Physical Therapist Assistant

About the Physical Therapist Assistant Profession

Physical therapy, as a profession, dates from the beginning of the 20th century, when survivors of polio and WWI injuries created a demand for rehabilitation specialists. Physical therapy today is a health care specialty grounded on a foundation of evidence-based practice concerned with treating disorders that result in movement and functional limitations.

Clinical application of the science restores function, improves mobility, relieves pain, and prevents or limits permanent physical disabilities. The profession also works to promote overall fitness and health.

Who are Physical Therapist Assistants?

The physical therapist assistant is a technically educated health care provider who assists the physical therapist in the provision of physical therapy.

The physical therapist performs an examination and evaluation, develops a diagnosis, determines the prognosis then develops a plan of care for the patient/client.

The physical therapist assistant assists the physical therapist in implementing treatment programs according to the plan of care.

Duties may include:

  • instructing patients in exercises and activities of daily living
  • administering modalities and other treatment procedures
  • reporting to the physical therapist on the patient’s response to treatment.

Physical therapist assistants work in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, out-patient facilities, schools, and nursing homes.

Is Physical Therapist Assistant the Career Path for Me?

If you can answer yes to the questions below, a career as a Physical Therapy Assistant may be a good fit for you.

Do you:

  • enjoy helping people achieve a better quality of life?
  • enjoy working as part of a team toward a common goal?
  • have a compassionate and caring personality?

Can you:

  • sit, bend, reach, and/or walk and stand for most of the day?
  • lift and carry up to 35% of your own body weight?
  • communicate effectively in written and verbal forms?
  • place the needs of a patient above your own?
  • use your vision and touch for patient assessment?
  • use your fine and gross motor skills to assist a patient?

Program Contacts

Department Secretary

Linda Butler
Grundy Hall 135
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Program Advisor

Melissa Schneider
Health Education and Services Center 228C
319-296-2329 ext.1484
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Student Success Specialist

Darla Palmer
Health Education and Services Center 205
319-296-2329 ext.1223
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Pre-Health Advisor

Heidi Hudson
Hawkeye Center 208
319-296-2329 ext.1079
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Student Success Specialist: Pre-Health

Kay Wenzel
Grundy Hall 285
319-296-2329 ext.1063
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Dr. Gene Leutzinger
Grundy Hall 135
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