A physical therapy assistant works under the supervision of a therapist, and is an important cog in the physical therapy process. A physical therapist works closely with patients and pharmacy technician, and helps in rehabilitating patients with various physical disabilities, alleviating their excruciating pain and improving their mobility, including their treatment.
Sometimes when pain becomes unmanageable, a physical therapist in consultation with the pharmacy technician will provide medication for mitigating the suffering of their patient.
Various conditions such as pain the lower back, fractures, accidents, cardiovascular diseases, cerebral palsy, etc call for the services of the physical therapy assistant who will work inclusively with them and will help them in their daily exercises, or using therapy devices and equipment for improving their mobility.
Various therapeutic techniques such as balance and gait training, massage therapy, electrical stimulation and ways to use crutches are all responsibilities of a physical therapy assistant. Under the guidance of a physical therapist, the assistant will keep logical records and will also administer treatment, but will also ensure the cleanliness of the therapy area.
They will also transport patients from one place to another. Special clinical tasks make it mandatory for assistant to have licensure and certification. Aside from this, they must also treat patients with kid gloves, and should also have compassion for them. All in all, they should keep their patients happy all the time, in spite of their aches and pains.
Although minimum qualification for physical therapy assistant is high school diploma, but these days most of the institutions hire only those who posses associated degree accredited to some leading physical therapy association such as NTPE, CAPTE, or APTA. In the US, there are more than 240 academic and practical training accreditation programs for all those who want to study physical therapy.
For clinical portion of the training, hands on experience in the physical therapy clinic, and a certification in first aid and CPR are necessary, and for academic part, the licensing also includes subjects such as English, psychology, physiology, algebra and anatomy.
A physical therapy assistant may slowly evolve into a physical therapist, based on his/her experience, accreditation and education. Many of them proceed on to obtain specialization in subjects such as neuromuscular, cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal therapy, and pediatrics. Specialization helps a physical therapy assistant to move to an administrative position.
A fresher with a physical therapy assistant degree can easily earn an annual salary of about $33,000. With increase in certifications and experience, this salary scale would increase with time. After five years of experience, a physical therapy assistant can expect a salary in the range of $36,000-$44,000. The location of job also affects the salary of assistant.
All those who plan to work in Virginia can earn higher than those working New York and Florida. Actually, the factors such as the cost of living, and the actual demand for a physical therapy assistant are also responsible for these variations. .
Nursing homes these days pay the second highest salary followed by government facilities. One can earn a higher salary while working in home-health service facilities than working in schools, or a physician’s office.