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What Does a Physical Therapy Aide Do?

If you are interested in the field of physical therapy but don't have the resources or interest to devote to long-term study, you may want to consider becoming a physical therapy aide. Read this article to learn about what a physical therapy aide does.

Career Overview

A physical therapy aide is responsible for assisting a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant with a variety of tasks. Physical therapists work with patients to maximize mobility and help prevent and treat physical disabilities. A physical therapy aide is generally responsible for making sure that a patient's visit with the therapist is productive and runs smoothly. Below are some of a physical therapy aide's most common tasks.

Important Facts About Physical Therapy Aides

On-the-Job Training Ranges from one week to a few months
Key Skills Attention to detail, empathy, physical strength and endurance, interpersonal, empathy
Work Environment Physical, occupational, and speech therapy offices, hospitals, nursing care facilities, home health care services, physicians' offices
Similar Occupations Medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, physical therapists, occupational therapy assistants and aides

Treatment-Related Tasks

During a physical therapy appointment, a physical therapy aide is often responsible for greeting patients and leading them to the treatment area. The physical therapy aide generally makes sure that the treatment area is clean and adequately prepared to suit an individual patient's needs. Physical therapy aides work closely with the physical therapist and assistant, making sure that they have access to any tools and materials that may be used in treatment.

Clerical Tasks

Besides working to ensure that patients' appointments are productive, a physical therapy aide is also responsible for a number of clerical tasks. These tasks include preparing and organizing relevant paperwork and keeping track of patients' medical records. Depending on the particular work environment, this position may entail answering the phone and scheduling therapy appointments. Physical therapy aides may also assist with the ordering of supplies.

Education and Licensure Requirements

In most states, there is no education or licensing requirement for physical therapy aides. Most aides have a high school diploma and receive extensive on-the-job training. It is important to note that the role of a physical therapy aide is different from that of a physical therapy assistant, the latter of which requires more specific education and licensure.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by physical therapists' aides was $26,240 in May 2018. The employment of such aides is expected to grow by 29% between 2016 and 2026, per the BLS.