This article will provide some info on how to become a physical therapist assistant. Physical therapy is a health care specialty that deals with diagnosing and treating disorders of the human musculoskeletal system and its ultimate goal is to restore a patient’s health as much as possible.
Physical therapists are licensed health care professionals and they have master’s (or higher) degree in physical therapy. Physical therapists have to evaluate, diagnose, and manage the physical therapy treatment plan, which should be customized to each individual’s needs. Patients can be of any age, from babies to elderly people and all of them can benefit from it, whether they have a sport injury, muscular illness or an orthopedic problem. That means that physical therapist assistants can work in hospitals, private practices, schools, sports and fitness facilities, and nursing homes.
What Do Physical Therapist Assistants Do?
Physical therapist assistants assist the physical therapist in the treatment of people of all ages, who have medical problems that limit their abilities to move or to perform their daily activities. If someone wants to become a physical therapist assistant, he or she will need an associate’s degree to practice physical therapy.
Physical therapist assistants work in a team that provides physical therapy services under the supervision of the physical therapist. Physical therapist assistants implement the selected elements of treatment, obtain information related to the interventions provided, and modify interventions either to progress the patient or to ensure the patient’s safety and comfort.
The real work of a physical therapist assistant consists of helping patients with exercises, providing treatments (which include massages, hot and cold packs, baths etc.), recording the progress of patients and reporting to physical therapists about their findings. The most important part of the story is that they always work according to physical therapists’ directions.
If a person chooses to become a physical therapist assistant, there are many schools he/she can attend. There are more than 250 programs in United States of America only. Most of the programs are made to last 18-24 months and have certain classes to take in certain semesters. Some of those programs are set up to be shorter and last for about 18 months and they are made for those who already have a degree. If a physical therapist assistant decides to advance and become a physical therapist, there are many accredited PTA-to-PT programs all over the country.