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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

  • $53,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Physical Therapy Technician 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 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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Physical Therapy Technician Career Paths

Physical Therapy Technician
Personal Trainer Instructor Consultant
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Personal Trainer Trainer Consultant
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Personal Trainer Instructor Administrator
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Patient Care Coordinator Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Owner
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Assistant Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapy Aide Physical Therapist Therapist
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Massage Therapist Therapist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Massage Therapist Therapist Office Manager
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Senior Technician Specialist Nursing Director
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Social Worker Service Supervisor
Patient Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapy Aide Physician Assistant Medical Officer
Chief Medical Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist PRN Speech Language Pathologist
Therapy Program Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Massage Therapist Lead Therapist Clinical Director
Director Of Rehabilitation
7 Yearsyrs
Physician Assistant Clinical Manager Director Of Rehabilitation
Rehab Director
6 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Clinical Director
Rehabilitation Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Health Coach Registered Nurse Case Manager Coordinator/Manager
Director Of Field Coordination
5 Yearsyrs
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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
Top Careers Before Physical Therapy Technician
Internship 13.5%
Cashier 8.6%
Volunteer 8.0%
Server 5.1%
Assistant 2.6%
Hostess 2.5%
Waitress 2.2%
Top Careers After Physical Therapy Technician
Internship 8.7%
Cashier 4.5%
Server 4.5%
Volunteer 4.1%

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Top Skills for A Physical Therapy Technician

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Patient Care
  3. Electrical Stimulation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided recommendations regarding the hiring of new sports medicine and physical therapy technicians and assisted directors with technician performance evaluations.
  • Communicated to therapists on patient performance, condition and participation during delegated patient care activities.
  • Administered ultrasound, electrical stimulation and mechanical traction, according to specific parameters set by the therapist.
  • Assisted with front desk responsibilities: filing, answering phones, scheduling patient appointments, and receiving co-payments.
  • Develop individualized fitness and physical treatment plans for a new residential chemical dependence treatment center.

Physical Therapy Technician Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 8,352 Physical Therapy Technician 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.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Physical Therapy Technician Resume

View Resume Examples

Physical Therapy Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

56.6%

Male

34.1%

Unknown

9.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

13.5%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.2%

Swedish

4.8%

French

3.9%

Arabic

3.9%

German

3.5%

Portuguese

2.9%

Russian

2.6%

Chinese

2.3%

Korean

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.3%

Mandarin

1.3%

Romanian

1.0%

Italian

1.0%

Gujarati

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%

Thai

0.6%

Albanian

0.6%

Japanese

0.6%

Dutch

0.3%

Yoruba

0.3%
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Physical Therapy Technician Education

Schools

Arizona State University

10.5%

Oakland University

8.0%

Towson University

6.5%

Texas A&M University

5.9%

Texas State University

5.5%

University of Phoenix

5.1%

Northern Arizona University

5.0%

Southeastern Louisiana University

4.8%

Unitech Training Academy - Lafayette

4.7%

University of Kentucky

4.6%

University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences

4.4%

Wayne State University

4.1%

Old Dominion University

4.1%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

4.0%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.9%

Grand Canyon University

3.9%

University of Louisville

3.8%

University of Oklahoma

3.8%

Pennsylvania State University

3.8%
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Majors

Kinesiology

26.9%

Physical Therapy

19.9%

Medical Assisting Services

7.9%

Nursing

5.7%

Business

5.1%

Biology

5.1%

Psychology

4.0%

Health Sciences And Services

3.1%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

Athletic Training

2.3%

General Studies

2.2%

Exercise Physiology

2.1%

Medical Technician

2.0%

Health And Wellness

2.0%

Physician Assistant

1.9%

Health Education

1.6%

Education

1.4%

Public Health

1.4%

Occupational Therapy

1.3%

Criminal Justice

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.6%

Other

19.6%

Associate

13.2%

Masters

12.1%

Doctorate

6.8%

Certificate

4.0%

Diploma

1.2%

License

0.6%
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