When deciding whether to become an assistant to a physical therapist, you may inquire into whether there are career advancement opportunities for this career. Generally, a higher or more prestigious position means that you will get higher remuneration and greater involvement in the decision making process. If a higher salary and more responsibility is in your wishes, then you should definitely look into the options that you will have as an assistant to a physical therapist.
It should be pointed out that the room for career advancement as a physical therapy assistant is limited in terms of how far you can advance. However, there are different options for getting one step further than the position of a general assistant. In rare cases, assistants may become therapists, but this requires four more years of study during which you may not have the opportunity to practice your profession. Even if you keep working, you will have to do it part time. In general, you should expect a considerable reduction in your income initially if you choose to study to become a physical therapist. At the same time, you have to invest a considerable sum in your education.
Specialization is one of the best career advancement opportunities that you will have as a physical therapy assistant. There are a number of areas in which you can specialize after obtaining your associate degree. These are recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association. Training courses for them are readily available. You can choose to specialize in musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardiopulmonary physical therapy. Specialization in geriatric, pediatric or integumentary is also an option. Specialization will give you higher remuneration and better employment opportunities in general.
Administrative positions are readily available to physical therapy assistants with excellent qualifications and considerable work experience. You can get promotion to an administrative position in any large physical therapy center. For instance, you may become in charge of the electrical therapy department. Similarly, if you work for a physical therapy organization offering mobile services, you can find an administrative position in the management or human resources department.
Generally, administrative positions are better paid, but you will not be able to practice the core tasks typical for your profession. This may be a disadvantage to some physical therapy assistants. Another important aspect to consider is that the promotion to administrative positions is an option primarily to professionals with long term experience. Otherwise, you may have to complete a course in administration, manager or human resources management.
Teaching is another career advancement option that you will have as a physical therapy assistant. Some teaching positions at physical therapy assistant education programs are very well paid as well as prestigious. Again, in order to be able to teach, you must have considerable work experience. You may also have to take a course in education, depending on the requirements of the school. Generally, this option for career advancement is often chosen by professionals who are close to retirement and are looking for less hectic work opportunities.
It can be said that there is room for career advancement as a physical therapy assistant, even though the options are not many, they still do exist.