Where a PTA Can Work

physical therapist assistant

A benefit of being a Physical Therapist Assistant is the flexibility to work in a variety of settings.

The vast majority of PTAs - approximately 72 percent - work in hospitals or privately-owned physical therapy practices. Others work in home health, school, and rehab units. Twenty-eight percent of PTAs work part-time.

We wanted to show our Physical Therapist Assistant students all the different options they'll have when they graduate. So, Kimberly Novak, PT DPT MBA, Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director at Concordes campus in Kansas City, Mo., pointed to the American Physical Therapy Association and the PTA work settings it lists.

Work settings for the Physical Therapist Assistant

Acute care - Physical therapy is provided to individuals admitted to a hospital for short-term patient care. Reasons include illness, surgery, accident or recovery from trauma. The goal is to discharge the patient as soon as he or she is medically stable.

Rehab/Sub Acute Rehab - This could be a rehabilitation hospital, where therapy is provided to admitted patients. The goal is to provide intense therapy until the patient can take care of his or herself. Or, it could be sub-acute rehab, which provides less intense rehab (typically fewer than three hours per day).

Extended care facility/nursing home/skilled nursing facility - Physical therapy is provided in a facility that cares for elderly patients and provides long-term care and rehabilitation.

Outpatient clinic - Individuals visit a physical therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant in private practice to address a specific injury or impairment.

School/pre-school - Physical therapy in an educational environment, including pre-school, elementary or secondary education facilities.

Wellness/prevention/sports/fitness - This approach to health care emphasizes preventing illness and injury. It promotes a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to emphasizing treatment of diseases. Settings include, but aren't limited to, fitness centers and sports training facilities.

Other work settings for the Physical Therapist Assistant

Home health - Physical therapy is provided in the patient's place of residence. While the majority of patients are senior citizens, there also are pediatric patients with developmental disabilities. There are other conditions and individuals of all ages who need rehab because of injury or other causes. Home care may actually be provided in the patient's residence. Other locations include the caregiver's home, a hospital emergency room, skilled nursing facility, residential facility, group home, hospice or elsewhere in the community.

Hospice - Physical therapy is provided to patients in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may maintain functional abilities for as long as possible and manage pain.

Industrial, workplace or other occupational environments - Physical therapy is provided to individuals primarily to help them return to work or for the purpose of enhancing employee health, improving safety and increasing productivity in the workplace.

Local, state and federal government - Physical therapy is provided to civilians and military personnel.

Research center - Physical therapists and other professionals conduct research to improve patient/client care outcomes and support the body of knowledge in the field of physical therapy.

So, if you're out there looking at how to become a Physical Therapist Assistant, think about all the choices you'll have as a future workplace and consider the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Concorde!

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