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Physical Therapist Assistant working with patient

Physical Therapist & Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical Therapists focus on restoring, maintaining, and improving a person’s movement and function; this includes treatment to limit disabilities resulting from injury or disease. Physical therapists perform a variety of services:

  • evaluate injuries and develop a plan of care 
  • educate clients about health, wellness, and safety
  • provide manual therapies (e.g., massage and joint mobilization)
  • use physical agents, such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation
  • manage pain and direct therapeutic exercise
  • train patients in daily living activities

Physical Therapist Assistants provide treatment according to a plan developed by and under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist.



Salary and Projected Growth

Physical Therapist salary range: $75,584 - $123,555

Physical Therapist Assistant salary range: $50,443 - $72,913

Projected growth: much faster than average

Where Could I Work?

Hospitals and outpatient clinics

Rehabilitation centers

Home health agencies


Private or group practice

Your Interests and Abilities

Preparation in the sciences, including biology and physics

Planning and performing health care treatments


Professional Skills

Concern for others

Time management

Problem solving and critical thinking

Communication and interpersonal skills

Education Requirements

Physical Therapist- Complete a master’s or higher degree in physical therapy. Note: all active Department-registered PT licensure programs award the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Physical Therapy Assistant- Complete a two-year college program in a Department-registered physical therapist assistant licensure program or equivalent.

Adult learning for student university study in class, hand note lecture in notebook for exam

Physical Therapist- National Physical Therapy Examination, or equivalent.

Physical Therapy Assistant- National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to a physical therapist about what they do and how they got started! In addition, contact a local clinic to see if it has opportunities for students to observe practice.