Becoming a Physiotherapist Assistant2016-09-07T19:38:02-04:00


Physiotherapist assistants (PTAs) in Ontario work under the direction of a physiotherapist in the provision of physiotherapy services. PTAs work with physiotherapists to provide client-centered care to patients and are assigned tasks based on:

  • Education and training
  • The needs of the client
  • The practice environment

Even though physiotherapist assistants are supervised by a physiotherapist, PTAs are accountable for their own performance. As a physiotherapist assistant, you must ensure that you are capable of completing tasks that are assigned to you.

Read the Essential Competency Profile of Physiotherapist Assistants in Canada 2012 to learn more about what you should know as a PTA. The Profile also lists the following tasks that are not within a PTA’s scope of practice and must be completed by a physiotherapist:

  • Client assessment
  • Interpretation of findings
  • Determination and initiation of interventions
  • Profession of interventions
  • Re-evaluation
  • Discharge planning

Tools and resources for PTs working with PTAs can be found on the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario website.



It is not a requirement to have a degree or diploma from a PTA program in order to practice as a physiotherapist assistant in Ontario. However, it is best practice that a physiotherapist assign tasks to PTAs based on their education, training and the overall competence of a PTA so it is often beneficial to have an educational background. Hiring organizations can also determine what credentials they prefer.

Almost all programs in Ontario offer combined physiotherapist assistant and occupational therapist assistant (OTA) education programs. Upon the completion of a PTA/OTA program, the graduate would have the skill set to provide client-centered care in both areas of work.


Accredited versus non-accredited PTA Programs

An accredited program has been approved by the Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant Accreditation Program. To be accredited, the program must have applied for the designation and wait for a period of 2-3 years while their program is evaluated.

List of all accredited and non-accredited PTA Programs

Find out more about what you need to know to be a physiotherapist assistant with this Self Assessment Readiness ToolTM for Physiotherapist Assistant.


Where do PTAs work and what patients do they work with?

Physiotherapist assistants are needed in a wide variety of work settings. Below is a list of areas where PTAs may find employment:

  • Retirement Home
  • Private Clinic
  • Home Care
  • Hospital Emergency Department
  • Rehabilitation Centre
  • Long Term Care Home
  • Inpatient Acute or Critical Care
  • Outpatient Hospital Department

Patients can range from young children to seniors, all with a variety of conditions.