Physical Therapist Assistants

Description

Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.

Tasks

  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities.
  • Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.
  • Transport patients to and from treatment areas, lifting and transferring them according to positioning requirements.
  • Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.
  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans.
  • Measure patients' range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Monitor operation of equipment and record use of equipment and administration of treatment.
  • Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices, such as crutches.
  • Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.
  • Clean work area and check and store equipment after treatment.
  • Assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings.
  • Attend or conduct continuing education courses, seminars, or in-service activities.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering telephone, taking messages, or filling out forms.
  • Prepare treatment areas and electrotherapy equipment for use by physiotherapists.
  • Administer traction to relieve neck or back pain, using intermittent or static traction equipment.
  • Perform postural drainage, percussions, or vibrations or teach deep breathing exercises to treat respiratory conditions.

Skills

Equipment Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Abilities

Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Wrist-Finger Speed
The ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.
Sound Localization
The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
Reaction Time
The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Night Vision
The ability to see under low light conditions.
Peripheral Vision
The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
Glare Sensitivity
The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.

Work Activities

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment
Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Interests

Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA)
Licensed Physical Therapy Assistant (LPTA)
Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)
Physical Therapy Technican
Physical Therapy Technician
Rehabilitation Aide
Rehabilitation Assistant

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$25.08 hourly, $52,160 annual.
Employment (2008):
69,810 employees