What Can You Do with a Physical Therapist Assistant Degree?
If you’re looking for a rewarding career with great job prospects, becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) could be a great choice. As part of a team helping people suffering from illness, injury or other medical conditions regain their strength and mobility and reduce pain, PTAs perform deeply satisfying work every day.
Working under the supervision of a Physical Therapist, PTAs carry out the plan of care for patients, which will vary depending on the setting and the patient’s individual needs. “Patients range from infants all the way up to the geriatric population,” says Dr. Kathleen Cook (PT, DPT), Program Chair of the PTA program at Bay State College.
Jobs are plentiful in this expanding field, which has been projected to grow 31 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than many other occupations. “There are many opportunities for Physical Therapist Assistants,” says Dr. Cook. “They can work in a variety of settings, from hospitals and acute care in-patient facilities and skilled nursing facilities to outpatient rehabilitation facilities, private practices and home health.” Common options include:
- Acute care facilities: You’ll help patients recuperating from an illness, surgery or accident regain the strength and capability to care for themselves and return home.
- Skilled nursing facilities: You’ll work with long-term, typically elderly patients on regaining mobility, learning to minimize the risk of injury while performing daily activities and adapting to the use of canes, walkers or wheelchairs.
- Outpatient clinics or private practices: While you’ll work with a wide range of patients, these settings often focus on helping patients recuperate from surgeries and orthopedic and muscular injuries or impairments.
- Sport fitness: You’ll work with athletes on recovering from sports-related injuries and promoting healthy life practices that prevent injury and/or improve performance.
- Home healthcare: Working with patients in their own homes, you’ll help them regain their normal lifestyles after injury or illness, often developing a personalized exercise program aimed at improving strength, maintaining mobility, performing daily activities independently and preventing a fall or injury.
“These are just some of the avenues open to graduates of a Physical Therapy Assistant program,” notes Dr. Cook. “Depending on their interests, there are many opportunities out there for PTAs.” Find out more about Bay State College’s PTA program, which is only two years and offers classes in Boston and Taunton, to see if this is a future you can imagine for yourself.