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Physical Therapist Assistants

Also called: Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA), Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA), Physical Therapy Technician (Physical Therapy Tech)

Where in the Air Force? In the Air Force: Physical Medicine; Physical Medicine Apprentice; Physical Medicine Apprentice, Orthotic; Physical Medicine Craftsman; Physical Medicine Craftsman, Orthotic; Physical Medicine Helper; Physical Medicine Helper, Orthotic; Physical Medicine Journeyman; Physical Medicine Journeyman, Orthotic; Physical Medicine Superintendent

What they do:
Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. 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. Generally requires formal training.
On the job, you would:
  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities.
  • Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.


  • customer service
Arts and Humanities
  • English language
  • medicine and dentistry
  • therapy and counseling
Math and Science
  • psychology


Basic Skills
  • listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
  • keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
  • understanding people's reactions
  • looking for ways to help people


  • communicate by speaking
  • listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
  • notice when problems happen
  • order or arrange things
Hand and Finger Use
  • hold or move items with your hands
  • keep your arm or hand steady


People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Concern for Others
  • Integrity
  • Dependability
  • Cooperation
  • Attention to Detail
  • Adaptability/Flexibility


You might use software like this on the job:

Medical software
  • BioEx Systems Exercise Pro
  • Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite
Accounting software
  • Billing software
  • Bookkeeping software
Data base user interface and query software
  • dBASE
  • FileMaker Pro software


Education: (rated 3 of 5)
associate's degree
usually needed

Get started on your career:

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Job Outlook

Bright Outlook
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.
per year, on average
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about physical therapist assistants.