Like many other industries, the healthcare environment may be exceptionally competitive, which is why it is vital to spot extra opportunities for employment apart from the traditional settings of hospitals and private clinics. Although the idea of a foray into an entirely new environment and the necessity to work under completely different circumstances is admittedly frightening, a qualified PTA will be able to handle a change in the workplace routine and adjust to new demands. By training to apply PT-related knowledge and skills to address the needs of diverse customers and exploring the world of digital tools for supporting patients during their PT routine, a PTA will quickly develop the skills and prowess needed to navigate new workplace environments.
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Option 1: Academic Setting
Exploring the academic environment as the likely employment opportunity should be the first step for a PTA to take. Indeed, in a school setting, a PTA will perform roughly the same set of tasks, with the few exceptions of the patients being underage, and the performance having to be aligned with the established curriculum or education programs (Noh et al., 2018). Specifically, a PTA may assist students with special needs in the school environment, as well as provide relevant physical therapy opportunities for learners, in general (Noh et al., 2018).
Ranging from $4,800 to $6,500 per month, the payment for the specified services will be quite a lucrative option for a beginner PTA expert. Moreover, working in the academic setting will provide a PTA with helpful knowledge and a plethora of experience in managing the needs of age-specific patient groups, namely, pediatric patients.
Option 2: Home Environment
Another opportunity that a PTA should consider is extending the provision of the relevant services to the home setting. By addressing patients’ needs in the confinement of their own homes, a PTA can create a more relaxed atmosphere for the patient, while also establishing the rapport quickly (Dellosso, 2020). As a result, the effects of the therapy are likely to occur at a much faster rate than they would in the clinical setting, mainly due to a more nuanced understanding of the specifics of the patient’s environment and the barriers that patients face as a result (Dellosso, 2020). The described employment opportunity will also offer insights into culture-specific factors that shape customers’ experience and the challenges that they face in managing their physical shape, gait and balance, and other issues related to the well-being of their musculoskeletal system (Dellosso, 2020).
Therefore, considering home care and individual assistance as one of the possible opportunities is also an option. However, due to the increased range of expenses and the reduced amount of time as a result of traveling from one patient’s home to another, a PTA will have to increase the charge for each visit, which, without a distinguishable competitive advantage, may reduce the chances for being hired (Dellosso, 2020). For this reason, working with customers in their home environment is unlikely to be a particularly lucrative opportunity unless one possesses a broad range of skills that set one apart from other experts in PT.
Option 3: Rehabilitation Facilities
Furthermore, a PTA may consider exploring rehabilitation centers as a possible workplace venue. Since a range of health issues and disorders are addressed in the specified settings, the assistance of a qualified PTA is likely to be quite welcome in a rehabilitation center (Dean et al., 2019). Specifically, a PTA may help in coordinating the extent of physical exercises needed for a patient with specific health issues to recover faster (Dean et al., 2019). Indeed, even in the rehabilitation centers that focus on mental health concerns, the inclusion of physical therapy as the path to relaxation and, therefore, a drop in anxiety and the associated mental health conditions, is typically welcome (Dean et al., 2019). For this reason, a PTA may consider checking the rehab center setting as a possible venue for working and career building.
Option 4: Sports Training Facilities
Although the job of a PTA is usually thought of as the support of people with health issues, a PTA can also perform the role of an assistant for regular customers who take up certain types of sports. In other words, sports training facilities should also be regarded as a possible place of work for a PTA expert (Oster et al., 2020). In the context of the sports training facilities, a PTA can provide support and recommendations for avoiding traumas when engaging in sports activities (Oster et al., 2020).
With the help of short on-the-job training, a PTA will quickly develop the skills needed to approach each customer individually and adjust the training sessions to meet their goals while taking their personal characteristics into account. The specified job opportunity will also offer a plethora of options for a training in diversity since the needs of clients from different sociocultural, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds are likely to be quite different. Therefore, the described experience will contribute to the development of a personalized approach that a PTA will be able to adopt later in professional practice, therefore, refining the treatment strategy and understanding the needs of patients better.
Option 5: Nursing Home and Assisted Care Settings
Finally, continuing the theme of expanding and exploring new healthcare settings, a PTA may focus on seeking job opportunities in the environment of a nursing home or the setting of assisted care facilities. While both are very demanding in terms of the criteria for a job application, they also provide an excellent chance to train new skills and develop a unique treatment strategy.
Specifically, in the nursing home setting, catering to the needs of aging people will imply being able to develop unique approaches for the target demographic based on specific health issues that each has. Apart from general concerns, such as avoiding falls in geriatric patients by promoting mobility and training the necessary physical capabilities in aging people, the specified setting will allow focusing on patient-specific concerns, such as fostering mobility in aging people with obesity, diabetes, CVD, and other health concerns (Kotejoshyer, Punnett, Dybel, & Buchholz, 2019). Thus, a PTA will develop a broad range of skills that will invite new chances for professional growth.
With the focus on transferring PTA-related skills and knowledge to a new setting and understanding the needs of diverse audiences, a PTA will be able to expand the range of the available employment options to the contexts of the home environment, academic settings, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and assisted care facilities, and sports training services. Although each of the settings in question requires meeting additional criteria for managing the needs of the target demographic, a PTA can meet these requirements after undergoing appropriate training. As a result, a PTA will be able to enjoy a plethora of extra job opportunities and even foray into new areas, gaining extra skills and knowledge.
Dean, E., Skinner, M., Myezwa, H., Mkumbuzi, V., Mostert, K., Parra, D. C., & Global Health Working Group. (2019). Health competency standards in physical therapist practice. Physical Therapy, 99(9), 1242-1254. Web.
Dellosso, M. (2020). A day in the life of a rural home care physical therapist assistant. Home Healthcare Now, 38(5), 284-285. Web.
Kotejoshyer, R., Punnett, L., Dybel, G., & Buchholz, B. (2019). Claim costs, musculoskeletal health, and work exposure in physical therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapist assistants, and occupational therapist assistants: a comparison among long-term care jobs. Physical Therapy, 99(2), 183-193. Web.
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Noh, J. W., Park, B. S., Kim, E. J., & Kim, M. H. (2018). The investigation of the educational needs on the job competence for physical therapist assistant in the students of Quang Tri medical college in Vietnam. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 30(12), 1428-1433. Web.
Oster, N. V., Skillman, S. M., Stubbs, B. A., Dahal, A., Grace Guenther, M. P. A., & Frogner, B. K. (2020). The physical therapist workforce in the US. Physical Therapy, 33(5), 18. Web.