What are the responsibilities of a physical therapist assistant?

You are ready for a career path that not only provides a decent income for your family but also impacts the lives of others and lets you stay active. If you always loved taking care of and encouraging others, you may be a perfect fit for a physical therapist assistant career.

In this article, we will take a look at the job of a physical therapist assistant. Our main goal is to give you all the information on the topic, so you make a better decision if you are considering becoming a physical therapist assistant.

  1. What is a physical therapist assistant?
  2. What does a physical therapist assistant do?
  3. Where do physical therapist assistants work?
  4. Required skills to become a physical therapist assistant
  5. What are the benefits of working as a physical therapist assistant?
  6. How much would you earn as a physical therapist assistant?
  7. The employment outlook for physical therapist assistants
  8. Steps to becoming a physical therapist assistant
  9. Requirements to work as a physical therapist assistant in the UAE
  10. How can Connect Health help you find a job as a physical therapist assistant in the UAE?

1. What is a physical therapist assistant?

Physical therapist assistants, also known as PTAs, are healthcare professionals that work under the supervision and direction of physical therapists. They basically help patients who are recovering from illnesses and injuries to regain movement and manage pain.

2. What does a physical therapist assistant do?

As we mentioned, physical therapist assistants work closely with a team of physical aides, physical therapists, and other PTAs to rehabilitate patients who are working to regain their strength and motion in injured or atrophied muscle groups.

They spend most of their time working one-on-one with patients, observing their recovering process, and showing them new exercises and stretches that aim to speed their physical recovery. Some of the essential therapy assistant duties are:

2.1 Observing patients

Physical therapist assistants spend the majority of their day carefully observing their patients’ progress. They take detailed notes so they can give reports to the physical therapist in charge to determine the next best step in their patients’ rehabilitation process.

Their observation work is also important to make sure patients are sticking to the prescribed routine and using proper techniques. Cutting corners does not help a patient in the long run.

2.2 Assisting patients through exercises

Physical rehabilitation can be a slow and difficult process, and sometimes the exercises prescribed to patients can often be challenging for them. Therefore, PTAs have the chance to give motivation, encouragement, and support to their patients as they help them overcome their challenges.

2.3 Treating patients with therapeutic interventions

Physical therapist assistants use a wide range of techniques to help their patients recover and regain a typical range of motion, including therapeutic massage. This special massage technique can decrease muscle tension, relieve pain, and increase blood flow, all of which are important in the healing process.

2.4 Teaching patients how to use equipment

While there is a wide array of helpful recovering equipment and tools at a PTA’s disposal, not all are very practical and easy to use. As a result, PTAs have the task of making sure each patient feels secure and knows how to use any equipment they need.

3. Where do physical therapist assistants work?

Once a physical therapist assistant has completed their training and acquired some experience, there will be many job openings available due to the surging demand for people practicing this health profession.

The vast majority of physical therapist assistants, approximately 72%, work in hospitals or physical therapists’ offices. The remaining 28% work in schools, rehab units, and private clinics. PTAs work frequently on their feet as they set up equipment and help patients.

4. Required skills to become a physical therapist assistant

Hard skills are necessary for physical therapy assistants. People in this role need to have a knowledge of human anatomy and an understanding of how to perform certain exercises and stretches. However, the job also requires some soft skills that help physical therapists work effectively with coworkers and patients. Here is a list of some of the most important skills for a physical therapist assistant:

  • Interpersonal skills: PTAs should be able to interact with clients, groups, families, and team members from different cultural, intellectual, emotional, and social backgrounds. In addition, they also have to show courtesy and display a friendly attitude towards people in general.
  • Decision-making abilities: There can be emergencies that require PTAs to make decisions on their own without calling their superior. Therefore, they must recognize situations that are potentially dangerous for the patient and react appropriately.
  • Ability to operate equipment: PTAs should be able to operate various types of therapeutic equipment and devices which involves adjusting dials, gauges, settings, small nuts and bolts, tape measures, and more, using them effectively, safely, and reliably.
  • Attention to detail: Physical therapist assistants should be detail-oriented people. They need to keep accurate records and follow verbal and written instructions carefully to ensure the best quality care.
  • Physical stamina: PTAs work most of the time on their feet. They need to bend, stoop, kneel and stand for long periods. For this reason, it is a must to be physically fit.
  • Compassion: Helping people is something fulfilling for every physical therapy assistant. When a patient is in pain, the empathy, love, and care of the healthcare assistant are always needed.
  • Communication skills: PTAs should be able to communicate efficiently and sensitively with patients. Keeping the patient engaged is also a part of the job.

5. What are the benefits of working as a physical therapist assistant?

There are lots of benefits that come with a PTA position that may convince you to choose this health career. Here we make a list remarking some of these benefits for you:

5.1 Diverse job benefits for you and your family

As a PTA, you will be able to provide yourself and your family with some good benefits. These benefits include dental and health insurance for you and your family, six months of maternity leave, paid time off for vacations, and being able to make your own schedule.

5.2 Job security and a high demand

One of the positives of being a PTA is that you will be among the highly-demanded careers. This is great news because it means that you will have job stability. However, with such high demand, knowing what job offers are worth can be difficult. Some places might offer better salaries, while some may provide more benefits or opportunities for advancement.

5.3 An outstanding work-life balance

One of the greatest advantages of being a PTA is having an outstanding work-life balance. If you work in a physician’s office, your work hours will be the same every day. Having a consistent schedule is incredible because it allows you to be at home with your family more. This means you will not miss memory-making moments due to work, and you will have plenty of time to relax after a long day of work.

5.4 Job satisfaction

As a PTA, you will get a sense of satisfaction from seeing your patients recover from their injuries. This is a satisfaction that only health careers can provide. You indeed are helping and making a difference in someone’s life.

6. How much would you earn as a physical therapist assistant?

The 2021 median annual salary for a physical therapist assistant in developed countries was $52,000. This is more than the average for all occupations. A PTA in the UAE earns on average AED 104,000 per year. The bottom 10 percent earned on average $34,000 while the top 10 percent earned more than $82,500.

After reading all of the above, is safe to say that physical therapist assistants have a strong earning potential, especially considering that this role can be attained with only an Associate’s degree. Moreover, factors such as position, degree of education, years of experience, practice setting, and geographic location can contribute to a higher physical therapist assistant salary.

6. The employment outlook for physical therapist assistants

The majority of medical field careers are growing rapidly, especially in the UAE, mainly due to the aging of the baby boomer population that constantly requires medical care, new technology improving the healthcare system, and an exponential increase in the number of healthcare facilities.

Consequently, the employment of physical therapist assistants is expected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030. This is incredibly faster, considering that the average for all occupations is 7 percent, making physical therapist assistance a high-demand job. This translates to 24,200 new openings for physical therapist assistants each year, over the next decade.

7. Steps to becoming a physical therapist assistant

Now that you have heard everything about the physical assistance job description and salary, you may be even more confident that this is the healthcare career for you.

In order to become a physical therapist assistant, the first step is to earn a physical therapist assistant associate’s degree from an accredited program. While for some health careers this translates to at least 3 years in college, PTA programs can be completed in as few as 18 months. This formal education consists of lab work, courses, and clinical training.

The second step is to build experience with internships. In addition to coursework and laboratories in your PTA program, you will also want to participate in an internship towards the end of your program.

During 2 or 3 months, you will get the chance to apply the skills you have been learning in the classroom at a hospital, clinic, or physician’s office. Not only this experience will give you points on your resume, but you will also feel ten times more confident and secure about your skills when the real work comes.

The last step is to acquire certification and apply for a license once you have finished your education. Requirements for licensing may vary from country to country, but usually, you will have to pass an exam to get certified. Once you pass the required exam, you will be a licensed PTA.

8. Requirements to work as a physical therapist assistant in the UAE

In order to work as a physical therapist assistant in the UAE, you will need to apply for a MOH (Ministry of Health), DHA (Dubai Health Association), or HAAD (Health Authority of Abu Dhabi) license

In order to apply for this healthcare license after studying abroad, you will need some requirements:

  • Finished a physical therapist assistance program
  • Complete a Basic Life Support course
  • 1 year of experience or more as a Physical therapist assistant

Regarding the DHA license, you can apply for it online. Once the application process is finished, you will need to take a test. If you pass the test, you will receive an eligibility letter that will only be valid for a year.

9. How can Connect Health help you find a job as a physical therapist assistant in the UAE?

If you are looking for a job as a physical therapist assistant in the UAE, here at Connect Health we can facilitate the entire process. You just have to sign up and apply for a PTA vacancy on our webpage. Make sure to read the job descriptions and requirements before applying for any position.

Conversely, if you are looking for a physical therapist assistant or another healthcare employee, we can help you find the ideal candidate for your healthcare business. We have a vast database of possible candidates on our webpage, where you can look for the ideal personnel that your company deserves.

Would you like to contact Connect Health to obtain information about healthcare assistant positions in the UAE? Feel free to contact us at info@connecthealth.ae. You will talk to one of our representatives who will gladly answer all of your questions.

You can also submit your CV or resume at thetalentpoint.com. We do not store information sent to contact@thetalentpoint.com.

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