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

Why Choose Physical Therapy Assistant as a Career

If you are looking for a rewarding, challenging, in demand career in the physical rehabilitation field, we advice you to consider the career of a physical therapy assistant. There are several key reasons that make choosing physical therapy assistant as a career a smart choice. Finding a career of interest that also has strong job demand, as well as monetary benefits can sometimes be challenging. It is common place in the United States, and many countries for graduates of a specific program to work in a completely different job field. This can be due to over-saturation, low demands, or the recent economic struggles that have hit the nation. If you have been studying recent labor statistics you may already be considering a career in health care, as the aging baby boomer population has opened the door to a high level of job creation in that sector. The growth of medical assistant careers has been very strong in the last 5 years alone. Another benefit of studying an assistant career is that the educational requirements can completed in a shorter time frame than full degree programs. Medical assisting careers such as a physical therapy assistant, are professionally designated, in demand professions that are essentially recession proof.

Physical therapy assistants can enter the job market rather quickly when compared to other professions. This career can be entered with an associate degree (half of a bachelors degree) and a passing of the National Physical Therapy Assistant Exam and receiving a state license.  Besides the statistics looking very strong for this career, as you will see the satisfaction in this field of work is also very high, something that must not be looked over when considering career satisfaction, and longevity within a career.  We have selected the 4 main reasons for you to consider a career as a physical therapy assistant, continue reading below.

1. Why Choose Physical Therapy Assistant as a Career: Demand of the profession

physical therapy assistantThe latest statistics we have from the bureau of labor statistics were with regards to the time period of 2009 to 2018. During this time frame, the career of a physical therapy assistant will see a growth of 33 percent. In the USA there are roughly 66 000- 70 000 physical therapy assistants in 2011, and that number is expected to grow to a total number of those working between 86 000 and 90 000 within the next 7-10 years. This offers those that decide studying a physical therapy assistant program excellent opportunities upon graduation. The growth rate for a physical therapy assistant is due to the large percentage of the American population that is known as baby boomers. This population will require greater care with regards to treatment that helps to improve mobility and the process of aging. The good part is physical therapist assistants are well skilled and educated in what is going to be required to take care of this population. An in demand profession is definitely a reason to choose this career.

2. High Level of Job Satisfaction

In 2009 when the National Opinion Research Center did a job satisfaction survey for those that work in the physical therapy field, they found that there was a 75% rate of those that were “very satisfied” with their careers. This 75% rate was also the result of a survey done by the Wall Street Journals’ Career Journal. With such a high job satisfaction it ranks physical therapy assistant jobs as one of the top 10 professions in the nation. This may be down to the fact that this profession allows one to work with patients, in a setting where their is often minimal supervision, and along side well educated physical therapists.  Choosing a career with such high job satisfaction is an excellent reason to choose this career.

3. 2 years to complete an Associates Degree

For a career that is in excellent demand, with high job satisfaction, and excellent wages, a 2 years associate degree is perfect for those wishing to enter into the career. Your only real option when choosing schools in choosing an accredited program recognized by the American Physical Therapy Associations accreditation body, The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). There are currently over 270 schools that are CAPTE accredited in the U.S.A. Just head over to the PTA Schools by State category on our website for contact information for the schools in your state.

Accredited programs will have standardized educational requirements that are recommended by the American Physical Therapy Association. Students will learn anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, kinesiology, physical therapy procedures, as well as a host of other related courses. The program is quite challenging and intensive. Students will also take part in clinical placement. The clinical placement is a minimum of 16 weeks in a real work place setting. The reasons for choosing an accredited program is simple, national accreditation opens the most future doors. Physical therapy assistants are registered health professionals, and therefor are required to hold a state license in order to be able to practice. The requirements for eligibility often will be graduation from a CAPTE accredited program. Once students have graduated they may check with their local state board of physical therapy, and schedule an appointment to write the National Physical Therapy Assistant Exam (NPTAE). Upon successful completion of this exam, the physical therapy assistant will receive state license to begin practice.

4. Strong Salary

This one we save for last, but for many it can be the main reason for choosing this profession over other medical assisting professions. Yes we have told you there is excellent demand for this profession in the next 7-8 years, yes we have told you that there is a very high level of job satisfaction, but what about the physical therapy assistant salary? well a physical therapy assistant (PTA) salary in 2010 had a median average of over $49 000 according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Depending on the industry you choose will depend on what you will receive in compensation, the top 3 paying physical therapy assistant job settings are (Top being the highest wages)

  1. Home Health Care Physical Therapy (going right to the patients)
  2. Old Age home Physical Therapy (working with the elderly who are in need of these services
  3. General or Surgical Hospitals (pay around the national average, but offer excellent benefits)

currently about 10% of PTA’s earn over $63 000 per year in this career. Depending on the state in which one works, the level of demand, the cost of living, you will find that in each state the numbers can fluctuate from the median average. Some States have an average salary of $36 000, while some states such as Texas and California have average physical therapy assistant wages of around or over $60 000 per year on average. Overall though this is an excellent paying career, and working as a physical therapy assistant offers one many benefits that make it a smart career to choose.

If you are ready for a real career, with strong job prospects, then you should definitely consider the career of a physical therapy assistatant. Please browse the site, and ask questions for any further information you require.