Typically, PTAs work full time. There are some, but not many, part time jobs. PT offices must be staffed on weekends and evenings to accommodate clients' schedules.
A degree and license allows one to be a physical therapist but it does not make one good at this job. For that you need certain characteristics. You must be compassionate. Your patients, many of whom are struggling to recover from illnesses and injuries, are relying on you to help them and you should enjoy doing so. For treatment to be successful, health care providers must keep accurate records and follow instructions to the letter. Therefore attention to detail is imperative. Good interpresonal skills will help with your interactions with clients and colleagues. Spending hours on your feet and moving around a lot can be exhausting but as a physical therapist assistant, that is what you will be doing. If you don't have physical stamina, you will be unable to withstand this. You need manual dexterity to provide therapy and help patients with their exercises.
Use the Salary Calculator at Salary.com to find out how much physical therapist assistants and physical therapist aides currently earn in your city.
A Day in a Physical Therapist Assistant's Life:
On a typical day a physical therapist assistant will:
- receive instructions from a physical therapist
- treat patients using massage and stretching
- assist patients with exercises prescribed by a physical therapist
- instruct patients and their caregivers in doing exercises at home
- observe patients during treatment
- instruct and supervise physical therapist aides
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm (visited December 19, 2012).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Physical Therapist Assistants, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/details/31-2021.00 (visited December 19, 2012).