What Are the Requirements to Be a Physical Therapy Aide?
Physical therapy aides typically need a high school diploma in order to enter the field. Read on to learn more about the education and skills requirements for a physical therapy aide. Schools offering Physical Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Physical therapy aides are employed by hospitals, nursing care facilities, and other rehabilitation facilities. They work under the direct supervision of physical therapists and physical therapy assistants.
As a physical therapy aide, you provide support to patients, physical therapists, and their assistants. This support can include preparing and cleaning therapeutic equipment. You could also help patients move to and from therapy sessions or position them on equipment. You may also be responsible for performing some administrative functions, such as maintaining inventory.
Important Facts About this Occupation
Average Salary (2014)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)
39% growth in employment
High risk of back injury from lifting and moving patients; job duties require almost constant standing and moving; may work evenings and weekends
Occupational therapy assistants, nursing assistants, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, psychiatric aides, dental assistants
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
You will need a high school diploma or GED to work as a physical therapy aide. Postsecondary education is typically not required.
Because these are entry-level positions, many employers provide you with training. You’re typically trained under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, although a physical therapy assistant might also provide some training. You may be introduced to various therapeutic equipment, exercises, and methods, as well as office or organizational protocols and administrative procedures.
Excellent communication skills are also required of physical therapy aides. During the course of a work day, you may need to answer patients’ questions and follow the instructions of therapists. Employers might also stress the importance of organizational or social skills.
If you’re interested in pursuing postsecondary education in physical therapy, you might enroll in a two-year physical therapy assistant associate degree program. If you want to become a physical therapist, you’ll need to complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. These entry-level professional programs prepare you to become a generalist in physical therapy.
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