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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The Top Personality Traits for a Physical Therapist Assistant

Top personality traits for physical therapist assistants
We talk a lot about a career as a physical therapy assistant. We talk a lot about how to get a degree, a license, and a job. We even talk a lot about what PTAs do at their jobs.

BUT we thought in this post we would share a little about the PTA themselves, about their character and personalities. So, if you’ve been wondering what the most important personality traits for a physical therapist assistant are, look no further.

For this post we surveyed PTs and PTAs across the country to discover the most commonly shared personality and character traits we could find. From the survey we took the top 10 most frequently answered personality traits for PTAs to create this list.

So, without further ado, here are the top characteristics of a physical therapist assistant.


PTAs go through 2 years of rigorous education and clinical trials. They are experts in their trade just behind the licensed DPT. PTAs know a vast amount about the human movement system even if they don’t have quite as much education as a licensed DPT. If you are going to be a successful PTA, plan on continuing your education and staying knowledgeable on the latest updates in the physical therapy field.

So, if you’re the type of person whose peers are always relying on you for knowledge, knowing that you have done your research, then you’ve got this characteristics covered.


As mundane as performing physical therapy 40 hours a week may seem at times. And as important as that text message waiting your response may seem at times. A good PTA remains patient when working with their clients. They understand that their clients appreciate their patience when going through therapy treatments to recover. Many times clients have waited a while to see you and the last thing they want is to feel rushed.

Patience isn’t just a personality trait for physical therapist assistants, you should develop this character trait in general to live a joyful and peaceful life and to be successful in any endeavor that you pursue.


Simply guiding patients through the motions isn’t enough. Good PTAs are astutely paying attention to their patients observing for problems. This way treatment is progressive and problems are solved. You must understand that two people with the same injury may in fact need different therapy or at the very least minor adjustments to the same therapy plan.

If you are just simply going through the motions and not astutely observing your patients then it will be hard for you to determine the specific needs of each of your individual clients.


You’ve probably heard the phrase experience is education. This is true with Physical Therapy, and so you should look at your experience with your patients as education from your educators. Treat them with respect and humbleness. In addition to learning from your patients, you should be learning from yourself and your colleagues. But most importantly be humble in your dealings with all.

Being humble is like being patient. You will find more success in any career, not just physical therapy, by developing this personality trait.


Keep a good positive perspective at all times. If a PTA has a negative attitude, then they will not live up to their potential. I’m not saying everything should be rosy, but it should be realistic through a positive lens. Learn to redirect and brush off negative thoughts, focus on progress and improvement. The more you believe in yourself and your work, the more your patients will believe in their treatment too.


Sometimes you might catch yourself spew some jargon from a textbook when you look at your patient and they are giving you a funny face. Although you may know what it meant and what is going on with the treatment, your patient may not. Try to be relatable and use language that your patients can understand – laymen’s terms.


Patients will be late and systems will go down. Equipment will break or require servicing. Coffee might even run out from time to time! Learn to adapt. Staying positive will come into play here. Improvise, innovate, find a way to make it work.


Don’t over promise your colleagues or yourself. Know your limits and stay realistic with your commitments and actions. Know when to refer someone elsewhere or to ask for assistance. You will feel better than if you try to take on a too big of a bite that you can’t chew.


You work with people. You don’t build things or service things. You help human beings with feelings recover from injury, illness, and trauma. So, yes you need to have a caring nature. You are in some ways a care taker for these people during their therapy treatments. They will need your care and help. Plus, showing you care will earn you a nice reputation, more follow ups and referrals, less law suits, and most of all more successful treatments. Boom.

Well Rounded

Get ready to be the go to person at the clinic who does pretty much everything. A jack of all trades who also happens to be an expert at physical therapy. Yep, that is what you’re signing up for. You should be an interesting person who can carry on conversation with clients and colleagues and be able to relate to all different ages and types of people.

There you go. The top 10 personality traits for physical therapist assistants. Well, does this list sound like you?

If you are a PTA tell us one of your strongest characteristics as a physical therapist assistant in the comments below 🙂

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