Physical therapists assistants work directly with patients following surgery, sickness and injury. The assistant helps the patient return to full mobility while handling the accompanying pain. The therapist will utilize exercise, massage, traction and ultrasound in the course of patient treatment. The position will typically include exercise room preparation.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the 2010 mean physical therapist assistant pay scale at $50,000, the low being $31,000 and the high at $69,000. The bureau expects demand for the profession to climb 46% between 2010 and 2020. The growth will be in response to an aging population increasing the demand for physical therapy due to heart attacks or strokes. Positions are also increasing as physical therapists employ a higher number of aids. The lower physical therapist assistant pay scale reduces the cost of the therapy. Therapy is organized and supervised by a physical therapist and the assistant executes the plan working directly with the patient.
An associate degree from an accredited program is required in most states for the profession. Accreditation has been awarded to 293 schools by the The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The commission reports nearly 11,000 students were enrolled in the programs across the country. Several schools have received accreditation for physical therapist assistant online programs. A license is required in most states. License requirements include graduation from an accredited program and successfully completing the Physical National Physical Therapy Exam.
Schools may require on the job training as part of the curriculum. Partnering with a local school, technical or community college provides a pathway for the development of more qualified employment candidates and will provide immediate access to experience proven prospects.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) offers a physical therapist assistant online search engine for resume and open position postings. However, experienced and new job hunters will also be involved in social media like Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. Establishing a presence on social media will place your organization where new recruits are to be found. Traditional want ads and even posting on Craigs list ignores a large sector of the potential workforce.
Physical therapists assistants recruitment can be enhanced by partnering with a school. Partnering with a school can offer more than just internship possibilities. Offering grants, scholarships and awarding prizes to seniors for research into physical therapy will create a long term and renewing pool of qualified employment candidates. Professional sponsorship for school programs encourages program selection and provides an incentive for excelling at the course work and completing the program.
Career path management is an effective recruitment tool. Providing education stip ends and pathways into advanced positions not only improves the quality of the workforce but increase retention of existing employees. Increased retention reduces future recruitment costs helping to offset the benefit expenses.
Federal and state training programs especially targeted for returning armed service veterans offer direct payments and tax incentives for their hiring and training. Additional funding is available targeting specific social and economical groups. Contacting the local Veterans Administration Office and a states Economic Development Office will quickly make a connection with the program administrators. Many of these programs can also be used to improve the skills of qualified individuals already in the organization.
The increasing demand for physical therapists assistants services is inevitable. The opportunity to meet the demand will be dependent on successful recruiting and retention policies. These policies will require being visible where the workforce is searching such as on Facebook and other social media sites and participation in professional organizations. Exploring public programs can reduce the cost of developing and training staff in the required areas.