How to Become a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)

PTAs help physical therapists in assisting patients during rehabilitation. You will need an associate’s degree to become a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA).

Physical therapy can be quite an exciting career. Not to mention, quite lucrative too! When you decide you would like to apply to a physical therapy college, there are few things that you will need to consider. The first would be to never apply to a school that does not have an accredited status. If you want to learn if this career choice may be your cup of tea, you are welcome to take one of this website’s totally free career aptitude quizzes.

The demand of physical therapists and assistants has been continuously rising over the past decades, and a lot of individuals look forward to adopting physical therapy as a career.
However, many get confused when choosing between which one to opt for, whether they should go for the more professional and higher paying job of a proper physical therapist or the job of an assistant, for which they will be able to complete the qualifications required to become one in less time and with limited finances

Physical Therapy Assistant

A large number of routine therapies are usually carried out by the assistants themselves. The job of an assistant is to basically delegate the job of the physical therapist, and also to report on the condition of the patient himself, and in order to become one, an individual would only require to avail an associate degree from an accredited institution offering such a program. In fact, unlike the physical therapist himself, an assistant however does not really have any role in a large part of therapy.

He is only given the responsibility of ensuring the appearance and organize everything at the clinic, and might be given additional responsibilities relating to insurance and other related activities. Most such individuals are trained on job, and some even perform on a voluntary basis.

A physical therapy assistant is under the constant guidance of a physical therapist and helps the patient reduce his pain through various treatments as recommended by the physical therapist. They usually handle a lot of other work that a physical therapist might not be able to attend due to his job, and may also be required to prepare the patient for different sessions.

All physical therapy schools should be accredited whether regionally or nationally. This makes them legitimate. When doing your research, try to find out which physical therapy schools are closest to your home area. if you want to move out of state then feel free to search for the best schools in area that will suit you.

You could also do some background research on the physical therapy teachers in the schools that you are most interested in. This will give you an idea about their credentials. You should also check which other schools they might have worked at. If you are not inclined to leave your house and would rather study from home, you have a ton of options for online physical therapy schools. You will need to do thorough research though so that you apply only to the best schools. You should also confirm their legitimacy.

Physical Therapist

The job of a physical therapist is to evaluate the condition of the patient and develop a plan to treat him accordingly. He may also draft and perform the more complicated kind of therapies on his own, and in order to qualify for becoming one, he would need to undertake a masters or doctorate course for becoming a proper and qualified physical therapist in the relevant subjects. On the other hand, the job of a physical therapist assistant is to carry out and perform the treatment plan under the supervision of a physical therapist.

The Profession

Physical therapists are basically professionals at their work, and help patients who have been suffering from a chronic illness or have suffered some kind of injury which has limited their movement. They help in enabling the patients regain their physical strength and find relief from their painful sufferings. Massage therapists are quite high in demand these days due to their relative success in curing the pain of their patients.

Physical therapists are basically employed by a wide range of institutions ranging from training schools to hospitals and sports facilities. They also advise on different kinds of exercises and assess the extend of the disability before reaching a conclusion and describing a therapy for the patient. To become a physical therapist, an individual will be required to undertake physical therapy education, which would be a degree program, and than pass various certified examinations and apply for a license.


To discover if either career track is right for you, take our career aptitude and personality test.