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Here's another healthcare related career question...physical therapy assistant


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Thanks for all the responses to my question about medical technology!

 

Has anyone here worked as a physical therapy assistant? I know it would be direct contact with patients, which my dd is not sure she wants, but I'm trying to encourage her to keep her mind open to that and explore all areas.

 

I appreciate any information/experience you would have about a career as a physical therapy assistant.

 

jak

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Physical therapy assistants work under the direction of a physical therapist. They help the physical therapist by carrying out treatment plans for patients which include exercise, physical modalities (heat, cold, ultrasound treatments, etc), and functional skills training (such as helping patients learn or relearn how to walk, teaching wheelchair skills, etc). The PT evaluates the patient and designs the treatment plan according to the particular limitations and goals of the patient. The PTA usually has basic evaluation skills knowledge but is not licensed to make treatment decisions based on the application of that knowledge. His/her job is to work alongside the therapist to carry out the plan.

 

Becoming a PTA involves completing a 2yr associates degree & sitting an exam for licensure.

 

You can learn more about becoming a PTA from looking at the APTA website.

 

I am a PT, though I have not worked in the clinic for 20 years now. I hope this information is helpful to you!

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There is a shortage of PT's now. It's a great job that pays very well and is very flexible (hospital, clinic, doctor's office, school system, sales & more). She is the PT manager of her clinic and works part-time in the school system. I don't know if they use assistants in her clinic. I'll ask her.

 

She volunteered in high school at the local hospital and found that she liked PT.

Edited by MIch elle
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Tokyomarie,

 

Thanks for responding! Can you tell me what you liked about PT? What you didn't like? If you were to start over, would you still be a PT?

 

I will have to have my dd job shadow so she can see what the job is like.

 

Thanks again!

 

jak

 

I loved the work. I worked in three different facilities before becoming a SAHM. Two were rehabilitation hospitals, one was a skilled nursing facility. I worked with people with spinal cord injuries, head trauma, amputations, strokes, etc, when they had reached the point where they were physically recovered enough to work on gaining back as much physical function as possible. I liked working with people & helping them to become more independent after suffering severe injuries or other health setbacks.

 

The hardest part of my job was the kind of stuff that can happen anywhere- things like difficulties with bosses and keeping documentation up to date when short staffed.

 

It is important to consider the required education when deciding between becoming a PTA vs. a PT. While becoming a PTA requires a 2 year degree, the entry level degree for a PT is the doctorate. This program requires 3 full years of study and clinical internship beyond the bachelor's degree. It wasn't that way when I was in school; I have a bachelors degree. Because PTs now have greater responsibilities & sometimes work more independently of a referring physician, they now need to take courses in topics such as pharmacology, radiology, and clinical diagnosis that were not required in the past.

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My niece said that PTA is a good job if you like working with people and every state has different requirements.

 

This is true. Each state is different, though according to the APTA website at least 45 states require some type of licensure or registration. The culture with regards to the use of PTAs in clinics may also vary by state, but a quick overview of job listings reveals many listings in a wide variety of states.

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My husband is a PT for a large network -- well, large for our area. PTAs can work in a variety of settings -- schools, nursing homes, out patient clinics, hospitals -- I've even seen ads for PTAs for home health. I suppose it depends on the area of the country that you are in, the specific licensure (state level) laws that apply to your area.

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