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Washington Physical Therapy Assistants

Physical Therapy Assistants

Definition of a PTA

"Physical therapist assistant" means a person who meets all the requirements of this chapter and is licensed as a physical therapist assistant and who performs physical therapy procedures and related tasks that have been selected and delegated only by the supervising physical therapist.

What activities are expressly prohibited?

A physical therapist may not delegate sharp debridement to a physical therapist assistant.

What type of therapist supervision is required?

Physical therapist assistants may function under direct or indirect supervision

"Direct supervision" means the supervisor must:

    • Be continuously on-site and present in the department or facility where the person being supervised is performing services;
    • Be immediately available to assist the person being supervised in the services being performed; and
    • Maintain continued involvement in appropriate aspects of each treatment session in which a component of treatment is delegated to assistive personnel or is required to be directly supervised.

"Indirect supervision" means the supervisor is not on the premises, but has given either written or oral instructions for treatment of the patient and the patient has been examined by the physical therapist at such time as acceptable health care practice requires and consistent with the particular delegated health care task.

What is the ratio between supervising PTs and PTAs?

The physical therapist may supervise a total of two assistive personnel at any one time.


Supervision requires that the patient reevaluation is performed:

    • Every fifth (5th) visit, or if treatment is performed more than five (5) times per week, reevaluation must be performed at least once a week;
    • When there is any change in the patient's condition not consistent with planned progress or treatment goals.

"Patient reevaluation" means the licensed physical therapist must physically observe and interview the patient.


RCW 18.74.010

RCW 18.74.180

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