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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Assistants in Charleston, South Carolina

If you want to be a physical therapy assistant, the Charleston, South Carolina area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 940 jobs for physical therapy assistants in South Carolina and this is projected to grow 51% to about 1,430 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. Physical therapy assistants generally assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures.

Physical therapy assistants earn approximately $23 per hour or $48,900 yearly on average in South Carolina. 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 South Carolina and better than general Physical Therapy category earnings nationally. People working as physical therapy assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: physical therapy assistant , physical therapy technician, and licensed physical therapy assistant .

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can study to be a physical therapy assistant, among fourteen schools of higher education total in the Charleston area. Physical therapy assistants usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so 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 Charleston 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

Trident Technical College - Charleston, SC

Trident Technical College, 7000 Rivers Avenue, Charleston, SC 29423-8067. Trident Technical College is a large college located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,758 students. Trident Technical College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated eighteen and seventeen students respectively in 2008.


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: Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina photo by AudeVivere

Charleston is situated in Charleston County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 111,978, which has grown by 15.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston cost $157,600 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, five hundred eight new homes were built in Charleston, down from eight hundred seventy-eight the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 37.5% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 10.5%, which is less than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.7%, is less than both the national and state average. Plymouth Congregational Church, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Charleston is home to the United State Department of Agriculture and the The Center as well as Harmon Field and Stoney Field. Shopping malls in the area include Church Creek Plaza Shopping Center, Citadel Mall Shopping Center and South Windermere Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from French Quarter Inn, Fulton Lane Inn and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.