Direct Patient & Therapeutic Care

Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)

Career Progression

Entry Level

Rehabilitation Technician (Rehab Tech)

Mid Level

Physical Therapy Assistant

Senior Level

Physical Therapist

Pathway Category

Mid-Level: These positions are the best entry points for someone with little experience or education, as they typically require only a high school diploma or equivalent (GED) or a technical certification/ training and little to no prior related work experience. Many workers enter this industry through the Direct Patient and Therapeutic Care families. Although these careers start with lower wages, they are often a great starting point with huge potential for promotion and advancement with hard work, dedication, and planning.

What does a person in this career do?

You enjoy working with people! Your critical thinking and problem solving skills help to diagnose, troubleshoot, and treat a wide range of injuries, disorders, and diseases for your patients. You don’t mind being on the front line of the fight to help keep members of your community healthy, happy, and productive.

Occupations in the Direct Patient & Therapeutic Care family focus primarily on changing the physical health status of patients through direct care, treatment, and health education. They spend most of their time working directly with patients to diagnose, troubleshoot, and treat a wide range of physical illnesses, injuries, disorders, and diseases.  Someone who enjoys working with people, doesn’t mind being around illness, and wants to make a difference in their community will like these roles. Travel is not often required, but there are a growing number of institutions offering in-home and traveling or mobile medical services.

Description of duties

Observe, document, and assist physical therapists in providing treatments, procedures, and care to mentally and/ or physically impaired patients. May also directly provide some minor routine functions or treatments, track patient progress, and consult with physical therapists on the development or modification of therapy plans in accordance with patient status. Professional license required.

Quick Facts

Wage/Salary Range

Education & Training

Typical Work Environments

Personality Traits

Discover your strengths by taking the assessment.

Knowledge and Skills Required

  • Physical Therapy and Counseling
  • Kinesiology and Biology
  • Active Listening and Communication
  • Observing and Documenting Information
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Medical and Office Software

Other Job Titles

  • Physical Therapy Aide
  • Certified PTA
  • Home Health PTA
  • Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA)
  • Physical Therapy Technician