Career Tracks: Physical Therapy Assistant

Working under the supervision of a registered physical therapist, the physical therapist assistant is involved in patient treatment for various disabilities.  These include stroke, broken bones, strained muscles, etc. He or she works to prevent pain and disability, relieve pain and promote healing and rehabilitation.

Working Conditions

Graduates in this field commonly experience:

  • work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, health care agencies, private practices, educational areas
  • work under direct supervision of physical therapist
  • develop plan of treatment for patients
  • assist in activities of treatment
  • work in cooperation with other people
  • work under stress to meet deadlines
  • overtime/shifts/weekend hours sometimes required

Physical Demands:

  • active (much walking, standing, moving around)
  • lifting (to 100+ lbs.)
  • stooping, kneeling and/or crawling
  • good manual skills

Characteristics & Temperament

Graduates in this field should have:

  • excellent communication skills, both written and spoken
  • ability to work well with a variety of people
  • ability to work with inanimate objects, setting up and maintaining equipment
  • compassion, honesty
  • flexibility: ability to change from task to task without losing composure or efficiency
  • attention to detail
  • ability to "catch on" quickly
  • ability to perform simple arithmetic functions quickly and accurately
  • good motor coordination: hand/eye coordination, accurate and swift movement, finger/manual dexterity
  • ability to make evaluations, generalizations, decisions
  • ability to see relationships
  • ability to follow verbal and written directions
  • self-discipline and self-motivation

Employment Outlook

Graduates in this field can expect the following developments:


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