Physical Therapy Assistant Job Description Details — What To Look For

Physical therapy assistant job description details should give you an overview of the requirements of a vacancy, the skills and competencies needed in an applicant, the qualifications expected, and other details such as the salary range and benefits package offered. The work may include improving mobility, helping give relief for pain or disability, and treatments such as ultrasound, traction, electrical stimulation, massage, and a range of therapeutic exercises.

The job description is a valuable guideline to helping you craft your resume and cover letter, because it shows you what points in your own profile you should highlight in order to demonstrate how well you are able to meet the needs of the employer. As is often the case with any job application, it can be a good idea to tailor your physical therapist assistant’s resume to target the specific requirements of an individual vacancy.

Common Requirements of a PTA

Having said that, there are also many points that PTA job descriptions tend to have in common. Here’s a list of some of the details often seen in advertisements for vacancies:

  • Should have an Associate’s degree from a CAPTE accredited program.
  • Must have current licensure to practice as a PTA in the state, or be in the process of applying for a licence.
  • Must hold current certification in CPR.
  • Must show effective communication and teamwork skills.
  • Should be physically agile, able to stand, bend, stretch, squat frequently and lift up to 70 pounds.
  • Must possess basic computer skills.

When drafting a job application, it is highly recommended to address these points, offering evidence to substantiate your claims.

Other PTA Skills

Physical Therapy Assistant Job Description Details    What To Look For

PT assistants are found in a very wide range of settings from hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes, to health practitioners’ offices, home health care agencies, community care for the elderly, and private businesses. Very often, they find themselves part of an interdisciplinary team, so the ability to work well and cooperate professionally with other specialists is a vital attribute.

One of the key responsibilities of the physical therapy assistant is to help administer a treatment plan established by the supervising physical therapist. It requires the ability to monitor the continuing effectiveness of the treatment, communicating progress and outcomes with the PT and helping to modify the plan when directed. It calls for a sympathetic understanding of the patients needs, not just physically but also socially, culturally, and spiritually.

As well as communicating with the supervising therapist and patient, the assistant may also need to communicate sensitively with the patient’s family or caregiver as part of the treatment plan and decision-making process. This may include giving instructions to the patient and their family, and offering feedback and recommendations to the physical therapist as appropriate.

Another core skill of a PTA is data collection and documentation. This needs to be done in accordance with departmental standards and professional regulations, paying due attention to timeframes, in order to support a detailed assessment of individual patient’s rate of progress.

Every patient is different, and the needs of each individual are unique. Therefore the PT assistant must demonstrate flexibility and adaptability to respond to situations as they arise, and take the initiative to assist in patient care as needed.

As well as working under the direction of their supervising physical therapist, assistants may also themselves be expected to delegate tasks and supervise others, for example a therapy technician or PTA student. This needs to be carried out in accordance with regulations and departmental policies, and as part of the training and orientation of other personnel the PTA may need to assess the competencies of staff before delegating a task.

Physical therapy job functions and environments may place demands on the assistant’s physical stamina. As well as being able to stand, walk, reach and bend, they will need good hearing, eyesight, and hand to eye coordination, and be able to manage the skills in helping patients to walk, get out of bed, moved in and out of a wheelchair, and so on.

Other tasks expected of a physical therapist assistant may include:

  • Maintaining for cleanliness and safety of equipment and work areas
  • Answering telephones
  • Using office equipment such as a computer, a pager, a fax machine, a photocopier
  • Attending staff meetings
  • Participating in presentations, team conferences, marketing efforts

Careful analysis of a physical therapy assistant job description should give a candidate a good idea of which skills and competencies to highlight in their job application. As well as providing a snapshot of the vacancy and the nature of the work involved, it gives the job seeker a valuable insight into an employer’s needs.

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