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Physical Therapist Assistant

Associate's Degree

Physical Therapist Assistant

Fast Facts

National annual wage range:
$34,640 to 79,0401
Tuition and fees:
Program length:
77 weeks

From relieving pain to improving mobility, physical therapist assistants (also called PTAs) play an important role in helping patients in need of both physical rehabilitation and compassion. Their skills are depended on by those recovering from surgery or injury, as well as by an aging population. National employment for physical therapist assistants is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations.1

Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Brightwood College

Our Physical Therapist Assistant associate's degree program is designed to train you to work under the supervision of a physical therapist. Our program includes instruction in classroom, laboratory and clinical settings. Coursework helps develop skills such as:

  • Observing patients and reporting to a physical therapist
  • Assisting patients with specific exercises
  • Using different techniques and equipment to help patients
  • Educating patients and their family members about treatment
  • Preparing eligible students to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination for physical therapist assistants

What Do Physical Therapist Assistants Do?

Under the direction and supervision of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants provide care to patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses. PTAs treat patients with the goal of helping them regain movement and manage pain through exercise, massage, gait and balance training, and other therapeutic interventions.

Real-World Physical Therapist Assistant Clinical Training

Prior to graduation from Brightwood College, you will be required to complete clinical rotations at an approved facility. This opportunity offers interaction with professionals in the physical therapist field and hands-on experience to help prepare you to pursue entry-level employment after graduation.2

Physical Therapist Assistant Job Description

Specific job responsibilities for a PTA will depend practice area and work setting. Many physical therapist assistants, however, have duties including:

  • Observing patients before, during and after therapy, noting patient status and reporting it to a physical therapist
  • Helping patients do specific exercises as part of the plan of care
  • Treating patients using a variety of techniques, such as massage and stretching
  • Using devices and equipment, such as walkers, to help patients
  • Educating a patient and family members about what to do after treatment

Growth of Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs

Employment of physical therapist assistants is expected to increase 40 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.1 The recent 100 Best Jobs report from U.S. News & World Report (based on salary, employment rate, growth, stress level and work-life balance) ranks this profession at number 22.

How Much Do Physical Therapist Assistants Make?

According to the latest national data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay for physical therapist assistants is $45,290 per year (or $21.77 per hour). Salary will vary based on experience, location of employment and the specific job title and duties being performed.1

Physical Therapist Assistant Career Opportunities

As a graduate of Brightwood College, you may seek future entry-level positions as a physical therapist assistant in settings such as:

  • Acute-care hospitals
  • Outpatient practices
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes

How Do I Pay for College?

The right combination of financial aid programs could help you manage the costs involved in obtaining your degree. Determine the types of financial aid available, how to apply for aid and what you can do to make school more affordable.

Programmatic Accreditation

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Brightwood College in Dallas, TX is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 972-481-7449 or email

View student outcome rates for the Physical Therapist assistant program at Brightwood College, Dallas campus.

Get Started Today

Connect with us to take the first step toward a new career and a brighter future. Request more information or give us a call to learn more about our Physical Therapist Assistant associate’s degree program.

The College makes no representation, promise or guarantee that completion of this program either assures passage of any certification examination or acceptance by any state board. Prospective and current students, as well as graduates, are responsible for researching and understanding all examination, registration or licensure requirements in any state in which they seek to become registered, licensed or employed. Brightwood College does not guarantee employment or career advancement.

1 The median annual wage for physical therapist assistants was $56,610 in May 2016. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,640, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,040. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides, on the Internet at (visited October 18, 2017). Expected growth rate through the year 2024. National long-term projections and salary averages may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth or any particular salary.

2 Placement at clinical sites may require passing a background check, medical examination, and other screening procedures.

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