Physical Therapy Assistant How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) work under the supervision of physical therapists (PTs) to help rehabilitate patients who are working to regain their full range of motion and strengthen injured or atrophied muscle groups. PTAs typically work one-on-one with patients, tailoring their therapy sessions to the individual. They provide and assist patients with appropriate stretches and exercises, instruct them on how to safely use rehabilitative equipment and tools, and monitor and record their progress. Physical therapy assistants need to be caring, compassionate, and empathetic toward patients. 

Physical therapist assistants should have exceptional communication skills and excellent attention to detail. They must adhere to ethical and legal standards at all times and stay current with new techniques and exercises, and training tools and equipment. A solid knowledge of physiology best practices and standards is a requirement for this role. PTAs may work with newborns, senior citizens, or anyone in between and must be able to adjust their level of communication and care accordingly. PTAs should enjoy helping people regain a level of independence, reach their goals, and lead more active lives.

Sample job description #1

ABC Company is a multi-faceted and also a forward-thinking company that always looks for future business growth opportunities that provide our patients with the best and most innovative healthcare. We are currently looking for a Physical Therapy Assistant to add to our growing business FirstPT.

Physical therapy assistant job description:

  • Promotes and maintains health by providing physical therapy services under the supervision of a physical therapist
  • Contributes to a physical therapist’s effectiveness by identifying patient care issues
  • Assesses patient health by interviewing patients, performing physical examinations, and obtaining updating, and studying therapy histories
  • Documents patient care services by charting in patient and department records
  • Performs therapeutic procedures by administering manual exercises and instructing, encouraging, and assisting patients in performing physical activities, such as non-manual exercises, ambulatory functional activities, and daily-living activities
  • Instructs and counsels patients by describing therapeutic regimens, giving normal growth and development information, and promoting wellness and health maintenance
  • Maintains safe and clean working environment by complying with procedures, rules, and regulations, and adhering to infection-control policies and protocols
  • Maintains production objectives by noting current treatment trends and monitoring actual physical therapy services rendered to production objectives.
  • Enhances physical therapy reputation by accepting ownership for accomplishing new and different requests and exploring opportunities to add value to job accomplishments

Requirements:

  • Associate degree for Physical Therapy Assistant (New graduates encouraged to apply)
  • Have or in process of obtaining (State) PTA Licensure

Sample job description #2

ABC Company is seeking a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) to work in a school setting under the general supervision of the Registered Physical Therapist or Licensed Physical Therapist (RPT/LPT). They are assigned duties, which assist in the patient’s care for physical therapy needs.

Responsibilities:

  • Provides skilled physical therapy services/interventions in accordance with physician orders under the supervision of a Registered Physical Therapist
  • Responds to requests for service by relaying information and referral to Registered Physical Therapist
  • Implements and modifies the patient’s physical therapy plan of treatment with RPT supervision
  • Monitors patient responses to treatments and modifies it during treatment sessions as necessary
  • Other Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) duties as assigned

Qualifications:

  • Graduate from an approved Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) school and holds a current Physical Therapist Assistant License for the state in which they practice
  • Function with a minimum of 35% of RPT supervision
  • Current health certificate
  • Current PPD or Chest X-Ray
  • Current CPR card
  • Successful completion of screening test with a score of 80% or greater

Sample job description #3

Job summary and qualifications

As a Physical Therapy Assistant, you would be responsible for providing a full range of physical therapy services including therapeutic interventions in our team environment. You would also demonstrate accountability for and contribution to program development, quality improvement, problem-solving, and productivity enhancement.

  • You will communicate with the primary physical therapist and other members of the medical team regarding patient’s progress, needs, and discharge planning
  • Treat patients according to plan using conventional treatments methods using therapeutic modalities, while also applying critical thinking skills and potential alternatives to recommend to primary physical therapist
  • You will apply oxygen if needed per physician’s order. Initiate and document patient teaching including family and/or significant others

Requirements

  • Associates Degree from an accredited program
  • State Licensure as Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Experience in an acute care hospital preferred
  • Basic Cardiac Life Support must be obtained within 30 days of employment start date

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a physical therapist assistant is $59,800  per year in the United States. Salary may vary depending on the level of experience, education, and geographical location. 

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$62,950$76,950
Los Angeles, California$71,000$86,800
Denver, Colorado$59,200$72,350
Washington, DC$72,100$88,100
Miami, Florida$58,900$72,000
Orlando, Florida$54,350$66,400
Tampa, Florida$54,850$67,050
Atlanta, Georgia$57,500$70,350
Chicago, Illinois$66,150$80,900
Boston, Massachusetts$71,550$87,450
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$57,050$69,700
New York City, New York$75,350$92,000
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$61,350$74,950
Dallas, Texas$59,700$73,000
Houston, Texas$59,400$72,650
Seattle, Washington$68,800$84,150
National Average$53,800$65,750

Sample interview questions

  • What are the roles of a physical therapist assistant?
  • Would you be comfortable treating a patient in their home?
  • Do you have experience working with geriatric patients?
  • What types of patients have you treated?
  • How do you motivate patients?
  • What case management software are you familiar with?
  • What kind of equipment do you have experience working with?
  • What clinical settings have you worked in? 
  • How do you ensure compliance with laws, regulations, industry policies, and company protocols?
  • Describe your approach when meeting new patients.
  • How do you approach patients and families with expectations and status updates?
  • How do you track and measure a patient’s progress?
  • What would you do if a patient wanted to stop working with you?
  • Have you worked with patients suffering from dementia or other mental disorders?
  • What is your greatest achievement as a PTA?
  • How do you deal with difficult cases?

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