California Career Opportunities for Physical Therapist Assistants
Becoming a physical therapist assistant (PTA) can be an excellent choice for those individuals who are intending on entering a well-respected medical profession.
As licensed medical practitioners, PTAs will work with doctors, nurses and other professionals to provide high-quality care to their patients.
Most importantly, a licensed PTA can earn a substantial income over the course of his or her career.
Becoming a PTA in California
In general, PTA’s in California must pass an accredited PTA training program and then take the national physical therapy exam (NPTE) before they can obtain a license to work as a PTA.
PTA’s who are currently licensed in other states must still obtain a California PTA license, but do not have to repeat their training to obtain a California license.
However, there may be other requirements that a licensed PTA from another state must fulfill and so it is wise to speak to the California Physical Therapy Board before attempting to become licensed as a California PTA.
It is important to note that a PTA must work under the supervision of a qualified medical professional. California does not allow PTAs to diagnose health conditions, plan out a course of treatment or engage in independent medical care.
PTAs, who fail to abide by these regulations, can face severe professional consequences.
Career Opportunities for PTAs in California
In fact, California currently has the fourth-highest number of employed PTAs among America’s states.
Furthermore, this field continues to experience excellent growth, with job demand being driven by the opening of new PTA positions, combined with the retirement of currently employed PTAs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are currently over 4700 employed PTAs in California and that number is expected to grow by at least 41 percent until 2022, representing a far higher rate of job creation than most other comparable professions in America.
Furthermore, PTAs enjoy excellent salary rates, with annual mean wage enjoyed by California PTAs exceeding $64,000.
Finally, many employers provide their employees with generous benefits, including family and individual health plans, vacation time and retirement packages.
Specific California Employment Opportunities for PTAs
Because California has such a diverse economic and social setting, it offers a wide range of employment opportunities for PTAs.
Although many PTAs enjoy working in urban settings such as Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego, there are many smaller towns and mid-sized cities that can also provide excellent job opportunities for those PTAs who prefer to work in such surroundings.
This can be especially important for PTAs who have families or who are considering starting a family, as it allows them to seek employment in regions that they feel would be most congenial to the growth of their family.
The specific career fields for PTAs in California include the following employment opportunities:
• Sports medicine.
• Convalescent and rehabilitation services.
• Home health care assistance.
Sports medicine is a fast growing field in California, as more and more individuals seek out a variety of sports, be it for exercise or simple entertainment.
PTAs working in this area can provide care for those persons who have injured themselves or who need assistance in developing an effective exercise plan that suits their particular needs.
Convalescent and Rehabilitation Services
Physical therapy can be a vital part of helping an individual recover from a severe illness or injury. For that reason, many PTAs work in rehabilitation clinics, where they provide physical therapy for their patients.
Depending on the nature of the injury, these services can be provided on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Many of the PTAs working in these clinics focus on providing specialized types of care, such as pediatric physical therapy.
Eldercare Physical Therapy
Providing physical therapy to the elderly has been shown to dramatically improve both their physical health and overall quality of life. For this reason, many senior citizen housing complexes and convalescent homes have PTAs working as a part of their staff. PTAs working in these establishments must be prepared to work with individuals who may suffer from dementia or other age-related cognitive disorders, requiring that the PTA be both patient and understanding of their needs.
Home Health Care Services
In home physical therapy services will often involve traveling to the home of the patient and working with him or her on an individual basis. PTAs working in this field should enjoy traveling and meeting people at home. This is an especially common career for those PTAs who are employed in the rural parts of California.
Ultimately, California’s job market for PTAs is distinguished by being both varied and growing. Today, individuals seeking to become a PTA can be confident that they will enjoy a wide range of choice in the California job market, while also benefiting from the above average salary and benefits licensed California PTAs enjoy.