Licensed Physical Therapy Assistants provide one more level of treatment to help fulfill a patient’s recovery needs. A physical therapy assistant (LPTA) is a paraprofessional health worker who works under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. The duties of a PTA may include assisting the physical therapist in evaluating the patient, implementing treatment programs according to the plan of care, and documenting patient treatment and responses. Physical Therapist’s Assistants also help teach and motivate patients to use crutches, prostheses, and wheelchairs to perform day-to-day activities.
Physical therapy assistants must complete a two-year accredited program offered at community colleges and universities. The course of study for a physical therapy assistant differs greatly from that of a physical therapist. The curriculum includes one year of general study and one year of technical courses that focus on physical therapy procedures and clinical experience. Upon completion, graduates receive an associate degree.