Physical therapy assistants and physical therapy aides work with physical therapists and their patients to help relieve pain or immobility in fractured bones or joints. These jobs play an important role in the operation of a physical therapy center because they help keep paperwork organized, keep equipment clean, and help patients reach their physical therapy goals. Physical therapy assistants often work with the patients on strength exercises, helping them use their tools to get stronger. Often, patients have suffered from car accidents, broken bones, or other physical disabilities. The physical therapist and his or her assistants work with patients to help rebuild injuries and increase strength in the muscles and joints.
The career of a physical therapy aide is often greatly enhanced by the completion of a training program. Check out the schools below which offer free information:
Physical therapy aides often do not have licenses to work with patients in this manner, and so they focus primarily on scheduling appointments, keeping the facility clean, keeping up with inventory and ordering supplies for the office, and filing paperwork.
Physical Therapy Assistant and Aide Training and Education Requirements
In order to become a physical therapy assistant, most states require that you obtain a license to practice. This is typically comprised of an associate’s degree from an accredited physical therapy program. This training is not as extensive as that of a physical therapist, which requires extensive training, but training is still necessary since you will be working directly with patients as they recover. The associate’s degree usually takes about two years to complete, and the coursework includes basic academic courses as well as fieldwork in a care facility. This hands-on experience is very important later on when looking for a job as a physical therapy assistant. In addition to this, most states require that students pass the National Physical Therapy Exam, obtain a license to practice, and keep up with continuing education to maintain that license. Physical therapy aides, on the other hand, only require the equivalent of a high school diploma, without any extra training or expertise. Most of the training for physical therapy aides is done on-the-job, so extra education is not often necessary. Key skills for becoming a successful physical therapy aide include friendliness, organization, and a desire to help patients. This industry would not work if it were not for those who wished to help others, and both physical therapy assistants and physical therapy aides must display this desire in order to be successful.
As a physical therapy assistant or aide, your hours and schedule may vary. Most physical therapy assistants and aides work full-time, around forty hours per week. However, many also work part-time, covering night and weekend shifts. There is a need for physical therapy assistants and aides who can work nights and weekends, since many hospitals or care facilities provide care at all hours of the day, based on their patients’ needs and schedule. The work environment for physical therapy assistants and aides is clean and often organized. However, physical therapy assistants often work with people who have suffered from severe injuries, and it is necessary to be able to work with these kinds of injuries. The goal is to make them better and to increase mobility and strength, and this requires assistance every step of the way. At times it may be necessary to lift patients to help them onto a bed for exercises, and for this reason physical therapy assistants should have some strength. For physical therapy aides, the strength requirement is not as necessary, but at times you will be helping patients get around the office and work with equipment.
Physical Therapy Assistant and Aide Salary and Wages
Most physical therapy assistants and aides earn between $25,000 and $50,000 a year. Salary and wages will depend on a number of factors, including training, skills, type of facility, and years of experience. Those with more education and experience will likely earn more than their less-educated counterparts. While there are many jobs available in this field, there are also many qualified applicants, especially for physical therapy aides. It is important to do well in school in order to secure a good job in the area that you wish to study. For physical therapy assistants, this means doing well on all exams and obtaining all necessary licensing requirements, as well as completing any additional training required for specialization.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Physical Therapy Assistant and Aide Certifications
While most physical therapy aides learn their skills on the job, physical therapy assistants must receive extra training in order to practice. The American Physical Therapy Association’s Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education is a great place to start when looking for certification programs, as well as the American Physical Therapy Association. Some states also require licensing, so always check with local authorities for more information.
Physical Therapy Assistant and Aide Professional Associations
The American Physical Therapy Association’s Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education is a key source for information for those interested in becoming a physical therapy assistant or aide. The American Physical Therapy Association also has a lot of information for those interested in this career, as well as continuing education programs.