A lot of people take pride in their work. This is especially so if it’s one where you get to make a difference in peoples’ lives. Being a physical therapy assistant does this and more.
It helps you enrich others’ lives, and yours too. Becoming a physical therapist also has its perks if you’re aspiring for a stable income. If you’re looking at how to get started, then this guide is sure to help.
Know what the basics are and the right path to start with. Here’s everything you need to know about being a physical therapy assistant and why they’re important.
What Does a PTA Do?
Before you can jump into becoming a physical therapy assistant, you need to know what it entails. It’s a demanding job that requires a certain level of dedication and commitment. For starters, it will involve teaching patients how to care for their injuries.
You’ll need to be able to show them different exercises that could help them. Form and your ability are essential, but so is knowledge. You need the ability to judge and recommend regimens specific to each patient.
A large part of this will require patience and persistence on your part. Finding ways to keep patients motivated and strong is difficult. You won’t be alone as you’ll be working with, and usually under, a licensed physical therapist.
That said, you will need to be able to think for yourself to be of most help to the patient and your colleagues. Physical therapy assistants work in various places, from hospitals and clinics to private and retirement homes. It might be your dream to become a full physical therapist with your own clinic one day.
As a PTA, you’ll have to start smaller. The salary is substantial, with an average north of $31/hour. With persistence and luck, even $68/hour is achievable.
You’ll also need the organizational ability to keep track of data. This will be important to adjust patients’ exercises and deal with insurance companies.
Knowing the Expectations
Now that you know the answer to what a PTA does, you need to understand the expectations of becoming one. You’ll need to complete a PTA program at an accredited school and take an exam, but that’s not all. You’ll need to develop a toolbox of hard and soft skills that can’t always get taught.
One of these will be your organizational skill, as mentioned above. In addition, you’ll need good computer skills and knowledge of software to do your job. It’s part of becoming a PTA to stay updated with new practices, techniques, and equipment.
PTAs will need to submit all their notes and relevant documents to insurance companies. Clerical accuracy and complete documentation are essential. If you’re sloppy with the paperwork, it will lead to headaches for your practice and your patients.
Physical therapy is also taxing work, both physically and emotionally. You’ll need stamina and strength, a willingness to learn, and a high-level dedication. The final skill you’ll need, which isn’t always taught in school, is communication.
The ability to talk with patients and give them the specialized care they need is paramount.
Look Into a Good School
To be a PTA, you need to go to a school with an accredited program to get a PTA degree. This often comes in the form of an associate degree and is necessary even to take the licensing exam. Many technical schools, colleges, and universities offer degrees in physical therapy, so you aren’t short of options.
However, this also means that it can be difficult to find the best PTA schools for you. After all, being a PTA means having people trust you, your skills, and credentials. As much as you can make a positive impact in someone else’s life, the opposite can happen as easily.
In many ways, patients rely on their PTAs, not only for their physical well-being but also for mental strength. Being able to decide and deliver the right treatment and therapy is essential. Going with the right institution to get you ready for this is crucial.
It’s more than learning the skills, but also being able to have a good network. Going with a reputable program teaches you top-level skills, gives you the knowledge, and puts you in touch with the right people. In time, you’re sure to have the experience to make the right judgments.
However, as someone who’s only starting, getting the right school will give you a proper head start. It will also help prepare you for the licensing exam you’ll need to take. A good school will help you master the basics and a specialty like Kinesiology.
Passing the Exam
Before you can put your PTA skills to work in the field of physical therapy, you need to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam. You’ll only get six cracks at it total, with no more than three attempts per year.
Being prepared for this licensing exam will require lots of studying. Study services like Therapy Team exist to help coach and prepare you for the NPTE.
Most such services are flexible enough to work on your terms. You’ll need every advantage you can get while reviewing. Everything you’ve learned during your program will get put to the test.
This can be daunting for some and lead to plenty of mental stress. Take a deep breath and know that your program prepared you. In combination with your own extra preparation, you’ll be sure to pass the exam.
Should you pass the exam, you’ll need additional CPR and First Aid certifications. Depending on the state, you may need to take extra courses to maintain your license. Either way, you’ll be able to polish up your resume and put your skills to use.
Becoming A Physical Therapy Assistant
The path to becoming a physical therapy assistant can seem daunting. The important thing is to have a clear understanding of what the job and training entails. It will be hard work and require lots of studying, but it’s worth it.
If you find yourself in need of more info on the world of physical therapy, then look no further. Our site has plenty more to offer.