I plan to be a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) when I finish college. The Physical Therapist Assistant program is a two year program. I am positive that this is what I want to be. I can finish school at any time after I become a Physical Therapist Assistant, and become a full on Physical Therapist, if I would ever want to. I will be transferring to Wytheville Community College next year, because Bluefield College doesn’t have the Physical Therapist Assistant program. I am going to Bluefield College my first year to get my general classes done, because my mom works as a secretary there and I get free tuition.
My church youth pastor, Quentin Dunford, is a Physical Therapist Assistant. I interviewed him about his job and about the college courses you have to go through to be a PTA. I even went to his workplace for about half a work day (four hours) to do some job shadowing. He taught me a lot about being a PTA, and what you have to do to become one. I asked him a lot of questions, such as what classes do I have to take to become a PTA? Are the classes hard? Is the job hard? What do you do on a daily basis? How long are the work days? Is there a lot of job availability for PTAs?
About how much does a PTA make? How much does a Physical Therapist make? And how much longer would I have to go to college to be a Physical Therapist? He answered all of the questions I had for him. He told me the only class he knows you are required to take is Chemistry. He said that the classes aren’t too hard if you study a lot and do your best at them. The job isn’t that hard at all. On a daily basis you work with people who have injuries, such as a broken knee, or a sprained ankle. You even work with old or obese people who can’t walk well or move around much.
Your goal is to work with people and heal whatever injuries or conditions they have. For example, if someone has a sprained ankle, you must first look at the plans set out by the Physical Therapist on your email. Quentin showed me this when I went to his workplace. On the plan set, it will have things like the weekly and monthly goals, the person’s injury or condition, and a date by which he or she should be healed by. If the person you were working with had a sprained ankle, then you would have that person work on it and exercise using it.
You would start at light exercises and work your way up. The work days for a PTA are normal office hours, nine a. m. through five p. m. every weekday. There is plenty of job availability for PTAs. You could find a job being a PTA just about anywhere. A PTA on average makes between eighteen to twenty dollars an hour and a minimum of forty thousand dollars a year, starting out. After a while, you will end up making twenty to twenty-five dollars an hour. A Physical Therapist makes about ten dollars more an hour. It would take another four years to finish college and become a Physical Therapist.
When I went to do job shadowing at Quentin workplace, I went from about one o’clock to five o’clock. I watched him work with his daily patients. One thing he did was help an obese woman who couldn’t walk and had to use a wheelchair. He used a machine to lift her onto some kind of bed or mat. Then, he gave her exercises to do with her legs. He wrapped small weights around her leg and made her do small exercises, such as lifting her legs up and down. Some of the things people have to do are really simple. For example, he had this one elderly lady just walk across the hallway, while he held on to her.
He told me that I didn’t get to see everything he does on a daily bases, but I still got to see the basic things. Doing the job shadowing helped me further confirm that this is what I want to do. I want to be a PTA, because I think I would enjoy the job. I enjoy health and exercise related things. Being a PTA would probably help increase my knowledge about health and exercise. Also, it doesn’t seem like too hard of a job and it has pretty good pay, especially for a job that only takes two years of college. I can’t wait to finish college so that I can be a PTA.