Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. They help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain. Physical therapist assistants are involved in the direct care of patients. They treat patients through exercise, massage, gait and balance training, and other therapeutic interventions.
Employment of physical therapist assistants is projected to grow 31 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy is expected to increase in response to the health needs of an aging population, particularly the large baby-boom generation. This group is staying more active later in life than previous generations did. However, many baby boomers also are entering the prime age for heart attacks, strokes and mobility-related injuries, increasing the demand for physical therapy needed for rehabilitation.
In addition, a number of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, have become more prevalent in recent years. More physical therapist assistants will be needed to manage the effects of such conditions and help patients maintain their mobility. The median annual wage for physical therapist assistants was $57,430 in May 2017.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm (visited August 22, 2018).
national physical therapy exam (NPTE)
DSU Physical Therapist Assistant program graduates are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), an important step toward receiving a physical therapist assistant license. The NPTE is administered through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), whose mission is to protect the public by providing service and leadership that promote safe and competent physical therapy practice. Please visit their website for more information.
learn more: links to the profession
The mission of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is to build a community that advances the profession of physical therapy to improve the health of society. Membership information is available here.
The Utah Physical Therapy Association (UPTA) is a local chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association representing more than 1000 members. The mission of the Utah Physical Therapy Association is to represent and promote the ethical practice of physical therapy and the profession’s role to physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, to other healthcare professionals, and to the general public through education, communication and advocacy. Student membership information is available here.