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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Assistants in Orlando, Florida

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for physical therapy assistants in the Orlando, Florida area. There are currently 3,680 jobs for physical therapy assistants in Florida and this is projected to grow 34% to 4,930 jobs 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.

A person working as a physical therapy assistant can expect to earn about $24 per hour or $51,300 annually on average in Florida and about $22 per hour or $46,140 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Physical therapy assistants earn more than people working in the category of Physical Therapy generally in Florida and more than people in the Physical Therapy category nationally. Physical therapy assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: physical therapist assistant , rehabilitation aide, and physical therapy technican.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Orlando where you can study to be a physical therapy assistant, among fifty schools of higher education total in the Orlando 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 Orlando 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

Herzing College - Winter Park, FL

Herzing College, 1595 S. Semoran Blvd, Ste 1501, Winter Park, FL 32792-5509. Herzing College is a small college located in Winter Park, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 220 students. Herzing College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant.

Seminole Community College - Sanford, FL

Seminole Community College, 100 Weldon Blvd, Sanford, FL 32773-6199. Seminole Community College is a large college located in Sanford, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,227 students. Seminole Community College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

Polk Community College - Winter Haven, FL

Polk Community College, 999 Avenue H NE, Winter Haven, FL 33881-4299. Polk Community College is a medium sized college located in Winter Haven, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,516 students. Polk Community College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated eighteen 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: Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida photo by A3RO

Orlando is situated in Orange County, Florida. It has a population of over 230,519, which has grown by 24.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Orlando, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Orlando are valued at $217,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred forty-eight new homes were built in Orlando, down from six hundred twenty-two the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Orlando are accommodation and food services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and arts, entertainment, and recreation. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 28.2% of Orlando residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Orlando is 11.1%, which is less than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Orlando residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Church of Scientology of Orlando, Church of the Holy Spirit Episcopal and Metropolitan Community Church-Joy are some of the churches located in Orlando. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Orlando is home to the Dubsdread Country Club and the Conway Center as well as Mayor Carl Langford Park and Sunshine Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake Conway Woods Shopping Center, Colonial Plaza Mall and Coytown Shopping Center. Visitors to Orlando can choose from Blue Nile Hotel Liquidators, Clarion Hotel Universal and Buena Vista Suites for temporary stays in the area.