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Cardiovascular Physical Therapy Assistant Job Information

Cardiovascular physical therapy assistants help physical therapists work with patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke, or who have or are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Find out about the job duties, education requirements, and skills necessary to work in this career field.

Career Definition for a Cardiovascular Therapy Assistant

Cardiovascular physical therapy assistants help patients maintain and improve their overall health, coordination, and endurance through strength training and other cardiac rehabilitation programs. Cardiovascular physical therapy assistants may find work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and outpatient treatment centers and may work with physical therapists who specialize in cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation.

Education Associate degree required, state licensing and national certification can follow
Job Skills Communication, record keeping, computer skills, interpersonal ability
Median Salary (2017)* $57,430 for physical therapy assistants
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 31% for physical therapy assistants

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Cardiovascular physical therapy assistants typically need an associate's degree in physical therapy or cardiovascular technology. After completing a 2-year course of study in a physical therapy assisting, cardiovascular physical therapy assistants can pursue state licensure and national certification. Cardiovascular physical therapy assistants study anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, biomechanics, psychology, rehabilitation techniques, and physical therapy skills.

Skills Required

Cardiovascular physical therapy assistants need strong communication skills, record keeping skills, computer skills, and interpersonal skills. They also need the ability to lead and motivate others, as well as physical stamina and endurance because this is a physically demanding job.

Career and Economic Outlook

Cardiovascular physical therapy assistants can look forward to positive job growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that jobs for physical therapy assistants will increase by 31% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average rate for all occupations. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for physical therapy assistants was $57,430 in May 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Check out these other choices in healthcare support careers:

Psychiatric Technician

Like physical therapy assistants, psychiatric technicians can work directly with patients under the guidance of a licensed therapist or physician. These technicians assist patients with all types of activities, including therapeutic exercises, and they may administer medication in some circumstances. Psychiatric technicians typically work in hospitals or facilities dedicated to mental health. A postsecondary certificate or 2-year degree may be required for employment as a psychiatric technician, and most states do not require licensure as of 2017, according to the BLS. In May 2017, the BLS reported that psychiatric technicians earned a median annual salary of $31,670. The BLS projects that job openings for these technicians will increase by 6% during the 2016-2026 decade.

Medical Assistant

Those who are interested in a medical-related career but want a shorter training period may want to consider becoming a medical assistant. Medical assistants are supervised by licensed physicians and perform tasks in a medical office, such as taking medical histories, answering phones and administering injections. Medical assistants may receive on-the-job training, though certificate and associate's degree programs in medical assisting are available. The median annual salary for medical assistants was $32,480 in May 2017, according to the BLS. The BLS projects that this career field will grow by 29%, much faster than average, during the 2016-2026 decade.


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