Who are PTs & PTAs… and MKs ?

Posted by kineblog on November 19, 2008

Who are PTs & PTAs?
The Physical Therapist
Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.

PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.

All PTs must receive a graduate degree from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. The majority of programs offer the doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree.

WHAT DO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS EARN?

More than 170,000 physical therapists are licensed in the U.S. today. The median salary for a physical therapist is $75,000 depending on position, years of experience, degree of education, geographic location, and practice setting.

WHERE DO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS PRACTICE?

Although many physical therapists practice in hospitals, over 80 percent practice in:

* Outpatient clinics or offices
* Inpatient rehabilitation facilities
* Skilled nursing, extended care, or subacute facilities
* Homes
* Education or research centers
* Schools
* Hospices
* Industrial, workplace, or other occupational environments
* Fitness centers and sports training facilities

WHAT ARE THE EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A PT?

The minimum educational requirement is a post-baccalaureate degree from an accredited education program. While some programs offer a master’s degree, a growing majority of programs offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Currently, 199 colleges and universities nationwide offer professional physical therapist education programs; 85.7% offer the DPT and the remaining programs are planning to convert.

WHAT ARE THE LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A PT? After graduation, candidates must pass a state-administered national exam. Other requirements for physical therapy practice vary from state to state according to physical therapy practice acts or state regulations governing physical therapy.

WHAT IS THE EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY?

With just a 0.2 percent unemployment rate, physical therapists are now experiencing the best employment conditions since enactment of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

The Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs help people of all ages who have medical problems, or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and more. PTAs must complete a 2-year associate’s degree and are licensed, certified, or registered in most states. Care provided by a PTA may include teaching patients/clients exercise for mobility, strength and coordination, training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers, massage, and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation.

WHAT DO PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANTS EARN?

The median income for a physical therapist assistant is $42,000 depending on position, years of experience, degree of education, geographic location, and practice setting.

WHERE DO PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANTS WORK?

Today, physical therapist assitants provide health care services to patients of all ages and health conditions in a variety of settings, including:

* Outpatient clinics or offices
* Hospitals
* Inpatient rehabilitation facilities
* Skilled nursing, extended care, or subacute facilities
* Homes
* Education or research centers
* Schools
* Hospices
* Industrial, workplace, or other occupational environments
* Fitness centers and sports training facilities

WHAT ARE THE EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A PTA?

To work as a physical therapist assistant (PTA), an individual must graduate with an associate degree (two years, usually five semesters) from an accredited PTA program at a technical or community college, college, or university. Graduates must pass the national examination for licensing/certification/regulation in most states to be eligible to work. PTAs work under the direction of a physical therapist (PT). PTAs’ duties can include assisting in instructing patients in exercises and activities of daily living (including physical modalities), using special equipment, collecting data on the patient’s progress, and documenting and reporting on the patient’s response. There are currently 234 PTA programs across the country.

WHAT ARE THE LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A PTA?

More than 45 states require physical therapist assistants to be licensed, registered, or certified. States requiring licensure stipulate specific educational and examination criteria.

WHAT IS THE EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY?

Employment conditions for physical therapist assistants continue to improve. The most recent data indicated an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent.

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