A physical therapy assistant may be the ideal career for those who enjoy helping others and want a meaningful job. These healthcare professionals have a very rewarding job because they help improve the quality of life of their patients, often reducing pain and improving mobility. To work as a physical therapy assistant, you need to be able to have the necessary knowledge and skill to apply to an individual’s specific needs.
What It Takes to Become a Physical Therapy Assistant
As a healthcare support job, physical therapy assistants complete a comprehensive program that’s approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. It is necessary, after completing your education, to pass the National Physical Therapist Assistant (NPTA) exam. All states require those working in the field to be licensed. That is why it is important to choose an educational path that allows you to earn your associate degree through an accredited program.
What Is the Job Outlook for a Physical Therapist Assistant?
There is a lot of opportunity in this field. As a component of the healthcare industry, there is demand for those in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that, in May of 2021, physical therapist assistants had an annual mean wage of $73,150 or $35.17 per hour in California. There are 6,780 people currently working in this position in California.
Individuals who work in this field may work in a range of environments. Some work in hospitals and surgical centers. Others work in doctor’s offices. Some also provide home health care services, visiting the homes of those who need physical therapy to provide them with the care they need. Other times, individuals may work in nursing care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and rehabilitation centers. In each environment, a person is likely to spend their time working one-on-one with patients to provide hands-on care.
What Are the Day-to-Day Tasks of a Physical Therapist Assistant?
Physical therapy assistants provide a range of supportive services. Many work directly with patients. Some of the tasks include:
- Educating patients about their injuries and how to take care of them
- Submitting treatment plans and notes to insurance companies
- Documenting the care patients receive through sessions accurately
- Demonstrating exercises and mobility for patients
- Maintaining communication with the physical therapist regarding patient care
- Evaluating a person’s progress through treatments
- Creating goals and objectives for patients to achieve
- Verifying that the performance of at-home exercises are being done properly
- Using tools to help treat pain, such as traction, ice, heat, or muscle stimulation
The day to day work of a person in this field may differ significantly from one patient to the next. Each day may be filled with appointments, providing care to patients, tracking progress through notes and charts, and filing reports with insurance companies on the type of care a person continues to need.
Steps to Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant
If you are considering a physical therapist assistant position, the first step is to enroll in an educational program that can help you to gain the skills needed. Casa Loma College offers a Physical Therapy Assistant Degree Program that requires 73.5 credits. It takes under 18 months to complete. Students will study a range of topics, including patient care, establishing management plans, manual therapy and manipulation, and the use of mechanical devices. The educational path is comprehensive, preparing students to start working in the field right away.
This includes steps like how to work with patients, good communication skills, recording patient performance, and creating goals and treatment programs over time. Students learn in a hands-on environment that allows them to help provide those skills to their patients later.
Some students may wish to complete their education online, which is something they can do at Casa Loma College. Our programs offer a blended learning environment with both onsite and online classes. This can help students to get the education they need in a way that is meaningful and effective for them.
Once they complete their education, students then qualify to sit for the NPTA examination. This is conducted as a way to ensure the student has the necessary education and skills to perform the work with patients. It is a comprehensive test, but it is a necessary one as well. The education you learn within our program prepares you to complete this exam.
You may also need to obtain basic certifications as needed. That includes first aid and CPR certifications in most cases. This can help ensure that you are ready to provide care to patients.
Once the exam is complete, students can then apply for their license with the state. This license may differ from one state to the next, but the goal is to ensure a person working in the field has the education and skills to provide a high quality of care to patients.
Once you have your license, you can apply to work in the field. You will want to update your resume to show the work you’ve done, including any hands-on learning as well as any internships or other types of work you have completed that reflects your ability to work with patients or other people.
Why Choose Casa Loma College for Your Start?
The physical therapist assistant program at Casa Loma College offers everything you need to get started and thrive in this field. The program offers both online and onsite learning for the best experience for most students. There may be financial aid available to you as well. This is a fast-paced program designed to help you get your start in the field quickly and ensure that you are given all the abilities you need to succeed. Contact us today to learn more.