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Massachusetts Physical Therapy Assistants

Performance of Services by PTAs

    • Physical therapist assistants may not initiate or alter a treatment program without prior evaluation by and approval by the supervising physical therapist.
    • Physical therapist assistants may, with prior approval by the supervising physical therapist, adjust a specific treatment procedure in accordance with changes in patient status.
    • Physical therapist assistants may not interpret data beyond the scope of their physical therapist assistant education.
    • Physical therapist assistants may respond to inquiries regarding patient status to appropriate parties within the protocol established by the supervising physical therapist.
    • Physical therapist assistants shall refer inquiries regarding patient prognosis to a supervising physical therapist.

What are the responsibilities of the PT when delegating to a PTA?

Physical therapists must exercise their professional judgment when determining the number of supportive personnel they can safely and effectively supervise to ensure that quality care is provided at all times.

What type of therapist supervision is required?

A physical therapist must provide supervision to physical therapist assistants

Supervision: A process by which two or more people participate in joint effort to establish, maintain and elevate a level of performance. Supervision requires the physical presence of all parties at regularly scheduled supervision sessions. Supervision is structured according to the supervisee's qualifications, position, level of preparation, depth of experience and the environment within which the supervisee functions.

What is the ratio between supervising PTs and PTAs?

Licensed physical therapy personnel must provide adequate staff to patient ratio at all times to ensure the provision of safe, quality care

Responsibilities of PTA when Delegating/Supervising  

Physical therapist assistants must exercise their professional judgment when determining the number of supportive personnel they can safely and effectively supervise to ensure that quality care is provided at all times.

A physical therapist assistant must provide direct supervision to the following persons rendering physical therapy services:

    • Physical therapist assistant students;
    • Physical therapy aides, rehabilitation aides or persons known by other similar titles.

What must a PTA document?

A physical therapist, physical therapist student, physical therapist assistant and physical therapist assistant student providing physical therapy intervention(s) shall legibly document, date, and authenticate all care that is provided:

    • Using their name as appearing on their professional license or legal name if a student;
    • Professional designation; and
    • Their license number if applicable.

When care is rendered by a physical therapist assistant or physical therapist assistant student, the documentation shall be contained in the patient’s ongoing treatment note.

Signature Requirements

Physical therapist assistants are not required to have their documentation co-signed.


Physical therapist assistants shall use the initials PTA immediately after their name.


259 CMR 5.02

259 CMR 5.03

259 CMR 5.04

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