Physical Therapist Assistants

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Staff Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Rehabilitation Assistant
  • Rehabilitation Aide
  • Physiotherapy Assistant
  • Physical Therapy Technician (Physical Therapy Tech)
  • Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)
  • Physical Therapist Assistant and Nurse Aide
  • Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
  • Per Diem Physical Therapist Assistant (Per Diem PTA)
  • Outpatient Physical Therapist Assistant
show all

What They Do

  • Prepare treatment areas and electrotherapy equipment for use by physiotherapists.
  • Administer traction to relieve neck or back pain, using intermittent or static traction equipment.
  • Perform postural drainage, percussions, or vibrations or teach deep breathing exercises to treat respiratory conditions.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering telephone, taking messages, or filling out forms.
  • Attend or conduct continuing education courses, seminars, or in-service activities.
  • Monitor operation of equipment and record use of equipment and administration of treatment.
  • Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices, such as crutches.
  • Clean work area and check and store equipment after treatment.
  • Assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings.
  • Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IEA.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Enterprising and Artistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Working Conditions and Support in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • 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.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Preparation Required

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in California was $63,680 with most people making between $35,770 and $83,240

Outlook

3.12%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 4,800 people in California. It is projected that there will be 6,300 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 150 openings due to growth and about 140 replacement openings for approximately 290 total annual openings.