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Career Tips & Advice

What Do Physical Therapist Assistants Do?

Concorde Staff

Concorde Staff

Updated December 20, 2011. The information contained in this blog is current and accurate as of this date.
physical therapist assistant

It's all about movement

The work of a Physical Therapist Assistant revolves around helping patients move, which means a lot of movement on the Assistant's part as well. This post describes some of the basic tasks and education needed to become a Physical Therapist Assistant.

As a Physical Therapist Assistant, you work with Physical Therapists to help patients develop mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or lessen physical disability. Physical Therapist Assistants perform a variety of different exercises with patients to help them learn activities such as using crutches or new exercises to help rehabilitate after an accident or surgery. Your primary focus as a Physical Therapist Assistant is to help the Physical Therapist improve patients' mobility, physical strength, ability to function at work and at play and to help relieve pain.


PTA's use a number of different techniques 


Physical Therapist Assistant programs typically take 20 months to complete. They train you to assist patients in a number of different capacities, such as:

  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Functional training
  • Mobility training
  • Ambulation training
  • Activities of daily living
  • Treatments using electrical stimulation
  • Treatments using massage
  • Treatments using heat and cold
  • Treatments using traction
  • Balance and coordination training
  • Measurement assessments of the range of motion and strength



The Need for PTA's is growing


The need for Physical Therapist Assistants is growing rapidly, as are the kinds of locations and facilities where Assistants can work: hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities and more. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011 Edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the national median annual wage that Physical Therapist Assistants might earn is $46,000.

As a Physical Therapist Assistant, you are in constant motion as you help patients exercise, gather therapy gear, and keep the patient area clean and ready. You can also work toward career advancement as an assistant manager or a teacher.


Next Steps?

Interested in learning more about our Physical Therapist Assistant program? We have a Concorde representative ready to talk about what matters most to you. Get answers about start dates, curriculum, financial aid, scholarships and more!

  1. Program length may be subject to change dependent on transfer credits and course load. Please refer to current course catalog for more information. Concorde does not guarantee admittance, graduation, subsequent employment or salary amount.

  2. Professional certification is not a requirement for graduation, may not be a requirement for employment nor does it guarantee employment.

  3. Financial aid is available to those who qualify but may not be available for all programs. Concorde does not guarantee financial aid or scholarship awards or amounts.

  4. Clinical hour requirements and delivery may vary by campus location and may be subject to change. Concorde does not guarantee clinical site assignments based upon student preference or geographic convenience; nor do clinical experiences guarantee graduation, post-clinical employment or salary outcomes.

  5. Registration and certification requirements for taking and passing these examinations are not controlled by Concorde, but by outside agencies, and are subject to change by the agency without notice. Therefore, Concorde cannot guarantee that graduates will be eligible to take these exams, at all or at any specific time, regardless of their eligibility status upon enrollment.