Physical Therapists are professionals who have been awarded a specialized degree after the rigorous study of anatomy, physiology, pathology and the effects of exercise and movement. Most Physical Therapists have Masters Degrees and a majority of schools have transitioned to Clinical Doctorate degrees. ALL licensed Physical Therapists have passed a national licensure examination and hold a license in the state in which they work.
Physical Therapist Assistants are paraprofessionals who have Associate of Applied Science degrees. The PTA has a similar course of study to the PT, minus the training required to evaluate and develop treatment plans. Most states require the PTA to pass a licensure exam prior to working. In addition, all states have requirements for PTAs to be supervised by a licensed PT. The Physical Therapist Assistant performs tasks as directed by the Physical Therapist and does not evaluate patients, determine treatment plans or discharge patients from care.