Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are one of the fastest-growing careers in the U.S.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth rate for physical therapist assistants and aides between 2021 and 2031 is a robust 24% — nearly five times higher than the average expected growth for all occupations (5%).

And no wonder. This field is rewarding and well-paid, and the variety of locations where a physical therapy assistant can work is wide.

What Are the Main Duties of a Physical Therapy Assistant?

At its core, a physical therapist assistant’s role is helping patients get a little healthier every day. However, the job also has its fair share of administrative duties.

Physical Therapist Assistant Job Duties Checklist

  • Providing physical therapy under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, including through manual exercises and assisting patients in performing physical activities
  • Assessing patient health through interviews and physical examinations
  • Reviewing patient evaluations and test results
  • Obtaining, updating, and studying patient therapy histories
  • Documenting services provided in patient records
  • Identifying patient care issues
  • Instructing patients on therapeutic exercise regimens, wellness, and health maintenance
  • Helping patients use supportive devices and therapy equipment, such as canes, crutches, and prostheses
  • Meeting production objectives for physical therapy rendered
  • Maintaining a safe and clean working environment
  • Ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and the standards of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
  • Staying current with health science and industry innovations by engaging in physical therapy education, reading industry publications, and participating in professional organizations


Physical Therapist Assistant Skills

Administrative skills may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a physical therapy assistant job, but they are essential to the role. Good organization, basic office, documentation, and computer skills, and experience working with healthcare administration & physical therapy software are necessary.

Excellent communication, especially listening and oral, is also paramount. A physical therapist assistant spends a lot of one-on-one time with patients. They should be able to explain the various physiological terms, physical therapy treatment plans, exercises, and procedures in a clear and accessible way.

PT aides often work with patients in pain, so they must be caring, compassionate, and empathetic. They must also be able to motivate patients to participate actively in their journeys toward better health.

Last but not least, a physical therapist assistant job involves a lot of decision-making. PTAs make important decisions about patient care and practice administration daily, albeit under the supervision of a licensed therapist.

Physical Therapist Assistant Job Description Template #1

Job Summary

XYZ Health is a boutique medical practice in [LOCATION, STATE,] looking for a full-time licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) to add to its growing team. The successful candidate will be responsible for providing a full range of physical therapy therapeutic interventions under the supervision of a Licensed Physical Therapist (LPT).

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Interviewing patients and performing physical examinations
  • Taking and updating patient therapy histories
  • Documenting patient services
  • Administering manual exercises
  • Instructing patients in performing physical activities, including manual and non-manual exercises, ambulatory functional activities, and daily activities
  • Maintaining a safe and clean environment
  • Ensuring compliance with all applicable rules and regulations


Requirements and Qualifications

  • Associate degree from a PTA program
  • State-administered exam or National Physical Therapy Exam by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
  • Physiological and anatomical knowledge
  • Organization skills
  • Document skills
  • Excellent communication
  • Bedside manner


Physical Therapist Assistant Job Description Sample #2

Job Summary

ABC Health is a modern, forward-thinking medical practice in [LOCATION, STATE,] that aims to provide its patients with the highest-quality and most innovative care. ABC Health is looking to add two full-time Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) to its expert team. The new hires will be working under the supervision of an in-house Registered Physical Therapist (RPT).

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Providing physical therapy services and therapeutic interventions under the supervision and guidance of a registered physical therapist
  • Interviewing patients and performing physical examinations
  • Implementing and modifying each patient’s treatment plan as directed by an RPT
  • Monitoring and documenting patients’ progress and response to treatment
  • Maintaining and updating patient records, charts, and other medical documentation
  • Maintaining a safe and hygienic practice environment
  • Engaging in continuing education
  • Other PTA duties as assigned


Requirements and Qualifications

  • Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) associate degree
  • Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) state license
  • American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) license verification
  • Current health certificate
  • Current CPR card
  • Current PPD or chest x-ray
  • Completion of screening test with a minimum score of 80%


How Much Do Physical Therapy Assistants Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, there were 93,660 PTAs in the United States. The median hourly wage was $29.42, and the median annual wage was $61,180. Those in the 90th percentile earned $80,170 per year.

The industry with the most PTA jobs was offices of other health practitioners (41,730), but the highest-paying one was home health care services, with an annual mean wage of $75,130, followed by nursing care facilities ($69,890) and continued care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly ($69,530).

Employment rates vary across states. Texas (7,690), Florida (6,910), and California (6,780) had the most PTAs. California PTAs also had the highest annual mean wage — $73,150. Rhode Island ($70,690) and New Jersey ($70,450) came in second and third, respectively.

Current estimates expect demand for physical therapist assistant jobs to grow by 24% by 2031, due in large part to the needs of an aging population.

Popular Working Environments for Physical Therapy Assistants

  • Rehabilitation centers: Rehabilitation physical therapy focuses on more serious conditions. Rehabilitation PTAs work mainly with patients with disabilities, severe injuries, or chronic illnesses in rehab centers in specialized clinics or nursing and assisted living facilities.
  • Outpatient clinics: Outpatient PTAs work with patients who are mobile enough to leave their homes to attend outpatient physical therapy.
  • Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs): PTAs in a skilled nursing facility help patients with varying levels of mobility, including wheelchair users or those who need a walker. SNF physical therapy focuses on maintaining or restoring lost physical function after a serious injury or illness.
  • Extended care facilities: Physical therapy for patients in long-term care focuses on maintaining the highest possible level of function.
  • Sports training facilities: Sports PTAs help professional athletes prevent and recover from training-related injuries.
  • Hospitals: Hospital PTAs usually specialize in acute care physical therapy and work with patients recovering after surgery or severe illnesses and trauma, such as strokes or sepsis.
  • Homes: Home health PTAs work with patients whose conditions prevent them from leaving their homes to access outside services.
  • Schools: School PTAs work primarily with children with injuries or disabilities in learning environments.
  • Occupational environments: An occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant provides patients with basic life support to perform daily living activities.
  • Fitness centers: PTAs working in gyms help customers prevent and recover from sports-related injuries.


Level Up Your Physical Therapy Services With Weave

Whether you’re thinking of becoming a physical therapist assistant or recruiting one for your practice, Weave offers everything you need to keep in touch with your physical therapy patients.

The built-in phone system integrates seamlessly with your EHR/EMR system, allowing you to send automated appointment reminders, manage schedules, handle payments, request reviews, collect patient data, and much more through one user-friendly platform.

Getting started with Weave is easy. Just schedule a demo to see the platform in action. We’ll take it from there.