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Physiotherapist Assistant

What is a Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA)?
Related job titles
Major duties
Qualifications and requirements
Compensation
Who are the employers?
Where to find job postings?
Professional associations and resources
More relevant links
Sample job posting
Resume sample

What is a Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA)?
A Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA) is a health care worker who helps to teach clients to effectively cope with their limitations in movement, daily functioning and activity. A PTA works under the supervision of a licensed physiotherapist.

The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario (CPO), the regulatory body, categorizes physiotherapist assistants as Support Personnel.

Related job titles
The following titles, describing this kind of work, are most commonly used in job postings:

You might find some job descriptions that are very similar to that of PTA. Here are some related titles:

Be aware that the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators recommends that employers use the term "assistant" when some post-secondary studies in the field are required, and the term "aide" when the position requires "on-the job training" only.

Often, the title "occupational therapy assistant" (OTA) is used along with "physiotherapy assistant" (PTA) in job postings. This is partly because sometimes they both receive training through a single OTA/PTA program.

Here is how some college programs describe the difference between OTA and PTA:

Major duties
According to the Physiotherapy Health Human Resources Background Paper this group of health care workers is not well defined in the Standard Occupational Classification.

The registered physiotherapist assigns a PTA's duties. They work in close collaboration but ultimately the registered physiotherapist is accountable for the physiotherapy care, regardless of the amount of supervision. A PTA's duties may include:

Some buzz words and catch phrases which you might find useful are:

Qualifications and requirements
Though requirements may vary from one employer to another, candidates must always possess one of the following:

The following certificates are a must as well:

The ability to do handle several tasks at one time (multitasking) and strong communication and interpersonal skills are crucial. Examples of these skills are:

Other common requirements include:

Compensation
As indicated by some community colleges, the average starting salary of a PTA is $31,755 (Canadian) annually. In some cases, the starting salary has been reported as around $40,000 annually.

Who are the employers?
PTAs work in:

In addition, PTAs may work in:

PTAs may work in private practice as well. The Home Health Care Workshop Manual discusses these issues and introduces you to terminology specific to the occupation.

Where to find job postings?

Professional associations and resources

More relevant links
Do you need Canadian experience? Volunteer in your professional field.

Sample job posting

Please note that this job posting is a sample, included here to give you an indication of the expectations and terminology you may encounter in your job search.

Physiotherapy Assistant - Toronto, Ontario

SITE: PRINCESS MARGARET HOSPITAL
DEPARTMENT: REHABILITATION SERVICES
REPORTS TO: MANAGER
HOURS: 37.5 HRS/WK
STATUS: Temporary Full Time (12 MONTH CONTRACT)

As an integral member of the Rehabilitation Services Department at Princess Margaret Hospital, the PHYSIOTHERAPY ASSISTANT supports the physiotherapy professions by taking responsibility for clinical and administrative duties, supporting physiotherapists by supervising clients during their treatment activities and ensuring clients perform prescribed activities in an appropriate and safe manner, ensuring clinical supplies are available, ensuring the program area and equipment are cleaned and maintained on a regular basis, and appropriate supplies are ordered. The above responsibilities will aid the department to function most efficiently on a daily basis.
Qualifications

  • At minimum, completion of a community college certificate program
  • Completion of a recognized post secondary Physiotherapy Assistant certificate program
  • Up to (1) one year of relevant experience
  • Basic word processing computer skills in Microsoft Applications and email
  • Demonstrates a clear understanding of rehabilitation principles
  • Demonstrates appropriate and effective written, oral and non-verbal communication with patients, families, colleagues and the public
  • Knowledge of the equipment and materials used in the provision of PT treatments
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational and time management skills
  • Ability to function within an interdisciplinary team
  • Ability to solve problems and seek guidance of supervising staff when appropriate
  • Ability to deal effectively with difficult clients and conflicting situations
  • Ability to use good judgment in assessing difficult situations
  • Ability to be anticipate client's unique needs
  • Ability to be consistent and display a positive/helpful attitude
  • Ability to work in a self directed manner
  • Ability to function in a stressful environment while maintaining professional demeanour
  • Standard First/Aid Basic Rescuer Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (C.P.R.) certification

Resume sample
See résumé sample for a sample of a Physiotherapist Assistant resume.

 
 
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