Job OverviewPhysical therapy is an extensive practice that has gained a widespread reputation within the United States in recent years. The job of a physical therapist assistant is to provide aid in a variety of different ways and improve his or her skills and knowledge while working in an accredited physical therapy clinic.
To make a long story short, as a physical therapist assistant, you will get to:
- Work closely together with skilled physical therapists and learn the “tricks of the trade” in a hands on fashion – literally;
- Provide patients with additional support and equipment such as crutches in order to assist with their rehabilitation and exercise sessions;
- Answer phones, communicate with patients and their families and build a better doctor-patient relationship.
SalaryOne of the best things about becoming a physical therapist assistant is that you get the chance to earn a good salary early on in your career. The beginning annual pay for new assistants usually range between $30,000 and $40,000 with an hourly wage of about $20.
Also, if you’re serious about your training and you end up gaining a decent amount of experience, you can even end up doubling that amount. After 2010, some of the best paid physical therapist assistants have managed to earn up to $75,000 per year, and as the demand continues to grow, so does the opportunity for getting a great salary.
TrainingGetting a proper training is still important even if you only want to be an assistant and not a fully qualified physical therapist. In order to get the best results with your studies and training, you can follow the steps below:
- First of all, you need to graduate from high school and focus intently on doing well in subjects such as biology, physics and anatomy.
- Also, you could consider doing a summer internship or becoming a volunteer in a role that’s focused on health sciences.
- In the US, a 2-year associate’s degree will be required. Make sure the school you choose has an accredited program for obtaining a physical therapist assistant degree.
- You’ll need about 16 weeks of practical training under the tuition of a licensed physical therapist. After that, you can get your own license as a therapist assistant in the state you want and – as an optional benefit – you can also get a national certificate from APTA (the American Physical Therapy Association).
Reviews & AdviceReviews point to the fact that, while the training period required for becoming a certified physical therapist assistant is not too long, the actual disciplines you will be learning can be a little demanding. Apart from assistance techniques and advanced anatomy, you will also need to learn a lot about practices like kinesiology, practical physical therapy exercises and pathology.
Also, it may pay off to learn a thing or two about the licensing requirements of the job. For instance, if you live in Colorado or Hawaii, you won’t actually need a license to become an assistant.
Many physical therapists have said that this is an excellent job if you want to start a lengthy career in this field and that the experience you will learn during your practical training as an assistant will prove to be invaluable later on.