A Guide On How To Become A Physiotherapy Assistant
Physiotherapy Assistants (PTA’s) in Canada work under the direction and supervision of a physiotherapist. And, their main role is to provide care to clients of all ages with a wide range of health conditions. Furthermore, there are essential skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to be an effective PTA. Because you work under the supervision of a physiotherapist (PT) there is a list of skills they look for. These are found under the Essential Competency Profile for Physiotherapist Assistants.
Due to the variety of tasks they perform and where they work, PTA’s go by a number of different titles. For instance, you may know them as Rehabilitation Aides or Assistants, Occupational Therapy Assistants, Physiotherapy Aides or Physiotherapy Assistants. Overall, PTA’s play a vital role in extended healthcare. And, below we will provide a brief guide on what to expect career-wise as a PTA.
The Role Of A Physiotherapy Assistant
According to the Ontario Network of Internationally Trained Professionals, physiotherapy assistants serve a vital role in assisting physiotherapists.
“A physiotherapist assistant (PTA) is a health care worker who helps teach clients to effectively cope with their limitations in movement, daily functioning, and activity.”
Furthermore, The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario (CPO), the regulatory body, categorizes physiotherapy assistants as support personnel who works under the supervision of a licensed physiotherapist.
How Does A Physiotherapy Assistant Spend Their Workday?
PTA’s perform a wide variety of duties and tasks throughout the workday. And, these tasks vary depending on where they are working. While working with the licensed physiotherapist, the duties of a PTA may involve the following:
- Provide clinical care for assigned patients
- Educate the patient/family with support in addressing physical, emotional and self-care needs as assigned
- Give timely and astute information to relevant team members about the patient’s performance
- Participate in program planning
- Implement the components of the treatment plan as directed by the physiotherapist
- Assist with walking, transfers and safe mobility, etc.
- Help the patient with his/her individual cognitive, perceptual and physical programs
- Assist in or conduct group activities/exercise programs
- Monitor and report changes in health status to the supervisor
- Order prescribed assistive or adaptive equipment
- Maintain equipment inventories
What Can A Physiotherapist Assistant Do?
A PTA is assigned part of the treatment plan. This includes exercises, gait training, and use of modalities (e.g. application of heat and ice packs). In addition, they report changes in the client’s status and responses to treatments to the physiotherapist. Furthermore, the PTA can participate in equipment management such as purchasing, evaluation, maintenance, inventory, etc.
What Can’t A Physiotherapist Assistant Do?
“Physiotherapists (PTs) maintain responsibility for client assessment, interpretation of findings, determination and initiation of interventions, the progression of interventions, re-evaluation, and discharge planning.”
The difference is, PTA’s are assigned an evaluation tool to implement. However, they will not interpret the results. Moreover, they will not make decisions about changing the treatment plan. As a result, PTA’s can properly communicate their opinions to the PT when the client(s) are ready to progress, but not to the client directly.
What Kind Of Education Is Needed To Be A Physiotherapy Assistant?
According to the Ontario Network of Internationally Trained Professionals, physiotherapy assistants need specialized training to perform their job. Though requirements may vary from one employer to another, candidates must always possess one of the following:
- A certificate from a Physiotherapy Assistant Program
- A physiotherapist assistant diploma from an accredited institution, or
- Equivalent formal training
In addition, the following certificates are a must:
- First Aid Certificate and
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certificate (CPR)
Furthermore, the ability to multitask while possessing strong communication and interpersonal skills are crucial. For example, the role of a coach/mentor involves critical thinking skills along with proper strategical intervention. In addition, having effective communication with the physiotherapist and other team members is a good asset. Lastly, providing good judgment and problem-solving skills goes a long way with both patients and staff.
Other common requirements include:
- Ability to meet the physical demands of the position (i.e. substantial walking, standing, lifting, twisting and bending)
- Knowledge of equipment (e.g. wheelchair supplies and seating equipment)
- Understanding the principles of rehabilitation
- Basic Cardiac Life Support (C Level) Heart Saver Plus Canada
- Non-violent crisis intervention training
- Demonstrated computer skills
- Knowledge of other languages
As a result, because of the specialization of this career PTA’s spend about 20 years working in this rewarding field.
Where Do Physiotherapy Assistants Work?
Physiotherapy Assistants have a variety of options to work upon graduation. The most common places are found in:
- Medical Clinics
- Recreation Centres
- Rehabilitation Centres
- Retirement and Nursing Homes (also called long-term care facilities)
- Sports and Fitness Centres
How Much Can Physiotherapy Assistants Make?
Knowing how much a physiotherapy assistant is paid is helpful. Like any job, there are multiple factors which affect compensation such as the employer, experience, level of responsibility and location. Depending on where you live in Ontario pay can range anywhere from $25,000 to $42,000+ per year (source: payscale.com)
Start Your Training At Canadian College – Windsor, ON
A career as a physiotherapy assistant is quite rewarding both financially and personally. While the path to becoming a physiotherapist is a long one, becoming a physiotherapist assistant is short. Within one year you can go to school, train for the career, and be working to help people with their recovery.
Canadian College Windsor can have you ready to work in the Windsor, Ontario job market in a short period. In addition, the college helps you find career openings across South Western Ontario. Most noteworthy, all programs are tailored to meet the needs of today’s employment market. Thus, you can expect each program to teach you the skills you need to know to be successful. And, all will be achieved with full support every step of the way.
Are you interested in enrolling in a college that prepares you for future employment and stability? Do you want a practical education that prepares you for a rewarding future in business or healthcare? If so, contact Canadian College and speak to a recruiter today! To learn more about what the college has to offer, please call 519-977-1222. Find our latest programs online at https://www.cchst.net/career-programs/