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.
There are many reasons why a person may require occupational therapy and/or physiotherapy rehabilitation services. Of the many conditions treated, a few examples are: falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, mental health conditions, transplants, cystic fibrosis, and health and wellness promotion. This is just a brief list of reasons why individuals may need help returning to their regular work and daily lives. If you relish the challenges of creative problem solving and critical thinking; have good physical, mental and social health; and enjoy meeting people while wishing to work with those who are physically, developmentally, and/or emotionally challenged, a career as an occupational therapist assistant (OTA) and physiotherapist assistant (PTA) is for you. As an OTA/PTA, you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments such as acute care and community hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, private practice and retail.
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:
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:
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:
In addition, PTAs may work in:
Areas of focus include restoring and maximizing physical function and occupational performance, ultimately enabling them to effectively utilize their abilities in movement, daily functioning, and activity while promoting overall well-being.Canadian College’s full-time Physiotherapist Assistant program provides formal educational preparation for physiotherapist assistants. You will learn to assist in the implementation of rehabilitation treatment plans and programs developed to promote clients’ independence, activities, and function.
Practice your skills and acquire hands-on experience with a total of 7 weeks of unpaid fieldwork placements. These placements are arranged by the program fieldwork placement advisor and occur at the end of your program.