A physical therapist assistant who is working on a PRN schedule has the same duties and responsibilities of a colleague with a formal work schedule. Instead of having set hours, a PRN schedule — short for the Latin "pro re nata" — likely means the assistant work on a floating, hourly basis based on the needs of the facility.
Because the concept of PRN employees in the medical field is to have workers who are scheduled on a need basis, you're likely working for an hourly wage. CareerBuilder places the average hourly wage between $16.77 and $39.15, based on a low and high salary range of $34,889 to $81,433. PayScale.com reports that the average hourly wage for a physical therapy assistant is between $19.96 and $27.53. Working overtime increases the rate to $29.87 and $40.73 per hour. More than 1,900 physical therapist assistants participated in the PayScale.com survey.
Working on a PRN schedule doesn't necessarily mean working part-time for an hourly wage. It's possible for an organization, such as a medical group that runs a number of physical therapy locations, to hire a PRN physical therapist assistant to work full-time but float between the various locations based on the daily needs of each location. The annual salary for a full-time physical therapist assistant is $49,752, according to CareerBuilder.com. PayScale.com places the average range between $41,226 and $57,423 per year.
Because "working PRN" refers more to the way a physical therapy assistant is scheduled than it does to the amount of hours worked, it's possible for such an employee to qualify for medical benefits. According to the PayScale survey, 70 percent of physical therapist assistants receive medical insurance; 50 percent receive dental coverage, and 38 percent have vision coverage.
The physical therapist assistant has a wide range of responsibilities that vary throughout the day. Clerical duties, such as filing forms or answering the phone, aren't unusual. More often, however, a physical therapist assistant is working directly with patients, such as fitting a patient with a leg brace or instructing the correct techniques to use devices such as crutches, walkers and canes.