Physical Therapy Assistant Jobs

Physical therapy assistant jobs are on the rise. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s a field that is expected to enjoy much faster than average growth in employment levels over the next few years. As part of the wider health care services industry, physical therapy assistants join physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technologists, administrative support staff and many others to contribute to one of the largest industries in today’s economy.

Job Prospects for Physical Therapy Assistants

When people are making career choices, they want to know that they’re choosing a job that will continue to be in healthy demand for the foreseeable future. And the growth in job opportunities for physical therapy assistants is partly down to ongoing progress in medical research. Physicians are finding new ways to treat disease and improve the quality of life for the disabled, with innovative procedures and techniques to help patients overcome injuries, trauma, birth defects, and the stresses and strains of modern life.

Another reason why physical therapy assisting is likely to remain a hot career is the shift in demographic trends. There’s an explosion in the number of people over 50, and it’s been estimated that one in five people alive today will live to be 100. This burgeoning sector of the population is likely to have ongoing need of medical treatment and a wide range of therapy services as they get older, placing the growing demand on health practitioners of all kinds.

Physical Therapy Assistant Jobs

Because physical therapy assistants require specialist education to degree level and (in almost all states) a license to practice, there is likely to be less competition for jobs than there will be for physical therapy aides, who may only have a high school education and acquire their skills on the job. It’s a requirement of licensure that a physical therapist assistant must have graduated from an accredited college program with an Associate of Science degree. That implies at a minimum an investment of two years of higher education — decreasing the size of the pool of qualified applicants competing for jobs.

PTA Job Settings

Physical therapists and their assistants can be found working in a wide variety of settings and industries. Public and private hospitals, nursing homes and residential care centres, outpatient facilities, home health care agencies are all major employers of PTAs. They are also to be found working in a wide variety of physicians’ offices, from general practitioners to our practice, optometrists, mental health specialists and others. It’s a specialty which offers very wide scope, whether in a mainstream healthcare setting or in private business.

Physical Therapist Assistant Salaries

Physical therapist assistant jobs also offer attractive salary prospects. In 2010, the mean hourly wage for a PTA was estimated to be $23.95 — that’s the equivalent of $49,810 annually, based on an assumption of working a 40 hour week across the year. A number of factors influence what an individual can earn in this profession, of course. Length of experience, specialist skills, work setting, and regional location all play a part in setting wage levels. Occupational employment surveys carried out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have shown some of the highest levels of pay in the area of home health care, and the highest mean wages were found in the state of Texas.

Statistics like these can only act as indicators of ballpark figures for what a particular worker could expect to make in this industry, of course, but coupled with predicted employment prospects, they help to make a physical therapy assistant’s career an attractive option for a high school graduate or have someone interested in transitioning from a different occupation.

PTA Job Boards

A quick look online at physical therapy job boards goes to show that there is no lack of vacancies for qualified personnel. Websites such as therapyjobs.com, simplyhired.com or topusajobs.com lists hundreds of openings for physical therapy assistants across the country. The various job descriptions give an indication of the different settings in which PTAs work, the duties, responsibilities, and skills involved, and the kind of benefits that professionals can expect, such as medical and dental insurance coverage, mileage compensation for commuting, and a variety of incentive programs and bonuses.

If you’re interested in a career in this field, you can find out more about physical therapy assistant jobs and employment conditions by visiting the website of the American Physical Therapy Association. It contains a variety of links for prospective students as well as seasoned professionals, and provides a useful introduction to a career in this area of healthcare services.

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