Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Assistants in Birmingham, Alabama
Physical therapy assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Birmingham, Alabama area. About 1,220 people are currently employed as physical therapy assistants in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow 41% to 1,720 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for physical therapy assistants are expected to grow by about 33.3%. Physical therapy assistants generally assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures.
Income for physical therapy assistants is about $22 hourly or $45,760 yearly on average in Alabama. Nationally, their income is about $22 per hour or $46,140 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Physical Therapy, people working as physical therapy assistants in Alabama earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Physical Therapy nationally. Jobs in this field include: physical therapy technician, rehabilitation assistant, and physical therapy assistant .
There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Birmingham area, including one within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree to start your career as a physical therapy assistant. Physical therapy assistants usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a physical therapy assistant if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Physical Therapy Assistant
In general, physical therapy assistants assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. They also may, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist.
Physical therapy assistants instruct, motivate, safeguard and assist patients as they practice exercises and functional efforts. They also talk with physical therapy staff or others to consider and evaluate patient data for planning and coordinating treatment. Equally important, physical therapy assistants have to help clients to dress or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces and slings. They are often called upon to communicate with caregivers and family members about patient therapeutic efforts and treatment plans. They are expected to attend or conduct continuing education courses or in-service efforts. Finally, physical therapy assistants fit patients for orthopedic braces and supportive devices, such as crutches.
Every day, physical therapy assistants are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they speak clearly.
It is important for physical therapy assistants to observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress, and furnish results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes. They are often called upon to transport clients to and from treatment areas, lifting and transferring them in line with positioning requirements. They also monitor operation of apparatus and record use of apparatus and administration of treatment. They are sometimes expected to administer traction to relieve neck and back pain, using intermittent and static traction apparatus. Somewhat less frequently, physical therapy assistants are also expected to administer active and passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, aquatic physical therapy, and heat, light and electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
Physical therapy assistants sometimes are asked to clean work areas and check apparatus after treatment. And finally, they sometimes have to perform postural drainage, percussions and vibrations, and teach deep breathing exercises to treat respiratory conditions.
Like many other jobs, physical therapy assistants must have a strong concern for others and believe in cooperation and coordination.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:
- Massage Therapist. Massage customers for hygienic or remedial purposes.
- Physical Therapy Aide. Under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing the patient and the treatment area.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Physical Therapy Assistant Training
Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL
Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated eighteen students in 2008.
Certification in Sports Medicine: The ABP in collaboration with the American Boards of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Emergency Medicine offers a certificate of added qualifications in sports medicine.
For more information, see the American Board of Pediatrics website.
AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.
For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.
Physical Therapist Assistant
Licensing agency: State of AL Board of Physical Therapy
Address: 100 North Union Street, Suite 724, Montgomery, AL 36130-0001
Phone: (334) 242-4064
Website: State of AL Board of Physical Therapy
LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.
The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.
Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.