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Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapy assistants are skilled personnel who help administer tests and treatment programs under the supervision of a physical therapist. Some of their duties include training patients in exercise and activities of daily living, using special equipment, and evaluating the patient's progress. They also perform treatment procedures in accordance with the planned programs, assist the physical therapist in carrying out more complex procedures, and observe and report patient behavior to their supervisor. Physical therapist assistants also help patients perform stretching and strengthening exercises in accordance with their specified therapy program. An individual interested in becoming a physical therapy assistant must have a willingness to work with ill and disabled people on a regular basis. They must also be physically and mentally fit in order to fulfill the demands of the profession. This profession requires good communication skills, creativity, physical dexterity and coordination, organization, and self-motivation.

Work Environment:

Physical therapy assistants are utilized in a variety of work environments. Some of these include hospitals, private physical therapy offices, nursing homes, sports facilities, rehabilitation centers, research institutions, pediatric centers, home health agencies, and colleges and universities.

High School Preparation:

Students interested in a career as a physical therapy assistant should take courses in algebra, biology, chemistry, geometry, computer skills, medical assisting, sociology, English, trigonometry, humanities, health occupations/medical professions education, and physical education.

College Requirements:

A physical therapy assistant must obtain an Associate's Degree from an institution approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Graduates are then eligible to take the national/state physical therapist assistant licensure exam (PTA). This exam must be passed in order to practice in the State of Mississippi.

For educational institutions in Mississippi
offering this course of study click here.

Career Outlook:

As new technologies save more and more lives, the demand for physical therapy assistants will continue to skyrocket. As the "baby boom" generation ages, more patients will require therapy for arthritis, stroke, heart disease, and other conditions common to older people. The growing elderly population is particularly vulnerable to chronic and debilitating conditions that will require the services of physical therapy personnel. There are also a growing number of employers that are utilizing the physical therapy community to evaluate worksites, develop exercise programs, and teach safe work habits in an effort to reduce injuries. The nation's increasing participation in sports and fitness activities is yet another reason why more physical therapy personnel will be needed in the years to come.



Average Annual Salary
Salary Range

Professional Organizations:

American Physical Therapy Association
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (800) 999-2782

Mississippi Physical Therapy Association
921 Congress Street
Jackson, MS 39202
Phone: (601) 354-3629

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