Physical Therapist Assistants are the individuals who provide their services in assisting the Licensed Physical Therapists. They help the patients in improvement upon any problems related to movement, functionality, or limitations in mobility. A physical therapist assistant can work in a number of service outlets like hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, et cetera. They prepare a report in which they measure the improving changes in the patient’s health and mobility.

There are a lot of roles that a physical therapist assistant dons. They’re responsible for treating the patients of all ages, be it an infant or an old person. They examine the possible inability to perform routine functionality, reducing pain while instigating movement as well as preventing the possibility of any permanent movement disorder. In addition to these functions, a physical therapist assistant also promotes the importance of a healthy lifestyle, actively.

As far as the salary and employment goes, Physical Therapist Assistants’ Mean salary is $27.21 per hour, and $57,620 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2017 data. The salary, unlike other jobs, does not increase with experience, but depends on time,  practice settings, location, and education.  The employment estimate during the same period was 90,170.

Where Do You Find Physical Therapist Assistants?

There are a lot of centers, hospitals, nursing care homes, and as such where you can find physical therapist assistants. Mostly they work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Hospices
  • Skilled and Advanced Nursing Care
  • Education as well as Research Centers
  • Outpatient Clinics and Offices
  • Homes
  • Patient Rehabilitation Center
  • Fitness Program Institutes
  • Occupational Organizations

Duties Of A Physical Therapist Assistant

There are several duties of a physical therapist assistant. Some of them are:

  • The foremost and the primary duty of a PTA is to assist the Physical Therapist.
  • They help the Physical Therapists by identifying the patient’s issues, recommending the options, assisting with the therapy, et cetera.
  • They maintain that records of patients.
  • Giving out instructions and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
  • Preparing patient management plans and handing out instructions.
  • Keeping updated about the publications and reading material about advancements in the field.
  • Sometimes PTAs also do the clerical duties, like picking up the phone, writing formal letters, filling out forms, taking down messages, et cetera.
  • Observing patients as they carry out the exercises instructed by the Physical Therapist.
  • Maintaining progress reports of the patients.

Salary of A Physical Therapist Assistant

A physical therapist assistant earns about $27.70 an hour Median salary. However, the salary of PTA can increase due to various factors such as time, education, practice settings, and experience. It goes as high as $38.17 per hour as per BLS. However, different states have different salaries. The wages of PTA can change as depending upon the geographical location. Therefore, we have specifies the mean PTA Salary per hour and PTA salary by state:

 

STATEMEAN WAGE PER HOURMEAN ANNUAL WAGE
Alabama$26.45$55,020
Alaska$29.40$61,150
Arizona$26.48$55,070
Arkansas$27.17$56,510
California$29.22$60,780
Colorado$25.37$52,780
Connecticut$29.55$61,470
Delaware$27.47$57,140
District of Columbia$29.54$43,310
Florida$30.15$62,710
Georgia$25.95$53,980
Hawaii$26.90$55,960
Idaho$21.12$43,920
Illinois$27.77$56,220
Indiana$26.83$55,800
Iowa$22.88$47,590
Kansas$25.50$54,180
Kentucky$26.05$54,180
Louisiana$22.73$47,270
Maine$24.50$50,960
Maryland$28.15$58,540
Massachusetts$30.00$62,400
Michigan$25.77$53,610
Minnesota$25.65$53,350
Mississippi$23.27$48,400
Missouri$25.64$53,330
Montana$22.32$46,430
Nebraska$21.59$44,920
Nevada$30.40$63,230
New Hampshire$28.54$59,360
New Jersey$32.69$67,990
New Mexico$23.67$49,230
New York$26.57$55,260
North Carolina$28.38$59,030
North Dakota$22.61$47,020
Ohio$28.04$58,330
Oklahoma$29.5$61,350
Oregon$28.58$59,440
Pennsylvania$25.05$52,100
Puerto Rico$11.07$23,030
Rhode Island$29.54$61,450
South Carolina$26.87$55,900
South Dakota$19.75$41,080
Tennessee$28.02$58,280
Texas$33.87$70,450
Utah$24.99$51,990
Vermont$25.36$52,740
Virginia$28.60$59,500
Washington$27.60$57,420
West Virginia$23.81$49,520
Wisconsin$24.87$51,730
Wyoming$25.46$52,950

Derived out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2017 survey, the above data signifies the different PTA salaries that individual earn per hour as well as in a year. It also shows that the highest paid PTAs are in Texas, earning $33.87 per hour and $70,450 in a year, in a mean average.

There can also be a difference in the salary when there’s a change in the institution. Different areas of work pay different amount of salaries. It is obvious that the need for Physical Therapist Assistants is more in hospitals and outpatient clinics, so they pay more than schools or gym do. Or the salary can also change with the difference in the geographical location, as is obvious from the above tabular representation. While the wages of PTA’s is higher in the states of New Jersey and Texas, and it is considerably lower in District of Columbia,Louisiana, Iowa, and Montana.

Factors Affecting The Salary of PTAs

There are certain factors that affect the salary of a Physical Therapist Assistant. Some of them are:

  • Geography: The area of practice or the location has an obvious impact on the practice of the PTAs. You must have noticed the wide increase in the salaries in the states of Texas, New York, California, et cetera. These are usually the states that hold the expensive Physical Therapist Assistants.
  • Type of Employer: There is, of course, a different in the range of wages depending upon where the individual is practicing. The hospitals will pay more than schools. With the change in the institutions, the range of salary of Physical Therapist Assistant changes.
  • Experience: Although barely any, but there is a slight variation in the salaries of PTSs, on the basis of their experience. The more experienced Assistants can earn up to $79,000 annually.
  • Willingness To Travel: There is preference given to the assistants who are willing to travel. And seeing as traveling is hectic, there is also a difference in how much they’re paid. The salary per hour of the assistants therefore rises.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for the Physical Therapist Assistants seems to grow exponentially with time. There is an expected burst of 31% between 2026-26 according to the BLS. With the increasing life expectancy and, with it, the rise of chronic ailments like diabetes and obesity, there will be a large demand for the Physical Therapist Assistants in the coming future. The starting salary and the salary of an experienced PTA don’t have a lot of difference.

These assistants not only work in a hospital, nursing homes, or clinics, but they can also work in school, as a fitness trainer, in Hospices, and the options are endless.

Traits of A Physical Therapist Assistant

  • Should be attentive listener
  • Keen and active learner
  • Interactive
  • Empathetic
  • Alert and observant
  • Responsible
  • Quick on toes
  • Decisive
  • Should perform well under critical conditions
  • Patient and sympathetic

In conclusion, becoming a physical therapist assistant is a wonderful job. The salary of a PTA is, on a mean basis, $23.37 per hour, which is a fair sum. The responsibilities are important, and it is a wonderful way to serve the community. You get to learn a lot, and there is hardly any monotony in the job.