If you are passionate about helping manage their pain, a Physical Therapist Assistant career is a good option. This profession is not just healthcare, a good career choice but also a rewarding opportunity to help improve the quality of life for others.
If you are interested in this sought-after career, read more about why it’s appealing, what it entails, and how to become a physical therapist assistant.
Why do you need to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant in Florida?
There are a lot of benefits to being a physical therapist assistant. According to the U.S. job rankings, News & World Report is considered the best job in health promotion. This job profession recognition was earned by considering career factors such as salary, unemployment rate, and future growth, along with elements of job satisfaction such as stress levels and work-life balance.
Generally speaking, physical therapist assistant work revolves around helping patients holistically. They use exercise, movement, and a complex understanding of the human body to help reduce pain and regain mobility. So, if you are passionate about helping others and supporting them in their hard times, PTA is a good career option. Apart from this, let’s look at the prospects for Physical therapist assistants.
What is the job outlook for becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant?
When it comes to healthcare professionals, most people probably don’t think of physical therapist assistants as healthcare-related. But the truth is that they play a vital role in the healthcare system. This is evident in the rapid growth of the industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), PTAs will be among the 10 fastest-growing occupations over the next decade. Additionally, Physical Therapist Assistant jobs are projected to grow 12% through 2030, three times faster than the BLS’ reported average for all occupations.
Like many healthcare jobs, the aging baby boomer generation is creating a surge in demand as retirements and age-related health problems rise. Physical therapists are also expected to rely more on PTAs to reduce the cost of physical therapy services.
How Much Do Physical Therapist Assistants Make in Florida?
It’s natural to wonder what a typical Physical Therapist Assistant’s salary is. Fortunately, PTAs have strong earning potential, especially considering that these jobs can be achieved with an associate’s degree.
According to the BLS reports, the average annual salary for physical therapists in 2021 was $61,180. It is important to note that PTA salary will vary depending on experience and employer. In addition, the average Physical Therapist Assistant salary was the highest among those employed in nursing home facilities and home health care services.
Now that you know the growth and earning potential for PTAs, let’s take a closer look at the job duties and path to unionization.
What are the Roles and responsibilities of a Physical Therapist Assistant?
Physical Therapist Assistant plays a significant role in the team that works with patients suffering from limited mobility and medical conditions or difficulties performing their daily tasks. Physical Therapist Assistants typically observe their patient’s condition before, during, and after the therapy. They help them exercise, treat them with massage and stretching techniques, and educate patients and family members about post-treatment care.
Physical Therapist Assistants can assist their patients with common activities: stretching, therapeutic massage, ultrasound therapy, exercises, electrical stimulation, etc.
How to become a physical therapist assistant in Florida?
Now that you know a little more about the job and its benefits, check out our step-by-step guide to becoming a physical therapist assistant. So, let’s start.
Step 1: Get your physical therapist assistant degree.
According to the BLS, all states require PTAs to have an associate’s degree from an accredited program. Earning a degree may sound daunting, but some PTA training can be completed in as little as 18 months. This formal education consists of coursework, laboratory work, and clinical training.
For example, SABER College’s Physical Therapist Assistant Education Program combines theory, skills, and clinical training. The curriculum includes an in-depth study of anatomy and kinesiology, pathophysiology, patient data collection, and therapeutic interventions. After completing the Physical Therapy Assistant program, you will be prepared to provide care under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.
Step 2: Pass the licensing exam
All states except Colorado and Hawaii require that they hold a PTA license in addition to their associate degree. Once applicants complete the PTA program, they can take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for Physical Therapist Assistants. Once you pass this exam, you will become a licensed PTA.
It is essential to prepare thoroughly for the NPTE before taking it. Although it is possible to retake the exam, you can only take the exam three times per year or six times in total. More details about the NPTE can be found on the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website.
Depending on the state, Physical Therapist Assistants may also take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses.
Step 3: Brush up on those in-demand PTA skills
After you earn your associate’s degree and pass the NPTE, you are almost ready to begin your career as a PTA. But before you jump into the career search process, it’s helpful to know precisely what employers are looking for so you can come prepared to do your best.
We used real-time job analytics software to examine more than 30,000 physical therapist jobs posted in the past year. The data helped us identify the top skills employers are looking for:
- Treatment planning
- Patient care
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Home Health
- Patient and family education
While a tremendous Physical Therapist Assistant Program is designed to equip you with the necessary technical skills, a little extra skill in these areas will help your resume stand out to employers. You can also consider getting involved in extracurricular activities to improve your skills.
Step 4: Brush up on your resume and interview skills and start applying.
No matter what job you are applying for, taking the time to update and polish your resume will help improve your chances of getting a callback. You will also want to work on your interviewing skills as you search.
When you start your job search, understand your preferred practice areas: do you want to work with athletes? Older people? People with disabilities? While this may not be practical in all locations, narrowing your search and tailoring your resume and interview answers to your preferred area of physical therapy can help you prioritize and focus your search.