Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Physical Therapy Assistants (PTAs) work under the direction and supervision of Physical Therapists to assist in providing therapy treatment to patients.
  • Are trained to conduct therapeutic exercises, provide therapeutic massage, observe patients, evaluate data on a patient’s progress, and assist patients during rehabilitation. They may fit or adjust supportive devices such as leg braces or crutches. Assistants may also perform clerical duties such as answering phones, ordering supplies, and completing forms.
  • PTAs implement treatment programs; teach patients to perform exercises; conduct treatments using special equipment; assist patients with back and neck injuries, sprains/strains and fractures, arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, birth defects, injuries related to work and sports, and others.
  • Work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, home care agencies, private health and fitness centers, industrial health clinics, community health centers, schools, colleges and universities, or other health care facilities.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Physical Therapist Assistant opportunities will continue to grow due to the increased need for support personnel in health care, number of individuals with disabilities, and the increase of the elderly population.
  • The Physical Therapist Assistant program can be challenging, physically demanding and rigorous.
  • One important quality is good people skills - ability to listen, understand, and communicate.


Getting Started

Career Outlook