Career Satisfaction

For this career, by 7 people, from 10 (best) to 1 (worst).

Avg. rating: 7.4   

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Inside Physical Therapy Assistant Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you


Biggest Surprises

"I was surprised to find out how working under the direction of a physical therapist was actually like. As a physical therapist assistant, you will serve as an aide to physical therapist, with duties such as preparing exercise stations for the patient, etc. It involves walking around a lot, mainly because you are serving as an aide attending to both patients and your physical therapist." (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Physical Therapy at University Of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"I was surprised to find out how convoluted the insurance policies are when dealing with patients' benefits. I always knew the healthcare system is confusing, but I never knew how difficult it can be to deal with insurance companies." (Physical Therapist Aide; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Physical Therapy at Santa Clara University in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Slow And Repetitive Work...
I was surprised at how boring it can actually be. There is a whole lot of walking around slow in a circle with ambulating patients. There is also lots of repetitive exercise programs." (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Utah, female
School: Studied Physical Therapy at Volunteer State Comm College in Tennessee; completed Associate degree in 1996

"Patient Work Ethic...
I was surprised that amount of work some patients just don't want to put in to their rehab to get better. I was surprised at the amount of paper work I have to do in my job." (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Exercise Science, Pre Physical Therapy at Middle Tennessee State University in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Population Preference...
I was surprised to find the population I best like to serve is geriatric. With my previous job experiences before working in healthcare, this was actually my least favorite population to work with. It is interesting to see how my social perceptions have changed since graduating." (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

Career: , currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Physical Therapy at CHATTANOOGA STATE in Tennessee; completed Associate degree in 2007

"Forming Great Relationships With Clients...
I was surprised at the amount of camaraderie that is expressed between all of us physical therapy assistants. We all love our jobs, love helping our clients, and have been able to effectively bond with most of our rehabilitating clients and we truly love to help them. It doesn't feel like a job to us, I feel spoiled that I am getting paid for this because it's what I love" (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Physical Therapy at Florida International University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"I was surprised the amount of responsibility I had directly out of college. I hadn't had much experience at all and my boss had me doing things in the office that I had never learned and it made me very uncomfortable." (Physical Therapy Technician; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Natural Sciences, Pre Med at University Of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Physical Therapy Assistant: "The best part of my job is watching my patients get better and knowing that I helped them achieve their goals, whether it is to get out of bed and into a chair when they feel like it, without having to wait for help, or taking a walk in the yard without using a walking tool, such as a cane or walker. The worst part of the job is that sometimes, people do not get better, which is very sad. Sometimes the patients are very sick or very old, and once in a while, they die. You have to be strong at these times and keep in mind that you did your best to help this person." (2011)

Career Background

Physical Therapy Assistant

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Being A PTA Is A Joy, Not A Job...
If you truly enjoy helping people and not being in an overly stressful environment, this may be the job for you. We all love what we do here, and have fun doing what we do." (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

"College Goals...
Take all of your basic/prerequisite courses before entering into the program. Devote all of your time to studying, labs, and clinicals while in college, you will value this knowledge later on." (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

"Communicate Easy...
Don't stress too much over school, much of what you will learn is hands-on. Learn to be able to communicate with different types of people easily." (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

"School Is More Challenging...
Be prepared for the workplace to not be as stimulating as school." (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

"Working As A PTA Different Than Studying To Be One...
It is one thing to graduate with a degree to find a career as a physical therapist assistant, but it is an entirely different thing to be a physical therapist assistant, meaning, you know what you are doing and can apply your knowledge to your job well. Working to help a patient's body requires a good understanding of the body, so take your anatomy courses and treat them seriously." (Physical Therapist Assistant; 2013)

"Volunteer At A Clinic...
The best thing you can do in order to prepare for this profession is volunteer at a clinic in order to gain experience. It has allowed me to become very comfortable in handling and speaking with patients." (Physical Therapist Aide; 2013)

"Volunteer At A Nursing Home...
If you have an opportunity to volunteer your time, go to a nursing home and spend a little time with an elderly person. If you plan to work part-time, get work in a hospital or nursing home to find out if you would want to work there each day as your career." (Physical Therapy Assistant; 2011)