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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Assistants in Denver, Colorado

Physical therapy assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Denver, Colorado area. There are currently 680 jobs for physical therapy assistants in Colorado and this is projected to grow by 41% to 960 jobs 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 $18 hourly or $38,410 annually on average in Colorado. Nationally they average about $22 per hour or $46,140 yearly. Earnings for physical therapy assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Physical Therapy in Colorado and better than general Physical Therapy category earnings nationally. People working as physical therapy assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: rehabilitation assistant, physical therapy technican, and licensed physical therapy assistant .

The Denver area is home to sixty-four schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Denver where you can get a degree as a physical therapy assistant. The most common level of education for physical therapy assistants is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. 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 Denver 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

Pima Medical Institute - Denver, CO

Pima Medical Institute, 7475 Dakin St Suite 100, Denver, CO 80221. Pima Medical Institute is a small school located in Denver, Colorado. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 782 students. Pima Medical Institute has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated twenty-nine students in 2008.

Arapahoe Community College - Littleton, CO

Arapahoe Community College, 5900 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton, CO 80160-9002. Arapahoe Community College is a medium sized college located in Littleton, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,088 students. Arapahoe Community College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated seventeen 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: Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado photo by David Shankbone

Denver is located in Denver County, Colorado. It has a population of over 598,707, which has grown by 7.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Denver, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Denver are priced at $223,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, eight hundred thirty-seven new homes were constructed in Denver, down from 1,215 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Denver are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 34.5% of Denver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Denver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.0%, is more than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Episcopal Church.

Denver is home to the J F Kennedy Municipal Golf Course and the North Marston Filtration Plant as well as Cheesman Park and Bear Creek Park. Shopping malls in the area include Alameda Square Shopping Center, Boulevard Shopping Center and Brentwood Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Denver can choose from Embassy Suites Hotel Denver Downtown, Intown Suites Aurora and Denver Marriott City Center for temporary stays in the area.