Physical therapy assistants are skilled personnel who help administer
tests and treatment programs under the supervision of a physical
therapist. Some of their duties include training patients in exercise and
activities of daily living, using special equipment, and evaluating the
patient's progress. They also perform treatment procedures in accordance
with the planned programs, assist the physical therapist in carrying out
more complex procedures, and observe and report patient behavior to their
supervisor. Physical therapist assistants also help patients perform
stretching and strengthening exercises in accordance with their specified
therapy program. An individual interested in becoming a physical therapy
assistant must have a willingness to work with ill and disabled people on
a regular basis. They must also be physically and mentally fit in order to
fulfill the demands of the profession. This profession requires good
communication skills, creativity, physical dexterity and coordination,
organization, and self-motivation.
Physical therapy assistants are utilized in a variety of work
environments. Some of these include hospitals, private physical therapy
offices, nursing homes, sports facilities, rehabilitation centers,
research institutions, pediatric centers, home health agencies, and
colleges and universities.
High School Preparation:
Students interested in a career as a physical therapy assistant should
take courses in algebra, biology, chemistry, geometry, computer skills,
medical assisting, sociology, English, trigonometry, humanities, health
occupations/medical professions education, and physical education.
A physical therapy assistant must obtain an Associate's Degree from an
institution approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical
Therapy Education (CAPTE). Graduates are then eligible to take the
national/state physical therapist assistant licensure exam (PTA). This
exam must be passed in order to practice in the State of Mississippi.
For educational institutions in
offering this course of study
As new technologies save more and more lives, the demand for physical
therapy assistants will continue to skyrocket. As the "baby boom"
generation ages, more patients will require therapy for arthritis, stroke,
heart disease, and other conditions common to older people. The growing
elderly population is particularly vulnerable to chronic and debilitating
conditions that will require the services of physical therapy personnel.
There are also a growing number of employers that are utilizing the
physical therapy community to evaluate worksites, develop exercise
programs, and teach safe work habits in an effort to reduce injuries. The
nation's increasing participation in sports and fitness activities is yet
another reason why more physical therapy personnel will be needed in the
years to come.
Average Annual Salary
American Physical Therapy Association
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (800) 999-2782
Mississippi Physical Therapy Association
921 Congress Street
Jackson, MS 39202
Phone: (601) 354-3629
Physical Therapy Assistant brochure
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