Career Snapshot: Physical Therapist Assistants
- Employment in the occupation is projected to increase much faster than the average, reflecting the growing number of individuals with disabilities or limited function and the increasing use of physical therapist assistants to reduce the cost of therapeutic services.
- Physical therapist assistants have an associate degree and are licensed in most states.
About the Physical Therapist Assistant
The Physical Therapist Assistant program prepares students to perform physical therapy interventions under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Interventions may include teaching patients to walk, use crutches, use an artificial limb and therapeutic exercise. Therapeutic modalities such as heat, cold, ultrasound, electricity and massage are some of the techniques used in physical therapy.
Please note that PTA courses do not transfer to degree physical therapy programs. Individuals interested in becoming physical therapists should contact those schools directly to get the admissions requirements. The American Physical Therapy Association has a list of accredited physical therapy programs.
Physical therapist assistants are licensed by the State of Texas after successful completion of a national examination. Licensed PTAs are employed in health care settings which offer physical therapy services. Facilities which utilize PTAs include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, school districts and long term residential facilities. Opportunities are also available through traveling physical therapy services.