Performance Requirements: Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)

To ensure patient safety and welfare, you must meet the following requirements to perform essential job functions as a student physical therapist assistant.

This list is taken directly from a clinical site’s employee requirement list.

Physical Requirements


  • Must be able to lift in excess of 50 pounds

Lifting, moving, and transferring patients / clients and equipment are essential in physical therapy.

Pushing—Moderate loads

  • Must be able to push objects, such as an occupied wheelchair or stretcher

Pulling—Moderate loads

  • Must be able to pull objects, such as an occupied wheelchair or stretcher


  • Must be able to walk more than 30 minutes without break


  • Must be able to climb stairs, curbs and ramps


  • Must be able to stand more than 30 minutes without break

Sitting / Squatting

Must be able to:

  • Bend at the knees to perform this job
  • Get into squat position to perform this job


  • Must be able to bend at the waist to perform this job


  • Must be able to reach above shoulder level and behind body


  • Must have bilaterally functioning hands


  • Must have vision to perform this job

Seeing small dials on equipment, skin integrity, facial expressions, tissue colors and texture, and wound debridement is essential in physical therapy.

Communication Requirements


Must be able to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Have good volume, diction and grammar skills


  • Must be able to hear:
    • Oral communication
    • Equipment tones (high and low)

Hearing equipment tones in intensive care or patient complaints without looking at face is essential in physical therapy.

Written Language

Must be able to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Use good grammar, spelling and handwriting skills

Environmental Requirements

  • Must be able to work effectively:
    • In a culturally diverse setting
    • In high stress, fast-paced environment
    • With varying age groups (pediatric to geriatric)
    • With varying diagnoses:
      • Stroke
      • Head injury
      • Spinal cord injury
      • Parkinson’s disease
      • Alzheimer’s disease
      • Cardiac conditions
      • Respiratory conditions
      • Orthopedic injuries and surgeries
      • Amputations
      • Open wounds from burns or pressure ulcers
      • Others
  • Will be at high risk for exposure to:
    • Potentially biohazard waste (blood, body fluids, and tissue)
    • Diseases such as Hepatitis B and HIV



Trinity River Campus

Health Care Professions
Advising Resource Hub

Janette Keen
Career Advisor

Call 817-515-1484


Advising by Appointment

Fall & Spring Hours
Monday–Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Summer Hours
Monday–Thursday: 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m.

Updated January 29, 2024