Physical Therapist Assistants
SOC: 31-2021.00


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.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
78,700 employed

Projected (2024):
110,700 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Certified Physical Therapist Assistant (CPTA)
  • Home Health Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA)
  • Outpatient Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Per Diem Physical Therapist Assistant (Per Diem PTA)
  • Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
  • Physical Therapist Assistant and Nurse Aide
  • Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)
  • Physical Therapy Technician (Physical Therapy Tech)
  • Physiotherapy Assistant
  • Rehabilitation Aide
  • Rehabilitation Assistant
  • Staff Physical Therapy Assistant

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed


    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.


    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    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.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.
  • Measure patients' range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.
  • Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or 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, or slings.
  • Administer traction to relieve neck or back pain, using intermittent or static traction equipment.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering telephone, taking messages, or filling out forms.
  • Prepare treatment areas and electrotherapy equipment for use by physiotherapists.
  • Perform postural drainage, percussions, or vibrations or teach deep breathing exercises to treat respiratory conditions.
  • 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 or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, or heat, light, sound, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Communicate with or instruct caregivers or family members on patient therapeutic activities or treatment plans.
  • Attend or conduct continuing education courses, seminars, or in-service activities.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Above-the-knee prosthetics
  • Ankle-foot orthotics
  • Arm prosthetics
  • Automated external defibrillators AED
  • Back braces
  • Balance beams
  • Balance boards
  • Below-the-knee prosthetics
  • Blood pressure cuffs
  • Body-fat calipers
  • Cardiac monitors
  • Cervical traction equipment
  • Cold packs
  • Continuous passive motion CPM equipment
  • Crutches
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Digital video cameras
  • Electromyographs EMG
  • Ergometers
  • Exercise trampolines
  • Free weights
  • Front-wheel walkers
  • Functional electrical stimulation FES equipment
  • Gait belts
  • Goniometers
  • Hand grips
  • Hemi walkers
  • Hi-lo manipulation tables
  • High-voltage Galvanic stimulation machines
  • Hoyer lifts
  • Hydrotherapy pools
  • Inclinometers
  • Interferential electrical stimulation machines
  • Intermittent compression units
  • Iontopheresis equipment
  • Knee braces
  • Lavage hydrotherapy equipment
  • Lower-body isokinetic machines
  • Massage equipment
  • Mechanical percussors
  • Mechanical stethoscopes
  • Medical nasal cannulae
  • Medicine balls
  • Notebook computers
  • Paraffin baths
  • Parallel bars
  • Patient positioning devices
  • Pelvic traction equipment
  • Personal computers
  • Pick-up walkers
  • Platform walkers
  • Plumb lines
  • Portable oxygen equipment
  • Posture grids
  • Powder boards
  • Protective gowns
  • Pulse oximeters
  • Quad canes
  • Reachers
  • Reciprocating walkers
  • Reflex hammers
  • Resistive exercise bands
  • Rotating bed
  • Sacro-illiac joint lumbar corsets
  • Safety gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Sequential compression devices
  • Short wave diathermy devices
  • Single point canes
  • Sliding boards
  • Slings
  • Splints
  • Standing cages
  • Standing tables
  • Stationary bicycles
  • Stretchers
  • Surgical masks
  • Swiss exercise balls
  • Tablet computers
  • Therapeutic hot packs
  • Therapeutic treadmill exercisers
  • Tilt tables
  • Total lift chairs
  • Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation TENS equipment
  • Ultrasound machines
  • Ultraviolet UV phototherapy lamps
  • Upper-body isokinetic machines
  • Wheelchairs
  • Whirlpool therapy baths
  • Wrist splints
  • Accounting software
  • Arena Health Systems Phys-X
  • Beaver Creek Software The THERAPIST
  • Billing software
  • BioEx Systems Exercise Pro
  • Bookkeeping software
  • Client caseload management software
  • dBASE
  • Eazy Application Systems QuickEMR
  • Email software
  • FileMaker Pro software
  • Knees Software PT DocTools
  • Laboratory information system LIS software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Windows
  • PhysioGraphic
  • PhysioTools Tools RG
  • Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite
  • Scheduling software
  • SpectraSoft AppointmentsPRO
  • SpectraSoft DocuPRO
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Summit Software CarePoint
  • TherAssist
  • Video game software
  • Virtual reality game software
  • Word processing software

  • healthcare support

    industry stats

    SOC: 31-0000

    Total Employed: 3,989,910

    Average Annual Salary: $29,520