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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Assistants in Fullerton, California

There are many career and education opportunities for physical therapy assistants in the Fullerton, California area. Currently, 3,600 people work as physical therapy assistants in California. This is expected to grow 36% to 4,900 people by 2016. 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.

Physical therapy assistants earn approximately $27 hourly or $56,690 per year on average in California. Nationally they average about $22 per hour or $46,140 per year. Physical therapy assistants earn more than people working in the category of Physical Therapy generally in California and more than people in the Physical Therapy category nationally. People working as physical therapy assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: physical therapist assistant , rehabilitation aide, and physical therapy assistant .

The Fullerton area is home to ninety-two schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Fullerton where you can get a degree 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

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 Fullerton 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

Cerritos College - Norwalk, CA

Cerritos College, 11110 Alondra Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650-6298. Cerritos College is a large college located in Norwalk, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 22,228 students. Cerritos College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated forty-seven students in 2008.

Pacific College - Costa Mesa, CA

Pacific College, 3160 Red Hill Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Pacific College is a small college located in Costa Mesa, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 52 students. Pacific College has a one to two year program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated ten 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.

LICENSES

Physical Therapist Assistant

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Physical Therapy Board of California, 1418 Howe Avenue, Suite 16, Sacramento, CA 95825-3204

Phone: (916) 263-2550
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Physical Therapy Board of California

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fullerton, California

Fullerton, California
Fullerton, California photo by Geographer

Fullerton is located in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 131,868, which has grown by 4.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fullerton, 140, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Fullerton are valued at $177,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, thirty-one new homes were built in Fullerton, down from thirty-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Fullerton are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 31.3% of Fullerton residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fullerton is 10.8%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Fullerton residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.8%, 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 Charismatic Churches Independent.

Fullerton is home to the Fullerton Public Library and the Muckenthaler Cultural Center as well as Hermosa School Park and Woodcrest Park. Shopping centers in the area include Fullerton Town Center Shopping Center, Fullerton University Shopping Center and West Fullerton Shopping Center. Visitors to Fullerton can choose from AKUA Motor Inn, Ambassador Inn and Anaheim Park Hotel for temporary stays in the area.