Physical Therapy Assistant

Occupation Information table
Overview: Physical therapy assistants work under the direction of licensed physical therapists. Their objective is to help patients with injuries or illness resume regular physical activities under a managed therapy program. They administer exercises and other treatments and assess patients' progress.
Duties: They instruct patients in a variety of manual exercise treatments with equipment such as treadmills, stationary bikes and weight lifting machines. They also conduct swimming exercises.

They administer massages, electrical stimulation, paraffin baths, ultrasound, hot/cold packs and traction. They measure and assess the patient's flexibility and range of motion.

They assist physical therapists in the fitting of orthopedic braces and prosthetic devices on patients. They instruct patients how to use these devices.

They monitor patient progress throughout the prescribed treatment plan and report significant problems, abnormalities and achievements to the physical therapist.

Degree(s): A.S. Health Sciences 
A.S. Liberal Arts and Sciences (Mathematics and Science) 
Job Outlook: Employment in this field is projected to grow 14% or higher from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average projected growth for all occupations.
Starting Salary: Hospital salaries are lower than those in private practice offices.
Salary Range (National Average): $28,000 to $33,000
Growth: Growth
Education Level: Training for this occupation generally requires an Associate Degree from a 2 year or community college.
Additional Training/Education: An associate degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant program is the appropriate educational background for this occupation. Most states require assistants to be certified or licensed and have certification in CPR, first aid and clinical working experience.
Recommended Skills:
  • Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Paying attention to what other people are saying, and taking time to understand the points being made.
  • Allocating and budgeting your time for different tasks so that things get done when needed.
  • Being aware of the reactions of others, and understanding why they react the way they do.
  • The ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.
  • Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Talking, giving speeches, or speaking in a group to convey information, explain ideas, or give instructions.
  • Teaching others how to do something.
  • Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.
Recommended Values:
  • Being involved in helping other people in a direct way either individually or in a small group.

* National data collected by the Department of Labor in 2014 with projections through 2024. For New York green job information .

* For New York salary data information .

* For New York green job information .

Understanding acquiring positions in this field may be enhanced through continuing academic study (i.e. earning a baccalaureate or a master's degree) and/or work experience in the field, Queensborough Community College has established transfer agreements with other institutions for students who wish to further pursue their educational goals. Students are highly encouraged to meet with one of our Career Services to fully understand the opportunities available through study in their degree program.