What does a Physical Therapist Assistant do?

Physical Therapist Assistants work under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist to implement a patient's treatment. They teach patients or clients exercises to increase their mobility, strength, and coordination. They also train patients to use crutches, canes, and walkers. Some physical therapist assistants are also trained in massage to help patients heal and relax.

Types of Work Environments

  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Nursing or extended care facilities
  • Research centers
  • Schools
  • Hospices
  • Industrial and workplace environments
  • Fitness and sports centers

Education and Training Requirements

Physical therapist assistants complete a two-year, five-semester associate's degree. They are also licensed according to national and state-level regulations by taking a nationally administered examination.


According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the median salary for a physical therapist assistant is approximately $52,000. This is predicated on several factors including education, experience, location, and the kind of work environment.

Professional Organization

The American Physical Therapy Association

Learn More

Explore the Physical Therapy Assistant programs Cleveland Clinic is affiliated with.