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Career of the Week- Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapist assistants and aides help physical therapists to provide treatment that improves patient mobility, relieves pain, and prevents or lessens physical disabilities of patients. Physical therapist assistants assist physical therapists in providing care to patients. Under the direction and supervision of physical therapists, they provide exercise, instruction; therapeutic methods like electrical stimulation, mechanical traction, and ultrasound; massage; and gait and balance training. Physical therapist assistants record the patient's responses to treatment and report the outcome of each treatment to the physical therapist.

In most States, physical therapist assistants are required by law to hold an associate degree. The American Physical Therapy Association's Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education accredits postsecondary physical therapy assistant programs. Most States require physical therapist assistants to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam. Complete information on regulations can be obtained from State licensing boards.

Opportunities for individuals interested in becoming physical therapist assistants are expected to be very good; with help from physical therapist assistants, physical therapists are able to manage more patients. Median annual wages of physical therapist assistants were $46,140 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $37,170 and $54,900.

Additional Resources
1 .Minnesota Schools for Physical Therapist Assistants ( right bottom)
2. American Physical Therapy Association

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