Choosing the right career can keep you from experiencing disappointment when looking for a job. With the present economic situation, there’s just too much job competition right now and very little growth in many industries. That’s why it is important to read and keep track of careers that continue to grow despite the economic crisis.
According to CNN, one of the best jobs in America right now is physical therapist assistant. It has taken its place among the fastest growing and most satisfying careers available in today’s job market. Physical therapist assistants enjoy a high-rate of full time employment, opportunities for professional advancement, and high salary as compared to other allied health careers.
According to the United States Department of Labor, the median wage of physical therapist assistants in 2010 was $49,690. Ten percent of them earned more than $68,820 and the lowest 10% earned less than $31,070.
Physical Therapist Assistants or PTA’s are already in high demand with a 1.8% unemployment rate and a 46 percent job increase expected between 2010 and 2020, according to the US Department of Labor.
As the population continues to age, particularly the large baby-boom generation, physical therapy services is expected to increase. And as they enter the prime age for heart attacks and strokes, it is expected that there will be an increase in demand for cardiac and physical rehabilitation. Aging people are vulnerable to chronic and debilitating conditions that require therapeutic services. And they will need additional help during their treatment, making the job of physical therapist assistant valuable in the industry.
Since a physical therapist assistant assists physical therapist in carrying out the treatment plans that they developed, physical therapists are expected to use more of them to reduce the cost of their service. All they need is to design a treatment plan and let their assistants implement many parts of the treatment.
A study conducted by the University of Chicago revealed that the type of job that leads to the highest job satisfaction is connected to a career that involves service or caring to others in a meaningful way.
Among the jobs cited as the most satisfying were firefighters, teachers, psychologists, and clergies. The third in the highest rank, in terms of job satisfaction, were those in the physical therapy, having more than 75% of responders reporting that they are very satisfied with their career choice.
Physical therapist assistants are frequently cited with a high level of job satisfaction because of the direct affect that they have on their patient’s health and well-being. Helping people to attain or regain the ability to walk and carry out their daily activities lead to a great feeling of personal satisfaction.
Nature of the Job
PTA’s work along with physical therapist in helping patients recover from trauma or illness that affects their mobility. They conduct exercises and massages on patients to help them recover or reduce pain.
They are required to be physically fit as their job might require them to lift patients. And in performing their job, they might need to bend, stand, kneel, and stoop for a long period of time. They may even have to help patients put on their supporting devices such as crutches and braces.
Most of the PTA’s jobs are delegated by the physical therapist. But generally, they are expected to perform tasks such as conducting ultrasound, provide electric simulation, paraffin baths, and hydrotherapy among others. They may also be required to do paperwork in the absence of an office manager.
Requirements to Become a Physical therapist Assistant
In order to become a PTA, you have to complete a two-year physical therapist assistant program from a school accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). There are online courses and a lot of schools that offer PTA program but in your choice of school, it’s important to base your decision on accreditation in order to be eligible for a license.
The PTA program includes coursework in biology, chemistry, anatomy, and psychology. It also includes kinesiology, neurological concept, orthopedics, and pediatrics. Internship is also required to complete the 2-year program.
A lot of physical therapist assistants expand their responsibilities in clinical setting by continuing to obtain additional knowledge, skills, and responsibilities in medical coding and billing, clinical management, education, quality improvement, and risk management.