If you’re interested in physical therapy but aren’t ready for grad school, a career as a physical therapist assistant may be just the ticket. But don’t get the idea that it’s an easy ride: though an associate’s degree is generally all you’ll need, the course work is heavy on the sciences.
As a physical therapist assistant, you’ll work under the supervision of a physical therapist (PT) to help patients whose ability to move is impaired, from injured athletes to disabled children. You’ll provide the kind of practical, hands-on help that can be truly life-changing.
Physical therapist assistants work with physical therapists to help patients with exercises and other therapeutic treatments, such as bathing, applying hot and cold packs, and massaging.
Working as a physical therapist assistant is not a stepping-stone on the way to becoming a physical therapist. To become a PT, you’ll need at least a master’s degree.
Strong, patient, and a clear communicator. Working as a physical therapy assistant can be physically and emotionally demanding, and you’ll often be required to give instructions to the patient.
Evening and weekend hours are often required in this line of work.