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Become A Physical Therapy Aide

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Working As A Physical Therapy Aide

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Getting Information
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $48,000

    Average Salary

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.

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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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Physical Therapy Aide Jobs

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Physical Therapy Aide Career Paths

Physical Therapy Aide
Physical Therapist Outpatient Physical Therapist Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Outpatient Physical Therapist Team Leader
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Therapist Case Manager
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Massage Therapist Therapist Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Massage Therapist Therapist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Massage Therapist Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Team Leader Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Team Leader Owner
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Physician Assistant Assistant Professor Consultant
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Physician Assistant Physician Office Manager
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Physician Assistant Office Manager General Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Nanny Senior Technician Specialist Nursing Director
Director Of Health Services
10 Yearsyrs
Nanny Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Training Coordinator Service Supervisor
Patient Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Special Education Teacher Speech Language Pathologist
Therapy Program Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Registered Nurse Supervisor Clinical Director
Director Of Rehabilitation
7 Yearsyrs
Nanny Licensed Practical Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Physical Therapist Rehabilitation Center Manager Director Of Rehabilitation
Rehab Director
6 Yearsyrs
Staff Physical Therapist Clinician Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Exercise Physiologist Program Manager Deputy Director
Director, Customer Relations
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Physical Therapy Aide?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Therapy Aide 2.8 years
Rehab Technician 2.5 years
Rehab Aide 2.4 years
Therapy Technician 2.2 years
Aide 1.9 years
Top Careers Before Physical Therapy Aide
Internship 13.9%
Volunteer 12.4%
Cashier 7.4%
Server 4.4%
Assistant 2.5%
Top Careers After Physical Therapy Aide
Internship 7.4%
Volunteer 7.4%
Server 3.8%
Cashier 3.7%

Do you work as a Physical Therapy Aide?

Physical Therapy Aide Demographics

Gender

Female

57.8%

Male

32.0%

Unknown

10.2%
Ethnicity

White

58.6%

Hispanic or Latino

19.1%

Black or African American

10.3%

Asian

8.3%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.3%

Russian

3.9%

French

3.7%

Tagalog

3.2%

Swedish

3.0%

Chinese

2.7%

Cantonese

2.7%

Hindi

2.6%

Korean

2.3%

Mandarin

2.2%

Italian

2.2%

Vietnamese

1.9%

Portuguese

1.9%

Polish

1.6%

Japanese

1.4%

Gujarati

1.1%

Thai

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

German

1.0%

Arabic

1.0%
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Physical Therapy Aide Education

Schools

University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences

7.7%

Temple University

7.6%

University of Utah

6.5%

Northeastern University

6.4%

California State University - Northridge

5.7%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.1%

Brigham Young University

5.1%

Montclair State University

4.8%

San Diego State University

4.7%

Quinnipiac University

4.6%

San Francisco State University

4.4%

University of Phoenix

4.3%

University of the Sciences

4.2%

California State University - Long Beach

4.2%

Kean University

4.2%

San Jose State University

4.2%

Sacred Heart University

4.2%

State University of New York Stony Brook

4.1%

Drexel University

4.1%

University of California - Davis

4.0%
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Majors

Physical Therapy

25.3%

Kinesiology

24.8%

Nursing

6.2%

Medical Assisting Services

6.0%

Biology

5.5%

Psychology

4.2%

Business

3.7%

Health Sciences And Services

3.3%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

Physician Assistant

2.2%

Athletic Training

2.1%

Medical Technician

1.8%

Exercise Physiology

1.8%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Occupational Therapy

1.7%

Health Education

1.6%

Public Health

1.6%

General Studies

1.3%

Education

1.2%

Rehabilitation Science

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.5%

Other

18.3%

Associate

11.9%

Masters

10.6%

Doctorate

10.4%

Certificate

4.3%

Diploma

1.5%

License

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$48,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$23,000
Min 10%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$97,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill
Highest Paying City
De Pere, WI
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.1 years
How much does a Physical Therapy Aide make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Physical Therapy Aide in the United States is $48,391 per year or $23 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $23,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $97,000.

Real Physical Therapy Aide Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Physical Therapy Aide Gary Guerriero PTPC New York, NY Mar 03, 2016 $48,001
Physical Therapy Aide Gary Guerriero PTPC New York, NY Mar 03, 2014 $30,011 -
$48,001
Physical Therapy Aide Lomita Health Management, Inc. CA Sep 09, 2015 $29,702
Physical Therapy Aide Altman Physical Therapy Center New York, NY Oct 03, 2011 $29,218
Physical Therapy Aide Lomita Health Management, Inc. CA May 19, 2009 $28,195
Physical Therapy Aide Clackamas Sportscare, LLC OR Jan 10, 2016 $27,131
Physical Therapy Aide Able Bodies Physical Therapy Boston, MA Sep 01, 2013 $24,794 -
$29,531
Physical Therapy Aide San Luis Sports Therapy and Orthopedic Rehabilitat Templeton, CA Apr 01, 2014 $24,522
Physical Therapy Aide Allied Rehab Services, Inc. Torrance, CA May 06, 2011 $24,209
Physical Therapy Aide Allied Rehab Services, Inc. Torrance, CA Jun 03, 2010 $24,209
Physical Therapy Aide San Luis Sports Therapy and Orthopedic Rehabilitat Templeton, CA Apr 04, 2014 $23,959 -
$25,503
Physical Therapy Aide Bucks Physical & Sports Rehabilitation, LLC Richboro, PA Oct 01, 2011 $20,974
Physical Therapy Aide Bucks Physical & Sports Rehabilitation, LLC Richboro, PA Oct 01, 2011 $20,870
Physical Therapy Aide Atlanta Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center Atlanta, GA Aug 01, 2012 $20,870
Physical Therapy Aide Allied Rehab Services, Inc. Torrance, CA Jan 22, 2008 $20,348
Physical Therapy Aide Allied Rehab Services, Inc. Torrance, CA Mar 12, 2008 $20,348
Physical Therapy Aide Allied Rehab Services, Inc. Torrance, CA Feb 12, 2008 $20,348
Physical Therapy Aide Allied Rehab Services, Inc. Torrance, CA Dec 12, 2007 $20,348

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Top Skills for A Physical Therapy Aide

  1. Patient Care
  2. Ultrasound
  3. Scheduling Appointments
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Updated professional education by participating in discussion regarding patient care in Outpatient setting.
  • Administer ultrasound and thermal therapy treatment.
  • Assist Office Coordinator with administrative duties such as communicating with insurance companies and scheduling appointments for patients
  • Performed physical therapy related responsibilities * Supervised and made available the work hardening / work conditioning room as needed
  • Administered procedures such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound therapy and cold/heat packs.

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Top 10 Best States for Physical Therapy Aides

  1. Alaska
  2. New Hampshire
  3. North Dakota
  4. Maine
  5. Minnesota
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Connecticut
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Vermont
  10. New Mexico
  • (47 jobs)
  • (56 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (117 jobs)
  • (187 jobs)
  • (105 jobs)
  • (89 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (43 jobs)

Top Physical Therapy Aide Employers

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