What does a Physical Therapy Assistant do?
A physical therapy assistant helps patients that are healing from illnesses or injuries regain movement and manage pain under the supervision of a physical therapist and work in the direct care of the patient, such as, specific exercises, stretching and teaching the use of equipment, like walkers.
How to Become a Physical Therapy Assistant
Most states require a physical therapy assistant have an associate’s degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant program that would normally last 2 years and have, both clinical and classroom study, experience. They typically receive on-the-job training in treatment centers. Employer’s may want an applicant to hold a certificate in CPR and other first aid.
Job Description of a Physical Therapy Assistant
A physical therapy assistant helps the physical therapist perform the duties involved in patient care of those recovering from an illness or injury. They would, typically, observe the patient from the beginning until the end of treatment and document their findings and then inform the physical therapist.
They help patients do exercises that are specific to their care and use other methods, like, stretching and massage in their treatment. They help with balance training and other supervised methods of treatment. They educate the family members and the patient in after-care treatment. They typically work in occupational, speech, physical and audiologist facilities, as well as, hospitals. Some work in nursing care facilities, home health services and, a few, work in physicians offices.
A physical therapy assistant works long hours, normally full-time, and can be vulnerable to back injuries from lifting heavy patients and equipment.