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Summary Report for:
31-2021.00 - Physical Therapist Assistants

Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.

Sample of reported job titles: Certified Physical Therapist Assistant (CPTA), Home Health Physical Therapist Assistant, Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA), Outpatient Physical Therapist Assistant, Per Diem Physical Therapist Assistant (Per Diem PTA), Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), Physical Therapist Assistant and Nurse Aide, Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA), Physical Therapy Technician (Physical Therapy Tech), Staff Physical Therapy Assistant

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities.
  • Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.
  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Measure patients' range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans.
  • Transport patients to and from treatment areas, lifting and transferring them according to positioning requirements.
  • Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.
  • Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.
  • Assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Lower extremity prosthetic devices — Above-the-knee prosthetics; Below-the-knee prosthetics
Patient care beds or accessories for specialty care — Rotating bed; Standing cages; Standing tables; Tilt tables
Patient lifts or accessories — Hoyer lifts; Total lift chairs
Therapeutic balls or accessories — Medicine balls; Swiss exercise balls
Walkers or rollators — Front-wheel walkers; Hemi walkers; Platform walkers; Reciprocating walkers

Technology used in this occupation:

Accounting software — Billing software; Bookkeeping software
Action games — Video game software; Virtual reality game software
Data base user interface and query software — dBASE; FileMaker Pro software; Microsoft Access
Medical software — BioEx Systems Exercise Pro; Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite; Summit Software CarePoint; TherAssist
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel

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Knowledge

Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

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Skills

Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.

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Abilities

Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

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Work Activities

Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Work Context

Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Physical Proximity — To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Deal With External Customers — How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Coordinate or Lead Others — How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
Exposed to Disease or Infections — How often does this job require exposure to disease/infections?

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
100   Associate's degree

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Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses

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Interests

Interest code: SRI

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Styles

Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

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Work Values

Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2013) $25.65 hourly, $53,360 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 71,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Much faster than average (22% or higher) Much faster than average (22% or higher)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 45,100
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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