Physical Therapist Assistant Job Search Tips

A physical therapy assistant job involves taking care of patients who have sustained skeletal, muscular or neurological injuries. To find a job in this rewarding, fast-growing career requires knowledge of the field and excellent networking skills. This article explores the various ways physical therapy assistant program graduates or experienced professionals can find employment within the field.

Clinical Practicum

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program in physical therapist assisting are required to complete a clinical practicum either through a hospital, outpatient clinic or rehabilitation center. It is during this clinical practicum that students have the opportunity to showcase their new skills to department managers and physical therapists. If the managers or therapists are impressed with the student’s ability at the clinical site, then it might lead to a job offer after graduation.

Physical Therapy Aide

Another way to break into the physical therapy field and still receive a salary is to work as a physical therapy aide. Physical therapy aides receive on-the-job training and perform such duties as transporting patients to and from the treatment area, cleaning the treatment area, running the whirlpool treatments, answering phones and performing clerical duties. While working as an aide, individuals have the ability to "shadow" physical therapy assistants and after a year; aides can then apply for a physical therapy assistant job.

Professional Organizations

Experienced professionals looking to find a physical therapy assistant job should join the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Individuals can attend state chapter meetings and network with other colleagues to find out what positions are available or soon to be available within the community. Besides chapter meetings, the association also offers a mentoring program, a career planning service, printed classified ads and an online job bank.

Career Fairs

Hospitals and rehabilitation centers will periodically hold career fairs to recruit new staff. At these career fairs, individuals have the opportunity to ask questions and interview with the human resource staff at the facility. Many facilities offer additional benefits when applying through a career fair, such as sign-on bonuses, uniform reimbursement and tuition reimbursement.

Trade Publications

Industry magazines that cater to the medical field, such as ADVANCE, offer employment resources in the form of online job listings, tools to post online resumes, career and resume articles and email notifications for new job postings. Some magazines even host their own job fairs, which travel around the United States. Those who attend might enjoy free seminars, career training information, career counseling and job interview sessions, as well as prizes and refreshments.

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