Summary Guide for

Physical Therapist Assistants in California

May also be called: Licensed Physical Therapist Assistants (LPTA); Physical Therapy Technicians; Physiotherapy Assistants; Rehabilitation Assistants

What Would I Do?

Physical Therapist Assistants help physical therapists provide treatment that improves patient mobility, relieves pain, and prevents or lessens physical disabilities. Patients include post-surgical patients, accident victims, and individuals with disabling conditions such as lower back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy.

Physical Therapist Assistants need a moderate degree of strength because of the physical exertion required in assisting patients with their treatment. The hours and days that Physical Therapist Assistants work vary with the facility. Many outpatient physical therapy offices and clinics have evening and weekend hours to coincide with patients’ personal schedules. About one quarter of all Physical Therapist Assistants work part time.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Physical Therapist Assistants may appeal to those who enjoy work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. This occupation may also appeal to those who like searching for facts and figuring out problems. It requires personal characteristics such as concern for others, cooperation, integrity, and attention to detail. In addition, Physical Therapist Assistants should be comfortable with physically touching their patients in order to properly carry out their work.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2018 for Physical Therapist Assistants in California is $65,255 annually, or $31.37 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Annual Wages for 2018Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$49,456$65,255$76,899
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2018 at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/wages.html Wages do not reflect self-employment.

Hourly Wages for 2018Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$23.77$31.37$36.97
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2018 at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/wages.html. Wages do not reflect self-employment.

Physical Therapist Assistants working for large health care providers or government entities usually receive benefits including medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Benefits will vary by employer for Assistants working in smaller physical therapy offices.

What is the Job Outlook?

Job prospects for Physical Therapist Assistants are expected to be very good because of increasing consumer demand for physical therapy services. Specifically, long-term demand for Assistants should continue to rise as the number of individuals with disabilities or limited function grows. Physical therapists are expected to increasingly use Assistants to reduce the cost of physical therapy services. Once a patient is evaluated and a treatment plan is designed by the physical therapist, the Physical Therapist Assistant can provide many parts of the treatment, as approved by the therapist.

How Do I Qualify?

Physical Therapist Assistants typically earn an associate degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant program. They must complete an educational program approved by the Physical Therapy Board of California and pass an examination for licensing.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Applicants can also find employment opportunities through placement offices at schools and colleges offering a physical therapist assistant program. Newspaper classified ads and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Physical Therapist Assistants


The California Occupational Guides are a product of:
The California Employment Development Department
Labor Market Information Division
www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov

Printed on Friday, August 17, 2018