Schools for Rehab Technicians

Physical therapy professionals work to improve a patient's mobility and lessen the pain. Get information about degree programs and advancement options in this field. Schools offering Rehabilitation Sciences degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

If you are looking to become a rehab technician, postsecondary education programs are available to you. Keep reading to find out more about job requirements and training, program offerings, and licensure information through this article.

What Is a Rehab Technician?

Training as a physical therapy aide, or rehab technician, prepares you to work under the supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant. Though you may administer therapeutic exercises and movement manipulation, a larger amount of your duties will be non-clinical. Among these are informing, assisting and motivating patients as well as observing and recording patient treatments and responses. You may also maintain equipment and treatment areas, arrange transportation for patients and complete various clerical duties.

What Training Do I Need?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), if you hold a high school diploma, you may become a rehab technician or physical therapy aide by way of on-the-job training (www.bls.gov). However, there are a number of community colleges and technical schools where you can receive formal postsecondary training as a physical therapy aide.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) can be an excellent source of nationally accredited postsecondary programs. A search through the NCES online database yields over 30 schools offering physical therapy aide education programs (www.nces.ed.gov).

What Will I Learn?

Depending on the school, it can take you from eight weeks to nine months to earn a certificate as a physical therapy aide or technician. Typically, you'll study clinical and clerical subjects. Among these are anatomy and medical terminology, medical records, physical therapy modalities, range of motion and ambulation. A school may require you to complete an externship at an affiliated healthcare facility. Many schools offer physical therapy aide programs online, though you may be required to complete your externship at a local healthcare facility.

Which Schools Offer Physical Therapy Technician Certificate Programs?

Certificate programs for physical therapy technicians or aides are available at a range of colleges and universities. See below for a handful of them:

  • Brookdale Community College houses a Physical Therapy Aide Certificate program
  • California State University Long Beach provides a Physical Therapy Aide Certificate program
  • The College of Health Care Professions has a Physical Therapy Technician Certificate program

What Can You Tell Me about Licensure and Advancement?

Physical therapy aides are not required to obtain professional certification or licensure in order to practice; however, advancement to a physical therapy assistant position does entail licensure in most states. Becoming licensed generally involves obtaining a physical therapy assistant associate's degree from a program accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association. You may then sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination for physical therapy assistants. Individual states may have additional exam requirements, as well as continuing education requirements, for licensure.

Although becoming a physical therapy assistant takes greater educational commitment and licensure, it's worth noting that these professionals make more than twice as much per year than aides. The BLS reports that physical therapy assistants earned a median salary of $51,040 as of May 2011, while physical therapy aides earned a median salary of $23,680. Both professions were projected to experience excellent job growth in the coming years at a rate of above 40% from 2010-2020, though aides were still expected to experience intense competition.

Which Schools Offer Physical Therapy Technician Associate Degree Programs?

It is also common to find associate degree programs for physical therapy technicians, often under the major of physical therapy assistant. Take a look at the following programs:

  • Lone Star College delivers an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant degree program
  • Essex County College has an Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant degree program
  • Tidewater Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant degree program

While a high school education is satisfactory for holding a job as a physical therapy technician, a certificate or associate degree program can give you a boost and make you more marketable to employers. These programs can be found at plenty of colleges, giving you choice over your education.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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