Here is the real facts
Ever wonder what it is like to work alongside physical therapists assisting patients improve their mobility, restore their strength, and relieve pain? Below are some of the most answered questions about the field.
1. What does a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) do? PTAs provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. PTAs help people of all ages who have medical problems, or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Care provided by a PTA may include teaching patients/clients exercise for mobility, strength and coordination, training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers, massage, and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation.
2. Where can I get trained to become a PTA? To work as a PTA, an individual must graduate with an associate degree (two years, usually five semesters) from an accredited PTA program at a technical or community college, college, or university. River Valley Community College in Claremont, New Hampshire (www.rivervalley.edu ) has the only PTA program in New Hampshire and Vermont! After college, graduates must pass a national examination and then obtain licensing/certification/regulation in most states to be eligible to work.
3. What job skills are important? Certain physical skills (examples: ability to safely bend, twist, and lift to assist a patient moving from one surface to another; coordination, balance, and strength to safely guard and protect a patient negotiating stairs with an assistive device; the agility to move quickly to ensure patient safety), and certain cognitive and behavioral skills(examples: ability to collect and integrate data about patients, the ability to read and comprehend patient information, the ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks simultaneously and the ability to comprehend and effectively communicate in the English language (orally and in writing), using appropriate grammar and vocabulary.
4. What is the job market for PTAs? Projected growth from 2014-2024 = much faster than average (14% or higher). Job vacancy rate in New Hampshire: 30/year. Job vacancy in Vermont: 10/year.
5. What is the average salary of a PTA?
Median Wage: USA
Median Wage: NH
Median Wage: VT
Information sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, www.apta.org.
To learn more: contact Laurie Clute, PT, MS
Director, PTA Program
River Valley Community College
1 College Place
Claremont, NH 03743