Would I Succeed as a Physical Therapist Assistant?
Physical therapist assistants work with patients to implement physical therapy treatments that are developed by physical therapists. This is an excellent career choice for those who enjoy helping others to improve their health and wellbeing. If you fit into that category, take this quiz to see if you have the other traits and abilities you'll need to succeed in this occupation:
|Does science interest you?||Yes or No|
|Are you in good physical shape?||Yes or No|
|Are you compassionate?||Yes or No|
|Do you pay attention to details?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy building relationships?||Yes or No|
|Do you work well with others?||Yes or No|
|Are you able to handle emotional stress?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong communication skills?||Yes or No|
|Are you interested in continuing education?||Yes or No|
|Do you follow instructions well?||Yes or No|
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Why Does My Success Depend On These Questions?
Does science interest you?
Required coursework in physical therapist assistant degree programs typically emphasizes sciences such as anatomy, physiology and kinesiology.
Are you in good physical shape?
Physical therapist assistants need the strength to lift, turn and physically support patients; the stamina to stand for long periods; and the agility to sometimes bend, crawl and stoop while administering therapy.
Are you compassionate?
Many patients who need physical therapy suffer from pain and may be frustrated by their condition and progress. In this career, you should be naturally understanding, empathetic and caring.
Do you pay attention to details?
Physical therapist assistants collect data, take notes, and report to physical therapists regarding a patient's progress, physical and mental condition, and response to therapy. Because the success of a treatment plan relies heavily upon the accuracy of this information, attention to detail is critical.
Do you enjoy building relationships?
Because rehabilitation often takes extended periods of time, physical therapist assistants need to engage and connect with patients and their caregivers in order to build long-term relationships.
Do you work well with others?
A physical therapist assistant works closely with their supervising physical therapist, and as part of a larger team of healthcare professionals that, depending on the work environment, may include doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists.
Are you able to handle emotional stress?
Like all professionals in the healthcare field, physical therapist assistants may face medical emergencies, uncooperative or distressed patients, and heavy workloads. To succeed in this career, you will need a calm demeanor and the ability to work well in stressful situations.
Do you have strong communication skills?
Along with the writing skills required to compile patient reports, physical therapist assistants need the verbal skills to clearly instruct patients how to perform exercises and properly use therapeutic devices.
Are you interested in continuing education?
In most states, physical therapist assistants need to complete continuing education requirements in order to maintain their licenses to practice.
Do you follow instructions well?
While physical therapist assistants may work alone with patients, they do so while following the instructions of physical therapists. Physical therapist assistants are prohibited from diagnosing conditions or altering the treatment plan of their supervising physical therapist.
How Do I Become a Physical Therapist Assistant?
If most of your answers to these questions were 'yes', you are on the right track in going on to research schools that offer physical therapist assistant programs. You will need an associate's degree in this field. After completing a degree program, you will need to obtain a state license. Job opportunities for licensed physical therapist assistants are expected to jump sharply during the next decade, especially in the geriatrics category.