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Become A Physical Therapy Technician

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Working As A Physical Therapy Technician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Deal with People

  • $52,330

    Average Salary

What Does A Physical Therapy Technician Do

A Physical Therapy Technician assists with the planning and implementation of patient care. They help patients move, keep treatment areas organized and clean, and record patients' progress for therapists.

How To Become A Physical Therapy Technician

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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Top Skills for A Physical Therapy Technician

AssistPhysicalTherapistUltrasoundTherapyElectricalStimulationPatientCareTreatmentAreasManualTherapeuticExercisesPatientChartsWhirlpoolPatientInformationPhoneCallsPatientSchedulingFrontDeskCustomerServiceSchedulingAppointmentsTreatmentPlansFunctionalActivitiesPhysicalTherapyTreatmentPhysicalTherapyEquipmentFrontOfficeMedicalRecords

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Top Physical Therapy Technician Skills

  1. Assist Physical Therapist
  2. Ultrasound Therapy
  3. Electrical Stimulation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assist Physical Therapist during various stages of patient care and physical rehabilitation.
  • Performed ultrasound therapy, electrical stimulation, and cervical traction to help maximize the patient's experience in attending rehab.
  • Perform ultrasound and electrical stimulation on prescribed patients in order to improve their symptoms.
  • Used problem solving skills to ensure and quality patient care is received.
  • Transported patients to and from treatment areas, using wheelchairs or provided support.

Top Physical Therapy Technician Employers