What is a PTA

I just wrapped up my second week of PTA school and WOW! I am so excited about my future career in getting people back on their feet. From learning pulse sites, to draping a patient for privacy, to taking blood pressure, this first week has been a whirlwind. Not only that, but trying to refresh my brain on EVERY bone in the body has made for a fast paced week. But if you’re unfamiliar with a PTA let’s talk about what he/she is.

A PTA is a physical therapist assistant. The textbook definition is, “Physical therapist assistants provide physical therapist services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. PTAs implement components of patient care, obtain data related to the treatments provided, and collaborate with the PT to modify care as necessary.” Now you might be thinking, well that’s not too bad. Or wow, okay what a cool job. But this job can be TOUGH! Depending on the setting you work in, your job as the PTA is to be the patients everything. The two working environments I am most interested in is Home Health and Inpatient. So let’s talk about them.

Home Health

PTA’s can provide home health services, where they work in a patients home. This could be for a majority of reasons. Now, because of COVID-19, a lot of people are wanting home health because they don’t want to leave their home for safety reasons.

In school, my professor said this is where you’re on your own. You have so much freedom when it comes to making your schedule because essentially you are your own boss. Now you still have to report to the PT and those above you, but you drive yourself to each patients home and you arrange your day according to what works best for you! Also in this type of setting, it changes day to day. There is a lot of variety from day to day on who you’re seeing, where you’re going, and so-forth. It’s not seeing 8 left shoulder patients and 5 knee patients. In home health you have a MUCH larger variety in illnesses, diseases, and developmental disorders you would see versus outpatient.


From acute care to rehabilitation, physical therapist assistants are part of the collaborative care team in various hospital settings. Inpatient physical therapy takes place in a dedicated facility where the patient lives during their treatment. Most people typically think of a hospital setting. During inpatient, the physical therapist will check for current physical abilities and based off that, will develop a treatment program for meeting goals. Then the PTA will work with the patient everyday for about 3 hours meeting these goals. Goals to be met could include but not be limited to, mobility needed for everyday activities such as getting in and out of a car, walking up/down steps, getting in and out of bed, working and moving your muscles and joints.


While there are other settings for a PTA to work in such as outpatient facilities, nursing homes, schools, sports center, etc this is just a glimpse into the world of a PTA.

Here at Hohman Rehab, we employ PTA’s to help get you back to your normal! They work with you one-on-one to build up your strength and show you safer ways to go about tasks to keep you safe at home.