CareerGPS

Physical Therapist Assistants
Summary Occupational Forecast Data for Physical Therapist Assistants
Employment Employment Change Average Annual Job Openings Wage & Training Levels
2018 2023 Numerical Percent New Jobs Replacement Jobs Total Median Hourly Median Annual Training Levels
382 457 75 19.66% 15 51 66 $31.25 $64,998 Associate's degree
Description: Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.
Staffing Pattern Data Forecast Data Source: EMSI (2nd Quarter 2018)

Occupation Details

The information in this section represents occupational characteristics included in O*NET which defines key features of an occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables called "descriptors". These distinguishing characteristics of an occupation are described in greater detail in the O*NET Content Model. All items are listed in descending order of importance.

  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard and assist patients as they practice exercises and functional activities.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, and coordinating treatment.
  • Measure patients' range-of-joint motion, body parts, and vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.
  • Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, and supportive devices, such as crutches.
  • Train patients in the use of orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.
  • Transport patients to and from treatment areas, lifting and transferring them according to positioning requirements.
  • Monitor operation of equipment and record use of equipment and administration of treatment.
  • Clean work area and check and store equipment after treatment.
  • Assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, and slings.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering telephone, taking messages, and filling out forms.
  • Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress, and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.
  • Administer active and passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, and heat, light, sound, and electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Communicate with or instruct caregivers and family members on patient therapeutic activities and treatment plans.
  • Attend or conduct continuing education courses, seminars, or in-service activities.

Knowledge

84%
Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
77%
Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
73%
Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
69%
Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
69%
Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
65%
English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
52%
Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Skills

69%
Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
65%
Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
65%
Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
62%
Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
60%
Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
60%
Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
60%
Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
60%
Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
56%
Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
56%
Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
53%
Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
50%
Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
50%
Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities

69%
Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
69%
Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
69%
Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
65%
Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
62%
Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
62%
Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
62%
Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
60%
Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
56%
Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
56%
Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
56%
Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
53%
Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
53%
Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
53%
Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
50%
Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
50%
Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
50%
Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
50%
Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
50%
Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.

Work Activities

98%
Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
92%
Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
88%
Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
85%
Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
84%
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
82%
Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
78%
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
76%
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
75%
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
74%
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
71%
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
70%
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
69%
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
66%
Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
66%
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
63%
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
63%
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
60%
Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
58%
Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
56%
Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
56%
Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
54%
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
52%
Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
51%
Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
50%
Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Overall Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, interviewers, and insurance sales agents.
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Interests

Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outsi
Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Work Styles

Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Work Values

Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.