Explore Career Options, Jobs, Schooling, and Salary for an in Demand Career in Physical Therapy

Career Preview: Physical Therapy Assistant in Sports Medicine

As a physical therapy assistant in sports medicine, you will work primarily with athletes training in different types of sports. The physical therapy assistant in sports medicine works under the directions and supervision of a physical therapist specializing in this field. On the job, you will work with physically active individuals helping them recover and regain their previous level of physical function and stamina, after suffering an injury or trauma. You will help patients exercise and perform different therapeutic treatments, such as massages.

One of the main tasks of physical therapists and their assistants is the physical evaluation of athletes.  During an appointment they identify the athletes’ level of abilities, flexibility and stamina. They help them improve these and other important parameter by devising special training and dietary regimens. A physical therapist is essentially an expert when it comes to bio mechanics, this is why assessment is such a critical part of their daily work. Assessing discrepancies in bio mechanical movement requires a high level of anatomical knowledge, as well as understanding the physiology of how the body moves.

In order to be able to work as a physical assistant in sports medicine, you have to find a job with an employer that provides such health care services in this field. You may want to look for an individual employer, a physical therapist, who specializes in working with athletes. Another option is to look for a job in a sports medical center. You may also find a job with a major sports team or an individual athlete, but such job opportunities are generally restricted. Just keep in mind that the jobs for assistants in sports medicine are not many in number.

Physical Therapy Assistant in Sports Medicine Remuneration

How about remuneration? The mean annual salary of a physical therapy assistant is $48,590, according to the latest statistical data from 2009. Your individual salary will depend on a lot of factors, such as your employer, your location and your work experience. At an entry level job, you can expect to make earnings in the lower 10 to 25 percentile of professionals. This is between $30,400 and $39,070 a year. In general, the sports medicine sector usually offers higher remuneration than the general health care one. That is why after gaining some years of experience, you can expect to be in the higher 75 to 90 percentile of assistants that make between $57,780 and $66,460 a year on average.

There are no special educational requirements for becoming a physical therapy assistant in sports medicine. You will need to complete a training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and obtain an associate degree. Then you need to obtain a license and look for a job in sports medicine. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) does not recognize specializations in this field. This means that even if you take a specialization course, your qualification will not be formally certified. However, you can readily take such a course, if you think it may help you get the job you want. Continuing education courses on rehabilitation, sports injuries, and athletic training will allow a physical therapist assistant to be more qualified as a physical therapy assistant in sports medicine. This will also allow them to tailor their resume to this area of work.

Now you know all about working as a physical therapy assistant in sports medicine. You can have a well-paid job and high work satisfaction, provided that you have the necessary qualifications and skills. There are many options that you can pursue with a degree as a physical therapy assistant, deciding to work as a physical therapy assistant in sports medicine is one of your many options.