Physical Therapy Assistant Guide

Welcome to the PTA Guide, a physical therapy assistant education & career resource. We have everything you need to become a licensed PTA in your state. A few of the helpful things that you'll find here are information resources by state such as tools and info on PTA Schools, PTA license requirements, PTA Jobs, PTA salary data for states & major cities.
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Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs Search

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  1. Enter the type of PTA jobs you are looking for (sports therapy, elderly care, home health care, etc)
  2. Enter the location where you would like to work.
  3. Checkout available PTA Jobs in your area!

Types of PTA Jobs to Search For

Search specific types of physical therapy assistant jobs above, or click your state below, to find all of the physical therapist assistant jobs available in your area. *Note that you can also search for physical therapy aide jobs using our tools. Learn more about PT Aide Jobs

PTA Jobs by State

Physical Therapy Assistant Job Description

Physical therapist assistants perform their functions under the supervision and direction of a licensed physical therapist. PTs rely heavily on their PTAs, it is important that a PTA can offer patients a complete plan of physical therapy exercises. All Physical Therapist Assistant jobs require Physical therapy assistants to apply many physical therapy techniques when caring for patients. Some techniques include deep soft tissue massage, therapeutic exercise, physical modalities such as ultrasound and electrotherapy as well as functional training.

Additionally PTAs often assist their patients to avoid losing mobility by implementing wellness and fitness programs for more active healthier lifestyles. The first time a physical therapy assistant sees a patient for the first time, they help the PT examine the individual and develop a care plan promoting restored functions, the ability to move, preventing disability and pain reduction. Then, as a team, the PT, PTA, and patient all work together to make sure the goal of the health plan is achieved, measuring patient progress, response, and safety while making adjustments as needed.

Info on Types of PTA Jobs

Acute Care – In an acute care PTA Job, physical therapy is given to patients who have been admitted into short term patient care in a hospital for a variety of reasons such as surgery, illness, disease, accident, or trauma recovery. The PTA’s goal in an acute care position is to rehab the patient to the point in which they are medically stable and they can be discharged. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Rehabilitation Hospital – This PTA job involves intense physical therapy typically for 3 or more hours per day with a patient. Physical therapy is provided to patients who have been admitted to a rehabilitation unit or facility. The PTA’s goal is to provide intense therapy to improve the individual’s ability to care for themselves. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Sub-Acute Rehabilitation – This PTA job involves less intense physical therapy treatments and rehab usually only lasts for less than 3 hours per day. Physical therapy is provided to patients who are admitted to a specific hospital that provides medical and/or rehabilitation care. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Extended Care Facility / Nursing Home / Skilled Nursing Facility – This PTA Job involves caring for and offering physical therapy and rehabilitation treatments to elderly patients. Therapy is offered to patients who are admitted to a facility for long-term nursing care, rehabilitation, and other services. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Outpatient Clinic (AKA Private Practice) – This is one of the most common PTA Jobs, or common physical therapy settings. This PTA job involves providing therapy to patients visiting a physical therapist’s office, clinic, or other health care facility most often to rehab orthopedic, or musculoskeletal, and neuromuscular impairments and injuries. Back to list of PTA Jobs

School / Pre-school – This is a unique PTA Job where physical therapy is offered in an educational setting which includes pre-school, elementary school, or even at secondary education facilities including high schools and vocational schools. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Wellness / Prevention / Sports / Fitness – PTA Jobs in these areas focus more on prevention of injuries and illnesses and less on recovery. Individuals interested in wellness come to physical therapists for therapy emphasizing illness and injury prevention as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle. This is opposed to an emphasis on treating diseases and injuries. This type of physical therapy often occurs in sports training facilities and fitness centers. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Home Health – This PTA job involves physical therapy treatment provided at the patient’s residence. The most common patient for home health physical therapy is a senior citizen, but there are also pediatric patients, and patients of all ages, with various injuries, developmental disabilities and other conditions that require rehabilitation at their home. Home health care can actually be provided in a few locations, such as: the patients residence, the caregiver’s (PTA’s) home, skilled nursing facility, a hospital emergency room, residential facility, hospice, group home, or elsewhere in the community. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Hospice – This PTA Job is not for everyone, especially not those who don’t deal well with loss. This setting involves providing physical therapy to patients that are in the last phases of incurable diseases and conditions so that they can maintain some functional abilities for as long as possible and manage or mitigate their pain. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Industrial, Workplace, or Other Occupational Environments – This PTA Job most often involves offering physical therapy services to individuals in an effort to help them return to work. However, this job could also involve a corporate, or employee benefit program, to enhance employee health, increase workplace productivity, or improve safety in the workplace. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Local, State, & Government – This PTA job consists of providing physical therapy services to military and civilian personnel. PTAs may be employed by federal agencies such as the Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA), Indian Health Services (HIS), or even the Department of Defense. A PTA may also be employed by a local or state government agency as well. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Research Center – This is a unique PTA job where physical therapists, PTAs, and other professionals perform research to improve patient care outcomes in the field of physical therapy. A PTA may perform research on various methods of physical therapy rehab treatment or even physical therapy equipment. Back to list of PTA Jobs

Physical Therapy Aide Job Description

Not to be confused with a PTA, a Physical Therapy Aide is slightly different. Physical Therapy Aide Jobs are still very similar to PTA Jobs, but there are some differences worth mentioning.

Physical Therapy Aide Jobs Do Not Require a Degree or License

Yep, that is right. You don’t need a state PTA license to get hired into a physical therapist aide job position. You also do not need to complete college in order to work in a PT Aide job position.

So what are the requirements for a PT Aide Job?

  • Most physical therapy aide jobs will require a high school diploma.
  • Volunteer work at a nursing home, or physical therapy clinic although not required, would certainly help your resume.
  • Having a passion and a clear interest to work in the physical therapy field for a long term career.
  • Taking some physical therapy courses or even physical fitness courses would help give you a competitive advantage over other applicants for Physical Therapist Aide jobs, however this isn’t required.
  • It should be noted that there are physical therapy aide programs that you can attend and receive a certificate for which would drastically help your chances at landing that perfect physical therapy aide job.

Interested in becoming either a PTA or a PT Aide? Great, we have a more detailed page on PTA and Physical Therapy Aide requirements just for you 🙂