The physical therapist assistant (PTA) is a technically
educated health provider who assists the physical therapist in the
provision of physical therapy and may perform physical therapy interventions selected
by the supervising physical therapist. The physical therapist assistant works under the
direction and supervision of the physical therapist, helping manage
conditions such as back and neck injuries, sprains/strains and fractures,
arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, birth
defects, injuries related to work and sports, and others.
Physical therapist assistants work in a broad range of settings, including
- Hospitals, Outpatient clinics or offices
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Skilled nursing, extended care, or sub-acute facilities
- Homes, Education or research centers
- Schools, Hospices, Industrial, workplace, or other occupational environments
- Fitness centers and sports training facilities
The number of physical therapist assistants employed in Florida
in 2006 was 3,856. It is projected that in 2014 there will be
5,109. This represents an annual average growth rate of 4.1
Length of Training/Requirements
Physical therapist assistants must complete a two-year training
program leading to an associate in science (A.S.) degree or
associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree, offered through
community colleges and private colleges. The curriculum may
include core courses in principles of physical therapy, introduction
to basic patient care, functional anatomy and kinesiology, and
clinical practicum. They must also have certifications in CPR
and first aid. Graduates from accredited programs are eligible
to take the state licensure examination.
In Florida, licensure for physical therapist assistants is required.
The licensure examination is administered by the Federation
of State Boards of Physical Therapy. The student must have an
A.S. or A.A.S degree in physical therapist assisting to take
the exam. Twenty-four continuing education hours are required
every two years for license renewal.
The average hourly wage for physical therapy assistants in Florida
was $24.70 in 2009.