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Become A Rehab Aide

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Working As A Rehab 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

  • $28,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Rehab 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 Rehab 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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Rehab Aide Career Paths

Rehab Aide
Physical Therapist Assistant PRN Case Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Office Manager Business Office Manager
Business Office Director
8 Yearsyrs
Occupational Therapist Program Director General Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Aide Case Manager Operations Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Outpatient Physical Therapist Clinician
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Case Manager Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Rehab Technician Physical Therapist Assistant Physical Therapist
Director Of Rehabilitation
7 Yearsyrs
Rehab Technician Office Manager Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Assistant Massage Therapist Registered Nurse
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Technician Specialist Program Manager Clinical Director
Outpatient Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Occupational Therapist PRN Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse Clinical Manager
Patient Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Clinical Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse PRN
Rehab Director
6 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Home Care Nurse Direct Support Professional
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Unit Secretary Specialist Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Aide Specialist Merchandiser
Sales/Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
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Rehab Aide Demographics

Gender

Female

73.3%

Male

25.3%

Unknown

1.4%
Ethnicity

White

62.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.1%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

8.2%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.6%

Hindi

8.6%

German

3.4%

Gujarati

3.4%

Tagalog

3.4%

Hebrew

3.4%

Urdu

3.4%

Polish

3.4%

Russian

1.7%

Mandarin

1.7%

Marathi

1.7%

French

1.7%

Occidental

1.7%

Cantonese

1.7%

Italian

1.7%
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Rehab Aide Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

7.5%

University of Illinois at Chicago

6.6%

Towson University

6.6%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

5.7%

Kean University

5.7%

University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences

5.7%

Lincoln College of New England

5.7%

Northeastern University

5.7%

University of New Hampshire

4.7%

Temple University

4.7%

Duquesne University

4.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.7%

Texas Tech University

4.7%

Central Michigan University

4.7%

Mercy College - Dobbs Ferry

3.8%

Saint Catherine University

3.8%

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

3.8%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

3.8%

University of Utah

3.8%

Springfield College

3.8%
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Majors

Physical Therapy

19.5%

Kinesiology

16.6%

Occupational Therapy

15.3%

Nursing

6.5%

Business

5.2%

Psychology

5.2%

Health Care Administration

5.2%

Medical Assisting Services

4.4%

Biology

3.2%

Nursing Assistants

3.2%

Health Sciences And Services

2.7%

Criminal Justice

1.7%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Exercise Physiology

1.7%

General Studies

1.5%

Social Work

1.5%

Medical Technician

1.5%

Public Health

1.1%

Health And Wellness

1.1%

Physician Assistant

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.7%

Other

21.9%

Associate

16.5%

Masters

15.6%

Doctorate

5.7%

Certificate

5.0%

Diploma

2.1%

License

0.4%
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Top Skills for A Rehab Aide

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Patient Care
  3. Occupational Therapy
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Selected Contributions: * Provided assistance to therapists during occupational and physical therapy treatment sessions.
  • Interacted regularly with multidisciplinary team members for quality patient care.
  • Consulted with other direct-care staff and worked with caregivers to implement home programs that achieved occupational therapy goals.
  • Escorted patients into the treatment areas, and started appropriate exercises and heat, or ice designated by therapist.
  • Facilitated group therapy sessions for patients in need of complex medical care Provided one-on-one individual rehab aide treatments and co-treatments

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