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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Assistants in Los Angeles, California

For those living in the Los Angeles, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for physical therapy assistants. About 3,600 people are currently employed as physical therapy assistants in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 36% to about 4,900 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%. In general, physical therapy assistants assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures.

A person working as a physical therapy assistant can expect to earn about $27 hourly or $56,690 annually on average in California and about $22 per hour or $46,140 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for physical therapy assistants are better than in the overall category of Physical Therapy in California, and better than the overall Physical Therapy category nationally. Physical therapy assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: physical therapy technican, rehabilitation aide, and rehabilitation assistant.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Los Angeles where you can study to be a physical therapy assistant, among 274 schools of higher education total in the Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles 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.

Meridian Institute - Los Angeles, CA

Meridian Institute, 4201 Wilshire Blvd Ste 515, Los Angeles, CA 90010. Meridian Institute is a small school located in Los Angeles, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 30 students. Meridian Institute has a less than one year program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated three 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.

ICDC College - Los Angeles, CA

ICDC College, 5422 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027. ICDC College is a small college located in Los Angeles, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 1,750 students. ICDC College has a less than one year program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated 122 students in 2008.

Adelante Career Institute - Van Nuys, CA

Adelante Career Institute, 14547 Titus, Suite 100, Van Nuys, CA 91402. Adelante Career Institute is a small school located in Van Nuys, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 95 students and an admission rate of 89%. Adelante Career Institute has a less than one year program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated twelve 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: Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California photo by Diliff

Los Angeles is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 3,833,995, which has grown by 3.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Los Angeles, 166, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Los Angeles are valued at $361,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, seven hundred twelve new homes were built in Los Angeles, down from 1,551 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Los Angeles are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 25.5% of Los Angeles residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles is 13.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Los Angeles residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. All Peoples Christian Church, All Saints Episcopal Church and All Saints Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Los Angeles. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Los Angeles is home to the Balboa Municipal Golf Course and the Angels Flight Railway as well as Hazard Park and State Street Recreation Center. Shopping centers in the area include Encino Junior Shopping Center, Encino Oaks Shopping Center and Encino Town Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Los Angeles can choose from Best Western Mid-Wilshire Plaza, Best Western Westwood Pacific and Alma Lodge for temporary stays in the area.