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Physical Therapy Aide Careers

What Does a Physical Therapy Aide Do

Physical therapist assistants, sometimes called PTAs, and physical therapist aides work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. They help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain. Physical therapist assistants are involved in the direct care of patients. Physical therapist aides often do tasks that are indirectly related to patient care, such as cleaning and setting up the treatment area, moving patients, and performing clerical duties.

Duties

Physical therapist assistants typically do the following:

  • Observe patients before, during, and after therapy, noting patient status and reporting it to a physical therapist
  • Help patients do specific exercises as part of the plan of care
  • Treat patients using a variety of techniques, such as massage and stretching
  • Use devices and equipment, such as walkers, to help patients
  • Educate a patient and family members about what to do after treatment

Physical therapist aides typically do the following:

  • Clean treatment areas and set up therapy equipment
  • Wash linens
  • Help patients move to or from a therapy area
  • Do clerical tasks, such as answering phones and scheduling patients

Physical therapist assistants help physical therapists provide care to patients. Under the direction and supervision of physical therapists, they treat patients through exercise, massage, gait and balance training, and other therapeutic interventions. Physical therapist assistants record patients’ progress and report the results of each treatment to the physical therapist.

Physical therapist aides work under the direct supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. They usually are responsible for keeping the treatment area clean and organized, and preparing for each patient's therapy. They also help patients who need assistance moving to or from a treatment area. In addition, aides do a variety of clerical tasks, such as ordering supplies, scheduling treatment sessions, and filling out insurance forms. The types of tasks that physical therapist aides are allowed to perform vary by state. Contact your state licensing board for more information.

How To Become a Physical Therapy Aide

Physical therapist assistants entering the profession need an associate’s degree from an accredited program. All states require physical therapist assistants to be licensed or certified. Physical therapist aides usually have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training.

Education and Training

All states require physical therapist assistants to have an associate’s degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant program. There were more than 300 associate’s degree programs for physical therapist assistants accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education in 2015.

Programs typically last about 2 years. Classroom study includes courses in algebra, English, anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Assistants also gain hands-on experience during supervised clinical work. They may earn certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other first-aid skills.

Physical therapist aides typically have a high school diploma or the equivalent. They usually gain clinical experience through on-the-job training that can last from about a week to a month. Employers often prefer to hire applicants with computer skills.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require physical therapist assistants to be licensed or certified. Licensure typically requires graduation from an accredited physical therapist assistant program and passing the National Physical Therapy Exam for physical therapist assistants administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Some states require that applicants pass additional state-administered exams, undergo a criminal background check, and be at least 18 years old. Physical therapist assistants also may need to take continuing education courses to keep their license. Check with your state board for specific licensing requirements.

Physical therapist aides are not required to be licensed.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Physical therapist assistants and aides should enjoy helping people. They work with people who are in pain, and they must have empathy to help their patients.

Detail oriented. Like other healthcare professionals, physical therapist assistants and aides should be organized and have a keen eye for detail. They must keep accurate records and follow written and verbal instructions carefully to ensure quality care.

Dexterity. Physical therapist assistants should be comfortable using their hands to provide manual therapy and therapeutic exercises. Aides should also be comfortable working with their hands to set up equipment and prepare treatment areas.

Interpersonal skills. Physical therapist assistants and aides spend much of their time interacting with clients, their families, and other healthcare practitioners; and therefore should be courteous and friendly.

Physical stamina. Physical therapist assistants and aides are frequently on their feet and moving as they work with their patients. They must often kneel, stoop, bend, and stand for long periods. They should enjoy physical activity.

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Average Salary
$27,225
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
26%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
35,400
Job Openings

Physical Therapy Aide Career Paths

Top Careers Before Physical Therapy Aide

Volunteer
13.4 %

Top Careers After Physical Therapy Aide

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Physical Therapy Aide

Physical Therapy Aides in America make an average salary of $27,225 per year or $13 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $33,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $22,000 per year.
Average Salary
$27,225

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
New York, NY
Salary Range31k - 44k$37k$37,391
Grand Rapids, MI
Salary Range32k - 40k$37k$36,634
Atlanta, GA
Salary Range27k - 38k$33k$32,737
Portland, OR
Salary Range28k - 32k$31k$30,812
Redmond, WA
Salary Range27k - 31k$30k$29,521
Dover, DE
Salary Range24k - 34k$29k$29,206
$23k
$44k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Physical Therapy Aide
Physical Therapy Aide
Legacy Health
Legacy Health
01/16/2021
01/16/2021
$32,24401/16/2021
$32,244
Therapy Aide-Program In Physical Therapy
Therapy Aide-Program In Physical Therapy
Washington University of St. Louis
Washington University of St. Louis
12/11/2020
12/11/2020
$28,80112/11/2020
$28,801
Floater Physical Therapy Aide/Driver (Hudson County)
Floater Physical Therapy Aide/Driver (Hudson County)
Sportsmed Pt LLC
Sportsmed Pt LLC
12/11/2020
12/11/2020
$29,21812/11/2020
$29,218
Physical Therapy Aide II
Physical Therapy Aide II
State of Illinois
State of Illinois
11/20/2020
11/20/2020
$36,99611/20/2020
$36,996
Aide, Physical Therapy
Aide, Physical Therapy
Kent General Hospital
Kent General Hospital
11/03/2020
11/03/2020
$32,09811/03/2020
$32,098
See More Recent Salaries

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Physical Therapy Aide Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Physical Therapy Aide. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Physical Therapy Aide Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Physical Therapy Aide resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Physical Therapy Aide Demographics

Gender

female

61.0 %

male

34.8 %

unknown

4.3 %

Ethnicity

White

70.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.9 %

Asian

6.9 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.3 %

Russian

3.9 %

French

3.7 %
See More Demographics

Physical Therapy Aide Education

Majors

Biology
6.9 %

Degrees

Bachelors

53.9 %

Associate

14.6 %

Masters

8.1 %

Top Colleges for Physical Therapy Aides

1. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

2. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,104
Enrollment
7,089

3. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

4. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

5. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

6. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

7. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

8. University of South Florida

Tampa, FL • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,410
Enrollment
31,321

9. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

10. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,726
Enrollment
45,769
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Physical Therapy Aide

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 21.4% of physical therapy aides listed patient care on their resume, but soft skills such as time-management skills and dexterity are important as well.

Best States For a Physical Therapy Aide

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a physical therapy aide. The best states for people in this position are New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois. Physical therapy aides make the most in New York with an average salary of $37,325. Whereas in New Jersey and Michigan, they would average $37,277 and $36,594, respectively. While physical therapy aides would only make an average of $36,184 in Illinois, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Michigan

Total Physical Therapy Aide Jobs:
1,255
Highest 10% Earn:
$45,000
Location Quotient:
1.32
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Iowa

Total Physical Therapy Aide Jobs:
588
Highest 10% Earn:
$43,000
Location Quotient:
1.32
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Kansas

Total Physical Therapy Aide Jobs:
578
Highest 10% Earn:
$43,000
Location Quotient:
1.56
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Physical Therapy Aide Employers

1. Physical Therapy Central
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$29,123
Physical Therapy Aides Hired: 
122+
2. Physiotherapy Associates
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$28,619
Physical Therapy Aides Hired: 
90+
3. Professional Physical Therapy
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$28,684
Physical Therapy Aides Hired: 
71+
4. Athletico
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$28,408
Physical Therapy Aides Hired: 
53+
5. Therapeutic Associates
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$34,961
Physical Therapy Aides Hired: 
49+
6. Rancho Physical Therapy
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$29,277
Physical Therapy Aides Hired: 
45+

Physical Therapy Aide Videos

Updated October 2, 2020