Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) do a lot of the same work as a physical therapist (PT), but they are supervised every step of the way. They work with patients to help them with pain, illness, injuries, and post-surgery rehabilitation. They use the same equipment and ultimately can get the same satisfaction of watching a patient improve over time.
Maybe by now you are wondering why you should become a physical therapist. A lot of people choose this career because they want to make a difference by helping patients.
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Assistants play an important role in the team helping patients improve their health. They can help prepare wellness programs under the supervision of a therapist.
Many people are looking for jobs in this economy. A PTA can be a rewarding career that can help you feel happy by helping others. This field is taking off as baby boomers grow older and get debilitating conditions as they age.
PTAs are expected to see a 35% demand increase between now and 2018. There are approximately 64,000 certified PTAs working and that number is likely to rise to 85,000 within 10 years.
In addition to job growth, a PTA career can allow you to expand your options as well. Some PTAs can get additional responsibilities and the ability to make more money by gaining skills in clinical management, medical billing and coding, risk management, and more.
Physical Therapy Assistant is a 2-year degree and can be obtained at a number of colleges.
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Sonia Considers Becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant
For a very brief period of time, Sonia considered the idea of just getting a 2 year degree and becoming a physical therapist assistant. However, that really wasn’t Sonia’s way. She knew that she would never be happy working as an assistant for the job that she really wanted. For her, being a full-blown therapist was the only way to go. While it would take more time and money it was definitely worth it for her.
Being a full-time PT would also mean more money. Even though she would have to scrimp for a couple of years and save every penny she could to make it happen, it would be worth it if she was able to support her family.
Maybe her ex-husband Bill could help out a little more as well. After all if she made more money he might not have to pay her as much after she finished school. That would be just like him to only think of it from a money perspective. Even so, he did care about the kids and wanted what was best for them.
Sonia smiled to herself and thought maybe she could make this work out after all.
Since PTAs don’t have as much education or knowledge as their PT counterparts, they are not paid quite as well either. The median physical therapist assistant salary is around $38,000 per year. However, the cost of their education is a lot lower as well.
If you can’t afford the school to get a full physical therapist degree or if you simply can’t wait long enough to get a master’s and doctorate, maybe the PTA is the way to go. You get a lot of the same satisfaction from helping people without the long-term expense.