What Do Physical Therapist Assistants Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Physical Therapist Assistants

Physical Therapist Assistants assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.

Salary
$59440
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Associate's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality



Job Description

Job Description

Physical Therapist Assistants assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training. They also instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities.

Other tasks include:

  • Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.
  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Measure patients’ range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans.
  • Transport patients to and from treatment areas, lifting and transferring them according to positioning requirements.

We asked Physical Therapist Assistants how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

82%

How meaningful is this job

86%


82% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 86% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Physical Therapist Assistants instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities. They observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.

A typical day for a Physical Therapist Assistant will also include:

  • Perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering telephone, taking messages, or filling out forms.
  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.
  • Clean work area and check and store equipment after treatment.
  • Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.

We asked some Physical Therapist Assistants a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job? 45% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 86% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 75% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 68% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 16% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 69% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Physical Therapist Assistants also communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans. They may also assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Physical Therapist Assistants Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices, such as crutches. They might also Monitor operation of equipment and record use of equipment and administration of treatment.

In addition, they Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Measure patients’ range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.

To some Physical Therapist Assistants, it is also their responsibility to Perform postural drainage, percussions, or vibrations or teach deep breathing exercises to treat respiratory conditions.


Working life

Working hours

Standard 40 hour work week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Physical Therapist Assistant, you can expect to work 40 hour work week.

Do Physical Therapist Assistants work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
79%


Never
13%


Do Physical Therapist Assistants work outdoors?

Never
77%


Once a year
9%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Helpers and The Builders

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



Learn more about Physical Therapist Assistants

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Related to Physical Therapist Assistants Job Description

Physical Therapist Assistants job description, what do Physical Therapist Assistants do, typical day for Physical Therapist Assistants, what is it like to work as a Physical Therapist Assistant, how many hours do Physical Therapist Assistants work, day to day work of a Physical Therapist Assistant

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm
http://www.apta.org/
http://www.capteonline.org/home.aspx
https://www.fsbpt.org/


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