Details 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
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
Tools used in this occupation:
- Arm orthopedic softgoods — Slings
- Automated external defibrillators AED or hard paddles — Automated external defibrillators AED
- Back or lumbar or sacral orthopedic softgoods — Back braces; Sacro-illiac joint lumbar corsets
- Balance beams or boards or bolsters or rockers for rehabilitation or therapy — Balance beams; Balance boards
- Blood pressure cuff kits — Blood pressure cuffs
- Canes or cane accessories — Quad canes; Single point canes
- Cardiac output CO monitoring units or accessories — Cardiac monitors
- Chest percussors — Mechanical percussors
- Continuous passive motion CPM devices or accessories — Continuous passive motion CPM equipment
- Crutches or crutch accessories — Crutches
- Desktop computers
- Digital camcorders or video cameras — Digital video cameras
- Digital cameras
- Electric vibrators for rehabilitation or therapy — Massage equipment
- Electromyography EMG units or accessories — Electromyographs EMG
- Electrotherapy combination units — Interferential electrical stimulation machines; Iontopheresis equipment
- Ergometer — Ergometers
- Exercise trampolines
- Full body immersion hydrotherapy baths or tanks — Hydrotherapy pools; Whirlpool therapy baths
- Gait belts for rehabilitation or therapy — Gait belts
- Galvanic or faradic stimulators — High-voltage Galvanic stimulation machines
- Goggles — Safety goggles
- Head or neck traction supplies — Cervical traction equipment
- Hydrotherapy bath or tank accessories — Lavage hydrotherapy equipment
- Knee brace or support — Knee braces
- Lower body resistance machines — Lower-body isokinetic machines
- Lower extremity prosthetic devices — Above-the-knee prosthetics; Below-the-knee prosthetics
- Mats or platforms for rehabilitation or therapy — Hi-lo manipulation tables
- Medical acoustic stethoscope or accessory — Mechanical stethoscopes
- Medical nasal cannulae
- Medical staff isolation or cover gown — Protective gowns
- Medical staff isolation or surgical masks — Surgical masks
- Neuromuscular stimulators or kits — Functional electrical stimulation FES equipment
- Notebook computers
- Orthopedic splint systems — Splints; Wrist splints
- Orthotics or foot care products — Ankle-foot orthotics
- Oxygen therapy delivery system products accessories or its supplies — Portable oxygen equipment
- Parallel bars for rehabilitation or therapy — Parallel bars
- Patient care beds or accessories for specialty care — Rotating bed; Standing cages; Standing tables; Tilt tables
- Patient height rulers — Posture grids
- Patient lifts or accessories — Hoyer lifts; Total lift chairs
- Patient shifting boards or accessories — Sliding boards
- Patient stretchers or stretcher accessories — Stretchers
- Pedal exercisers for rehabilitation or therapy — Stationary bicycles
- Pelvis or back traction supplies — Pelvic traction equipment
- Personal computers
- Physiological recorders — Inclinometers
- Plumb bobs — Plumb lines
- Positioning devices — Patient positioning devices
- Powder boards for rehabilitation or therapy — Powder boards
- Protective gloves — Safety gloves
- Pulse oximeter units — Pulse oximeters
- Reachers for the physically challenged — Reachers
- Reflex hammers or mallets — Reflex hammers
- Resistive exercise bands or putty or tubing or accessories for rehabilitation or therapy — Resistive exercise bands
- Short wave diathermy units — Short wave diathermy devices
- Skinfold calipers — Body-fat calipers
- Tablet computers
- Therapeutic balls or accessories — Medicine balls; Swiss exercise balls
- Therapeutic heating or cooling pads or compresses or packs — Cold packs; Therapeutic hot packs
- Therapeutic paraffin baths or accessories — Paraffin baths
- Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation units — Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation TENS equipment
- Treadmill exercisers for rehabilitation or therapy — Therapeutic treadmill exercisers
- Ultrasonic therapy apparatus or supplies — Ultrasound machines
- Ultraviolet UV lamps — Ultraviolet UV phototherapy lamps
- Upper body resistance machines — Upper-body isokinetic machines
- Upper extremity prosthetic devices — Arm prosthetics
- Vascular sequential compression devices or tubing — Intermittent compression units; Sequential compression devices
- Walkers or rollators — Front-wheel walkers; Hemi walkers; Platform walkers; Reciprocating walkers (see all 5 examples)
- Weights or sets or accessories for rehabilitation or therapy — Free weights
- Wrist exercisers for rehabilitation or therapy — Hand grips
Technology used in this occupation:
- Accounting software — Billing software; Bookkeeping software
- Action games — Video game software; Virtual reality game software
- Calendar and scheduling software — Scheduling software; SpectraSoft AppointmentsPRO
- Data base user interface and query software — dBASE; FileMaker Pro ; Microsoft Access
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Medical software — BioEx Systems Exercise Pro; Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite; Summit Software CarePoint; TherAssist (see all 13 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Communicate patient status to other health practitioners.
- Encourage patients during therapeutic activities.
- Engage patients in exercises or activities.
- Monitor patient progress or responses to treatments.
- Prepare medical reports or documents.
- Confer with other professionals to plan patient care.
- Administer therapy treatments to patients using hands or physical treatment aids.
- Assess physical conditions of patients to aid in diagnosis or treatment.
- Teach medical procedures or medical equipment use to patients.
- Adjust positions of patients on beds or tables.
- Move patients to or from treatment areas.
- Hold patients to ensure proper positioning or safety.
- Assist patients with daily activities.
- Clean patient rooms or patient treatment rooms.
- Fit patients for assistive devices.
- Monitor medical equipment to ensure proper functioning.
- Administer basic health care or medical treatments.
- Attend educational events to update medical knowledge.
- Teach medical procedures to healthcare personnel.
- Inventory medical supplies or equipment.
- Perform clerical work in medical settings.
- Prepare medical instruments or equipment for use.
- Prepare patient treatment areas for use.
|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, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, nannies, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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.
|21-1093.00||Social and Human Service Assistants|
|25-1194.00||Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary|
|25-2011.00||Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education|
|29-2054.00||Respiratory Therapy Technicians|
|29-2061.00||Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses Bright Outlook|
|31-2011.00||Occupational Therapy Assistants|
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2015)||$26.52 hourly, $55,170 annual|
|Employment (2014)||79,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Much faster than average (14% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||54,700|
|Top industries (2014)||
Health Care and Social Assistance (96% employed in this sector)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
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.
- Physical therapist assistants and aides . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.