People often wonder, what does a physical therapy aide do?
Primarily, the physical therapy aide is there to support both the physical therapist and any physical therapy assistants.
A physical therapy aide makes sure that the physical therapy office is running efficiently so that the physical therapist can spend time helping patients among other important tasks.
What Does a Physical Therapy Aide Do?
There are quite a few job responsibilities that a physical therapy aide handles. Mainly, the physical therapy aide takes care of any nonmedical tasks needed to run a physical therapy practice.
A physical therapy aide typically:
- Sets up and cleans any treatment rooms,
- Maintains and updates exercise areas,
- Assists with patient intake, and
- Documents a patient’s progress and responses to different treatments.
Aides need to know how these treatments affect different parts of the body. Additionally, they must ensure that patients are completing their therapy correctly. Physical therapy done incorrectly can often have adverse effects on patient movement and progress.
Physical therapy aides also help keep exercise equipment in working order. Aids are also there to ensure patients are comfortable while getting treatment and using the exercise equipment. Some physical therapy aides even help move patients if a patient’s mobility is limited.
Safety of patients and staff is a top priority, so physical therapy aides make sure that regulations and procedures are followed correctly.
Depending on where you work, a physical therapy aide will handle a variety of tasks within the office. Giving physical therapy aides a broad range of functions ensures that both the physical therapist and the physical therapist assistants can focus on treating patients.
Physical Therapy Aide Education Requirements
You only need a highschool diploma to become a physical therapy aide.
After you graduate or earn your GED, you can find work as a physical therapy aide and learn any additional skills you need while on-the-job.
There are certification and training programs you can complete to further your career as a physical therapy aide. However, if you want to be more hands-on with clients and do less office work, you will need to become a physical therapy assistant. You can become a physical therapy assistant by getting an associate’s degree.
Difference Between a Physical Therapy Aide and Physical Therapy Assistant
The main difference between a physical therapy aide and a physical therapy assistant is that the aid does most of the administrative work at the office. A physical therapy aide cannot administer medical treatment of any kind while a physical therapy assistant does so under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist.
It is common to work as a physical therapy aide while completing physical therapy assistant school. Having physical therapy aide work experience will set you apart as a job applicant and could earn you a higher salary.
Physical Therapy Aide Work Environment and Schedule
As a physical therapy aide, you will primarily find work at a physical therapy clinic, hospital, or a nursing facility. Most of the work as a physical therapy aide is done during regular business hours. However, some clients need their treatment after work or on the weekend, so some hours as a physical therapy aide may be irregular.
Every day as a physical therapy aide will be different. You will often be on your feet for most of the day, helping clients and assisting the physical therapy team as needed. The work can even be physically demanding when moving patients or equipment.
Working as a physical therapy aide can be rewarding, as you will often help the same patients on a recurring basis. As patients progress through their program, physical therapy aides are there, helping them improve at each appointment.
Interested in a Career as a Physical Therapy Aide?
Would you like to find out more about what is needed to become a physical therapy aide? Check out Stratford Career Institute’s online course detailing how to become a physical therapy aide.
You will learn everything you need to know about a career as a physical therapy aide, including:
- Medical terminology,
- Body systems and their functions,
- Diagnostic tests and procedures,
- Common abbreviations and symbols,
- Career opportunities for the physical therapy aide,
- Communicating effectively in the physical therapy setting,
- Understanding a patient’s medical records,
- Basic structure and function of the human body,
- Applied anatomy and physiology of the musculoskeletal system,
- Practicing good body alignment and movement,
- The human skeleton and muscles of the body,
- Standing, sitting, and bathtub transfers,
- Assisting with ambulation, and gait training,
- Body mechanics, verbal commands, and transporting techniques,
- Turning and positioning the patient,
- Therapeutic exercises, and
- Physical therapy agents and modalities.
Become a Physical Therapy Aide?
Check out our physical therapy aide online course to determine if this career is a great fit for you!