Physical Therapist Assistants

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Also known as:  Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, LPTA, Physical Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapy Technician, Physiotherapy Assistant

ABOUT PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Helping people help themselves is the main goal of physical therapy. Working under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, assistants play an important part in the rehabilitation of accident victims, patients with disabilities, and employees injured on the job. To be successful, an assista ...
nt must follow a therapist's orders precisely. Any variance from the therapist's instructions could hurt the patient's chance for recovery.

Because of the humanitarian nature of this job, a genuine interest in caring for others is crucial. An assistant must be capable of encouraging a patient to work hard physically, while providing moral support to lift the patient's spirits emotionally. If you are interested in this position you should be in good physical condition, in order to handle kneeling and standing for long periods of time.

Physical therapy assistants get to work in a variety of settings, ranging from hospitals and outpatient clinics, to sporting events and swimming pools. Wherever the job takes them, it's an emotionally satisfying experience, providing the chance to share in the reward of helping people get better.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Attend or conduct continuing education courses, seminars, or in-service activities.
Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.
Transport patients to and from treatment areas, lifting and transferring them according to positioning requirements.
Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices, such as crutches.
Perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering telephone, taking messages, or filling out forms.
Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
Measure patients' range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.
Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.
Communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans.
Assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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