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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Assistants in Albuquerque, New Mexico

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for physical therapy assistants in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. There are currently 270 working physical therapy assistants in New Mexico; this should grow by 30% to 350 working physical therapy assistants in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for physical therapy assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 33.3% over the next eight years. Physical therapy assistants generally assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures.

A person working as a physical therapy assistant can expect to earn about $22 per hour or $45,760 annually on average in New Mexico and about $22 hourly or $46,140 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Physical Therapy, people working as physical therapy assistants in New Mexico earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Physical Therapy nationally. Jobs in this field include: physical therapy technician, physical therapy technican, and licensed physical therapy assistant .

The Albuquerque area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Albuquerque where you can get a degree as a physical therapy assistant. Given that the most common education level for physical therapy assistants is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, it will take about two years to learn 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 Albuquerque 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 - Albuquerque, NM

Pima Medical Institute, 2201 San Pedro NE Bldg 3 Ste 100, Albuquerque, NM 87110. Pima Medical Institute is a small school located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 737 students. Pima Medical Institute has a less than one year program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated fifteen 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: New Mexico Physical Therapy Board
Address: 2550 Cerrillos Rd., 2nd Floor, P.O. Box 25101, Santa Fe, NM 87505-5101

Phone: (505) 476-4880
Website: New Mexico Physical Therapy Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico photo by Debernardi

Albuquerque is situated in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. It has a population of over 521,999, which has grown by 16.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Albuquerque, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Albuquerque cost $176,100 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, 1,067 new homes were built in Albuquerque, down from 2,096 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Albuquerque are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 31.8% of Albuquerque residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Albuquerque is 6.9%, which is less than New Mexico's average of 7.5%.

The percentage of Albuquerque residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 54.7%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Heights Seventh Day Adventist Church, Hope Church and Baptist Student Union are some of the churches located in Albuquerque. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Albuquerque is home to the Menaul School Historic District and the Volcano Ranch as well as Cutler Park and Eunice Kaloch Park. Shopping centers in the area include Del Norte Parkade Shopping Center, Westway Shopping Center and Winrock Shopping Center. Visitors to Albuquerque can choose from Winrock Inn-Best Western, New Mexico State Government - Health Department- Behavioral Health Services Divi and Motel 6 for temporary stays in the area.