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Physical Therapist Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Physical Therapist Assistant, or Physiotherapy Assistant, assists Physical Therapists by providing physical therapy treatments to patients. Their duties can include assisting with assessment functions, recording patient progress, and assessing equipment suitability for patients.

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Physical Therapist Assistant duties and responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of a Physical Therapist Assistant have a wide range. A Physical Therapist Assistant’s day-to-day tasks can vary greatly, from booking appointments and following up with patients, to evaluating the effectiveness of a treatment plan. Some principal duties and responsibilities include:

  • Assisting during the assessment of patients with the Physical Therapist
  • Carrying out treatment programs under the direction of the Physical Therapist
  • Developing materials for use with patients, such as exercise handouts
  • Preparing equipment for patient use, such as mobility aids, wheelchairs, and exercise equipment
  • Documenting observations and patient progress
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What does a Physical Therapist Assistant do?

A Physical Therapist Assistant plays a vital role in the physical rehabilitation of patients with injury or disability. Working closely with a Physical Therapist, the Assistant works to maximize the patient’s ability to manage daily activities independently. Within the treatment plan, they help the patient with strength training, stretching, and other activities and exercises to help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

This role can be found in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, extended care centers, rehabilitation centers, educational institutions, and private practice.

Physical Therapist Assistant skills and qualifications

A Physical Therapist Assistant needs to develop multifaceted skills. Clear verbal communication, as well as active listening, are essential to the patient experience. Problem-solving and critical thinking are required throughout the treatment, as necessary adjustments must be recognized and accounted for. Some top skills include:

  • Knowledge of physical therapy treatments, such as traction, thermotherapy, and hydrotherapy
  • Strong computer skills that include web-based software, word processing, and patient documentation programs
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, as working within a team and with other professions is often required
  • Observation and assessment skills
  • Ability to communicate with a wide range of patients
  • Genuine desire to help others

Physical Therapist Assistant experience requirements

A well-rounded Physical Therapist Assistant candidate will have experience with a diverse group of patients, including children and the elderly. Working with Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists will provide hands-on experience of working with various types of physical injuries and disabilities. A strong foundation in different treatment protocols, including electrotherapeutic techniques, will be an asset for a Physical Therapist Assistant candidate.

Physical Therapist Assistant education and training requirements

A Physical Therapist Assistant candidate in Canada is required to complete specific training. There are two available options. They must complete a two to three-year college program in physical rehabilitation. Or there is a two-year Physical Therapist Assistant program that can be completed followed by supervised practical training. Practical hands-on experience is subsequent to the educational requirements in Canada.

Physical Therapist Assistant salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Physical Therapist Assistant in Canada is $42,700 per year. This can vary depending on factors such as experience, education, location, and the hiring company.

Job description samples for similar positions

If a Physical Therapist Assistant job description sample isn’t quite what you are looking for, other job description samples include:

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Physical Therapist Assistant job description FAQs

What is the difference between a Physical Therapist Assistant and a Physiotherapy Assistant?

This is a valid question and, in Canada, there is no difference between the two terms. Differences may exist in other countries but, within Canada, both job descriptions are interchangeable.

Who does a Physical Therapist Assistant report to?

As a Physical Therapist Assistant, they are under the direction of the Physical Therapist in charge of the patient, and as such, they would report to them. In some cases, the Assistant may also be working with an Occupational Therapist or other professional, who they would report to.

How can you make your Physical Therapist Assistant job description stand out?

To make your job description stand out, be sure to include a clear statement about your company’s values and culture. Because the position can vary significantly from company to company, being clear on the role the Physical Therapist Assistant plays in your organization will clarify the experience best suited to your posting. Providing a clear description of the types of patients and therapy techniques the Physical Therapist Assistant will be expected to use regularly.

What qualities make an excellent Physical Therapist Assistant?

A great Physical Therapist Assistant can treat all patients with compassion and empathy. They are willing to try new things and experiment to create a positive experience for the patient. They actively listen, ask questions, and are open to providing feedback and suggestions to the people they work with. They work well within a team environment as well as independently.

Job Description Examples

Need help writing a job description for a specific role? Use these job description examples to create your next great job posting. Or if you’re ready to hire, post your job on Indeed.

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