Physical Therapy Aides or Assistants (PTAs) work with physical therapists to treat patients and help them increase mobility or manage pain. Oftentimes, people in these roles need to be very observant and watch patients closely before, during, and after therapy to make sure they're not experiencing any strange symptoms. They also help by setting up and cleaning the treatment area, so the patient and physical therapist can make the most of their time together.
PTAs are usually involved in the direct care of patients, and have to be able to educate families about treatment. They will also have to complete multiple tasks like cleaning, washing linens, and clerical duties.
Physical Therapy Aide Job Education Requirements
The entry-level education requirement for physical therapy aides is a minimum high school degree. This is because many of the techniques and process can be taught on the job. Those interested in the field who are looking to advance their careers should consider becoming physical therapy assistants, who need an associate's degree from an accredited PTA program.
While basic computer and clerical knowledge is required for PTAs, the majority of the job tends to require people to be on their feet most of the day in doctor's offices or hospitals. Certain positions might require candidates to lift a certain amount of weight if they're going to be holding patients or therapy materials.
Physical Therapy Aide Job Market
The job market for Physical Therapy Aides is projected to grow much faster than average in the next ten years. By 2022, there will be more than 49,000 new PTA jobs – a 41 percent growth rate. There are two primary reasons for this increase in demand. First, healthcare reform and better treatment of the elderly will increase the average lifespan of patients and make treatment more affordable. Also, our society's increased understanding of chronic conditions will better let us treat them with physical therapy.
Physical Therapy Aide Job Salary Information
Aides to Physical Therapists make an average of $24,000 a year, but can grow to become Physical Therapy Assistantswho make an average $39,000 annually. Assistants typically serve as a second set of hands to the Physical Therapist who is in charge of the treatment.
Becoming a physical therapy aide is a good stepping-stone to build experience and get your foot in the door. It will familiarize candidates with the environment and better prepare them if they return to school to further their physical therapy education.