Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA)

With an aging population that is more physically active than ever before, the need for physical therapy is becoming increasingly important. Because of this, physical therapist assistants are expected to be in demand in Western Massachusetts.

Physical therapist assistants work directly with patients by helping them perform specific exercises or activities as directed by a physical therapist. The ultimate goal is to restore function, improve mobility or relieve the pain of the patient.

Physical therapist assistants:

  • Help people regain or improve physical abilities, including gaining strength, relieve pain, or improve mobility
  • Work as part of a team to develop and implement treatment plans
  • Educate and train patients, family members and caregivers on rehabilitation exercises, activity restrictions, and day-to-day care skills

 Employment opportunities can be found in:

Education and training requirements

Physical therapist assistants must hold a two-year associate’s degree in physical therapy, and must also be pass the National Physical Therapy licensing exam. Working as a physical therapist assistant can provide good experience if you wish to become a physical therapist, but this career path does require a doctor in physical therapy degree.

Physical therapist assistants are also expected to have:

  • Patience and understanding when dealing with patients, and excellent teamwork skills
  • Physical stamina in order to allow them to move heavy equipment and lift patients or help them turn, stand, or walk
  • A high comfort level working with the elderly, as most growing job opportunities will be related to or include geriatric care

Western MA Fast Facts

  • Workers in Pioneer Valley: 330
  • Education Requirements: Associates degree
  • Entry Level Wage: $25/hour
  • Experienced Wage: $32/hour
  • Learn more at VCN.org