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

Physical therapy assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Tempe, Arizona area. 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. In general, physical therapy assistants assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures.

Physical therapy assistants earn approximately $20 hourly or $41,970 per year on average in Arizona. Nationally they average about $22 per hour or $46,140 annually. Physical therapy assistants earn more than people working in the category of Physical Therapy generally in Arizona and more than people in the Physical Therapy category nationally. Jobs in this field include: physical therapy assistant , physical therapy technician, and rehabilitation aide.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Tempe where you can study to be a physical therapy assistant, among seventy-six schools of higher education total in the Tempe area. Physical therapy assistants usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years training to become 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 Tempe 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.


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.


Tempe, Arizona
Tempe, Arizona photo by File Upload Bot

Tempe is situated in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 175,523, which has grown by 10.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tempe, 95, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Tempe cost $163,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, sixty-three new homes were constructed in Tempe, down from one hundred seven the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tempe are educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. For men, it is accommodation and food services, educational services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 39.6% of Tempe residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tempe is 7.5%, which is less than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Tempe residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Tempe is home to the Casa Fiesta Travel Trailer Resort and the Fair Lanes Village Center as well as Birchett Park and Hudson Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arizona Mall of Tempe, Arizona Mills Mall and Baseline Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Tempe can choose from Motel 6, Executive Suites Extended Stay and Best Western Nova Plus Test Property for temporary stays in the area.