Important Job Skills You Need to Become a Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapy assistants work with physical therapists to help patients regain their strength and mobility due to injury, disability or medical condition. As a physical therapy assistant, you would help patients through therapeutic exercises, administer massage and more.

Physical Therapy Assistant Education & Training Requirements

To become a physical therapy assistant, you first need a high school diploma. Once you graduate from high school, you’ll then need to attend an accredited Physical Therapy Assistant program, such as the one we offer here at Cambridge. A designated program will help you understand how to conduct exercises, perform treatments such as electrical stimulation and how to observe and monitor patient care.

Following program completion, you’ll need to take and pass the required National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for proper licensing and employment. 

What Skills Are Important for a Physical Therapy Assistant?

Physical therapy assistants play a critical role in patient care. As an assistant, you’re directly involved in the lives of your patients. For that reason, there are several skills critical to your success and the health of your patients.

Knowledge-Based Skills

As a physical therapy assistant, you must have knowledge-based skills gained through training and experience. For example, you must understand the human body and how the muscles and tendons work. Other knowledge-based skills include:

  • Correct usage of therapy equipment such as weights, bars, resistance bands and more 
  • Knowledge of the human body, including where muscles, tendons and bones are located throughout
  • Knowledge of various exercises such as stretches that help with numerous medical conditions and injuries
  • Ability to give clear medical instructions regarding treatment plans to your patients

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are also known as people skills or soft skills. These are the skills you’ll use to communicate with your colleagues and patients. Some of the most important include:

  • Empathy: As a physical therapy assistant, you must have empathy towards your patients struggling through difficult medical conditions. Empathy helps you keep your patients’ wellbeing top of mind, so you can deliver high-quality care.
  • Communication:You’ll spend time throughout each workday talking to patients, colleagues and families. You’ll need to understand how to communicate effectively to deliver treatment instructions, patient reports, diagnoses and more.
  • Collaboration:As part of a healthcare team, you must be able to collaborate with team members and be a team player. This means being able to listen, communicate, motivate others and resolve conflict.
Want to Start Your Career as a Physical Therapy Assistant?

Cambridge is proud to offer a complete Physical Therapy Assistant program to students ready to enter the field. To learn more about the skills required or for answers to your questions about the program, give us a call at 877-206-4279 or  send us a message.