What does a PTA do? Here’s a physical therapist assistant job description.
A physical therapy assistant works under the supervision of a physical therapist. A PTA will use treatments to help improve the mobility and reduce the pain in a patient. He or she even helps to relieve the disability that is caused by the illness or injury.
Physical therapists and their assistants usually work in hospitals, nursing homes, or clinics. They are part of a health care team that includes doctors, occupational therapists, and social workers.
PTAs work with people of all ages. Some work with elderly patients who have trouble moving about. Some work with handicapped children, and others work with patients who have lost an arm or a leg, have arthritis problems, or are paralyzed. They use many different types of equipment and procedures. They treat patients by using massage, exercise, heat, cold, and light. Assistants teach patients how to use and care for wheelchairs, braces, and artificial limbs.
Assistants have other duties that give physical therapists more time to put their special training to use. Assistants may do some office work, for example, or they may get equipment ready for the therapist. They may also prepare a patient for a therapy session.
A Day in a Physical Therapist Assistant’s Life
On a typical day a physical therapist assistant will perform components of treatment procedures including: ultrasound, traction, hot and cold packs, paraffin baths, electrical stimulation, massages, exercises
Education and Training Requirements
To become a physical therapist assistant, an individual must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Candidates should take courses in mathematics and science in high school. Prospective physical therapy assistants can also get experience by volunteering part time in a hospital or clinic or working with handicapped children in summer camps.
Most PTAs have an associate degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant program. Some states require licensure or registration for the physical therapist assistant to practice. Most employers provide clinical on-the-job training.
Physical therapy assistants usually work in clean, pleasant places. Their patients may sometimes be depressed by their disabilities. Assistants can help them by being cheerful and encouraging. Physical therapist assistants should also be healthy and able to work well with their hands. Most physical therapist assistants work forty hours per week, but some work part time.
Louis Zhang, Physicaltherapyassistantprograms dot com