A Typical Workday for a Physical Therapy Assistant

Job prospects are expected to be highly favorable for aspiring physical therapy assistants over the coming decade. Let's take a look at a typical workday for a physical therapy assistant.

Posted in Types of Physical Therapy Work

America is in the midst of the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression. The unemployment rate for June 2012 was 8.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and forecasters predict that this staggeringly high rate will remain unchanged for July 2012. One of the few industries that has been able to withstand the sluggish economy has been the healthcare industry. The promising field of physical therapy assisting is in the top 10 fastest growing segments within this industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for qualified physical therapy assistants will increase by approximately 45 percent through 2020, which far outpaces the average growth rate for other occupational fields.

Physical therapy assistants work under the direct supervision of physical therapists and are part of a team that also includes doctors, occupational therapists and social workers. Physical therapy assistants utilize treatment procedures to help patients who are recovering from injuries, illnesses and surgeries manage pain and regain mobility. Working as a physical therapy assistant can be incredibly challenging and demanding, but an extremely rewarding and gratifying one. It requires patience, compassion and the ability to rapidly adjust to new challenges and situations. If you believe you could succeed in the field of physical therapy assisting, you can complete an accredited physical therapist program to earn your associate's degree. You can then proceed to earn state licensure once you've graduated.

You may also be interested in getting a taste of what a typical workday for a physical therapy assistant looks like. We're here to fill you in.

The Setting: According to the College of Central Florida Physical Therapy Assistant Program, physical therapy assistants can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient offices, private practices, nursing homes, home health agencies and schools. In many settings, the physical therapist does not have to be on site while the physical therapy assistant is treating patients.

The Hours: Aspiring physical therapy assistants can expect to work shifts that last between 8am to 5pm. Hospitals and nursing homes may require physical therapy assistants to work weekends as well. Generally, these settings will require physical therapy assistants to work weekends on a rotating schedule. Physical therapy assistants typically begin their day by reviewing the patients they will be encountering during the day and preparing for various procedures that must be performed.

Procedures and Interventions: Physical therapy assistants spend a great deal of time on their feet and lifting heavy objects during a typical workday. According to the College of Central Florida Physical Therapy Assistant Program, some of the interventions that physical therapy assistants may provide include the following: Therapeutic exercise, transfer training, gait training, modalities, wound care, therapeutic massage and patient education. Physical therapy assistants must remember to properly document all procedures and interventions.

End of the Day: As you can probably imagine, a typical workday progresses very rapidly for physical therapy assistants. Physical therapy assistants can feel proud at the end of a busy day knowing that they provided important medical services to their patients.

If you are considering pursuing a career in physical therapy assisting, hopefully this gives you a taste of what a typical workday for physical therapy assistants looks like.