A career in physical therapy is rewarding! Physical therapy assistants are health care professionals that are certified and highly educated that help patients with regaining mobility and managing injuries. What physical therapy assistants do helps to eliminate the need for long term taking of prescription medication or even surgery. In addition, physical therapy assistants help in teaching preventative care and educate their patients on how to handle their current condition and plan for long term positive health. Opportunities are plentiful and physical therapy assistants can work in any number of clinical settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, private practice, schools sports facilities, fitness organizations and nursing homes to name a few. Getting to become a certified physical therapy assistant is not an easy task but for those that are motivated and disciplined pursuing a career as a physical therapy assistant is lucrative and rewarding.
Physical Therapy Assistant Schools in Tennessee
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- Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant
What Does a McKenzie TN Physical Therapy Assistant Do?
Pursuing a career as a physical therapy assistant is exciting. With years of scientific and theoretical history, the field of physical therapy focuses on restoring patients, maintenance and the promotion of positive health choices for the future. Physical therapy assistants serve a variety of medical needs including:
- Aiding in diagnosis and managing dysfunctional movement and the enhancement of functional and physical abilities.
- Aiding in the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of maximum physical health function with fitness and wellness to ensure quality of life
- Helping in the prevention of symptoms and the progression of injury or impairment, disabilities, functional limitations that are the result of injuries, conditions, diseases or disorders
Physical therapy assistants are community leaders and assume leadership and supportive responsibilities in health maintenance, the promotion of good health, fitness, wellness and prevention. Part of the responsibilities of physical therapy assistants include:
- Helping in conducting systems reviews
- Taking client history
- Conducting tests and measurements to identify possible and existing problems
- Helping in the provision of interventions and modifying interventions to meet the new needs of their clients
- Develop, evaluate and review discharge plans
Physical Therapy Assistant Levels, Training, and Scope of Care
In order to be considered for a physical therapy assistant program, most programs of study require at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. During the course of study, physical therapy assistant candidates will take many courses that help to build the foundational knowledge necessary in becoming a certified physical therapy assistant. Some of the classes a student can expect to take include:
- Clinical reasoning
- Musculoskeletal, metabolic and endocrine
- Evidence based practice
- Ethics and values
- Management sciences
Most schools offer a two year program resulting in an associate’s degree. In addition to course work, students are expected to gain practical experience in a clinical setting. The hands on experience is necessary to ensure each candidate can transfer what they have learned from the classroom into real world experiences.
In considering a program of study, not only should the course work be taking into consideration but also the kind of program that is offered, whether it is an accredited program, the kinds of opportunities for clinical training and clinical education are available, the caliber of faculty and their investment in the program, student demographics, the facilities, campus, size of the program, licensure pass rates and the kinds of degrees that are awarded. The kind of support that is offered to the student body is also vital to a successful academic career as a physical therapy assistant.
Physical Therapy Assistant Career Outlook
The outlook for physical therapists according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is promising and above the national average for many occupations. In 2010, the median average salary for a certified physical therapy assistant was $37,710 annually or roughly $18.13 per hour. There is also an expectation that there will be a significant rise in the number of physical therapy assistants over the course of the next 10 years upwards of 45% from 114,400 in 2010 to a project 160,000 plus by 2020. Because of the fact that baby boomers are coming of age, the demand for physical therapists and their assistants will consistently be high because baby boomers tend to stay active throughout their lives. Chronic pain and injuries are not age specific and rehabilitation and treatment is the service physical therapy assistants provide to their patients.
How Do I Become a Certified Physical Therapy Assistant?
Becoming a certified physical therapy assistant is an extensive process but for those that are dedicated and determined it is certainly manageable. After successful completion of the associate degree program and taking the necessary tests as outlined by the state, many physical therapy assistant candidates keep up with changes and advancements in the field by taking additional courses and gaining more hands on experience.
There are many physical therapists that go on to pursue specialty certification. Just like other physical therapists, those who specialize require knowledgeable assistants in their practice. Although not required to become licensed and certified holding a certification through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties does add respectable impact to a candidate’s list of achievements. As indicated, specialty certification is a voluntary process but being a board certified specialist in geriatrics, neurology, pediatrics, pulmonary and cardiovascular or clinical electrophysiology does set a candidate apart from the competition. Having the opportunity to work as an assistant to a board certified specialist also adds credibility to that of the physical therapist assistant.
The McKenzie TN Physical Therapy Assistant
Whether you plan to stay and work in McKenzie TN or move elsewhere your McKenzie TN the potential to maintain a lucrative and exciting career as a physical therapy assistant can be done. Knowing what the state you are interested in practicing in requires is an important step. It is just as important as making sure to pick the right school, making sure the school is accredited by the CAPTE and passing the necessary examinations for certification. All of the academic work is more than worth it when you consider the great impact physical therapy assistants have on their patients and the community at large. Having the opportunity to work alongside some of the brightest minds in the field of physical therapy is an opportunity of a lifetime and well worth the sacrifice.
Physical therapy assistants are educated, knowledgeable, self assured, service oriented and focused on the critical needs of their patients. Physical therapy assistants are an integral part of the medical community and provide much need service to patients suffering with injuries that limit functionality and mobility. Preventative services and education are also an important part of the invaluable services physical therapy assistants provide. If you are dedicated, hard working and enthusiastic about helping others, then considering a career in physical therapy may be for you.
Links that help you in your search for a career in physical therapy as a physical therapy assistant are as follow: