Physical Therapy Assistant

Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.

Job Outlook through 2026

Employment Current: 4,570
Employment Projected: 5,740
Percentage Change: 25.6%

Education/Training

Vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Sample Job Titles

  • Certified Physical Therapist Assistant (CPTA)
  • Home Health Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA)
  • Outpatient Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Per Diem Physical Therapist Assistant (Per Diem PTA)
  • Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
  • Physical Therapist Assistant and Nurse Aide
  • Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)
  • Physical Therapy Technician (Physical Therapy Tech)
  • Staff Physical Therapy Assistant

Duties

  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities
  • Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment
  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound
  • Measure patients' range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations

Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people

Average Wages in PA

Entry Level: $38,520
Average: $52,100
Experienced: $58,900