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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Assistants in Phoenix, Arizona

If you want to be a physical therapy assistant, the Phoenix, Arizona area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 500 working physical therapy assistants in Arizona; this should grow 37% to 690 working physical therapy assistants in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for physical therapy assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 33.3% over the next eight years. Physical therapy assistants generally assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures.

Income for physical therapy assistants is about $20 per hour or $41,970 annually on average in Arizona. Nationally, their income is about $22 per hour or $46,140 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Physical Therapy, people working as physical therapy assistants in Arizona earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Physical Therapy nationally. Physical therapy assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: physical therapy assistant , rehabilitation assistant, and licensed physical therapist assistant .

There are seventy-six schools of higher education in the Phoenix area, including three within twenty-five miles of Phoenix 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 it will take about two years to learn to be a physical therapy assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical Therapy Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

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 Phoenix 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

GateWay Community College - Phoenix, AZ

GateWay Community College, 108 N. 40th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034. GateWay Community College is a medium sized college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,853 students. GateWay Community College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated seventy and zero students respectively in 2008.

Pima Medical Institute - Mesa, AZ

Pima Medical Institute, 957 S. Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ 85202. Pima Medical Institute is a small school located in Mesa, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 883 students. Pima Medical Institute has a less than one year program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Apollo College-Phoenix Inc - Phoenix, AZ

Apollo College-Phoenix Inc, 8503 N 27th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85051-4063. Apollo College-Phoenix Inc is a small college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 3,917 students and an admission rate of 99%. Apollo College-Phoenix Inc has a one to two year program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated 146 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona photo by Urban

Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 1,567,924, which has grown by 18.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Phoenix, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Phoenix cost $218,200 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, 2,176 new homes were built in Phoenix, down from 6,560 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Phoenix are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 22.7% of Phoenix residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Phoenix is 10.0%, which is greater than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Phoenix residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. San Francisco Xavier and Good Shepherd Convent are among the churches located in Phoenix. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Phoenix is home to the Arizona Highway Patrol Headquarters and the Gila Valley Lookout as well as Indian Bend Park and Stephen Park. Shopping centers in the area include Alta Vista Shopping Center, Arcadia Plaza Shopping Center and Arcadia Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Phoenix can choose from Four Seasons Limousine LLC, Maricopa Manor B&B Inn and Motel 6 for temporary stays in the area.