plenty. There are no excuses; physical therapist assistant is the career course you have been searching for, especially healthcare support jobs. It is no surprise many people refer to PTA as a bright look occupation.