Some people like to help others, though help can take many shapes.
A percentage of these folks choose to become physical therapist aides.
Through this job, these professionals work with those suffering from various injuries or chronic conditions.
If this healthcare job is of interest to you, read on!
Through this article, you’ll learn everything you could want to know about this occupation.
The article will provide information related to online physical therapist aide schools as well and tell you whether you can study online or not.
Physical Therapist Aide Job Description
Before we talk about any school, we should discover what a physical therapist aide must do.
Physical therapists or physical therapy assistants oversee the work of aides.
By taking a look at the job’s duties of a physical therapist aide, you can better understand what kind of skills and knowledge you’ll need.
This will also help you realize whether you have to undergo training or not.
Here are the duties of the job of a physical therapist aide:
- Helping patients shower
- Helping patients eat
- Using various devices and equipment
- Helping patients dress on and off
- Documenting patients’ responses and progress
- Educating both patients and their families
- Liaise with physicians’ offices and hospital personnel
- Cleaning and sanitizing treatment areas and equipment
- Washing linens
- Performing clerical tasks
- Moving patients to and from treatment areas
- Observing patients before, during, and after therapy
- Helping with pain management
This shouldn’t need to be mentioned, but here it goes regardless.
Some employers will require PT aides to complete a different set of tasks.
In some work settings, these aides work more with the patients and in others, they perform more administrative tasks than anything else.
Physical Therapist Aide Job Requirements
This section will also help you determine if you’ll need to get an education for this position or not.
Additionally, through this section, you’ll also discover if you are a good candidate for this position or not.
Below you can see a list of the most important requirements to become a physical therapist aide:
- Able to work as part of a team
- Having a high school diploma or GED
- Passion for helping people
- Good communication skills
- Having on-the-job training
- Being at least 18 years old
- Having a clean criminal record
- Being calm
- Able to handle stressful situations
- Having certification for CPR or other first-aid methods
The list of prerequisites could differ slightly from one employer to the next.
While you may not be eligible for this position at one facility, it doesn’t mean you won’t be considered for it at another one.
Furthermore, you could apply for a few other positions that have similar job duties and requirements.
Some of these positions can be seen next:
- Medical assistants
- Occupational therapy assistants and aides
- Pharmacy technicians
- Psychiatric technicians and aides
It’s highly possible for some employers to require their employees to be licensed.
This is especially true if the PT aide will interact more with the patients than with anyone else.
Training and Education for Physical Therapist Aides
Generally speaking, none of the positions mentioned above need any special training.
This rule of thumb includes physical therapist aides as well.
Everything the person needs to know for their new occupation is learned in a maximum of a month since getting hired.
However, you’ll see that many physical therapist aides choose to become licensed, no matter it is needed for the job or not.
These aides want to obtain a license because they hope to develop a career in the medical field.
However, if you want to earn a license, you’ll need to first graduate from a college or university program.
Physical Therapist Aide Education
Many future physical therapist aides opt to get an Associates’ degree diploma upon graduation.
A percentage of these future aides hope to earn a Bachelors’ degree diploma when graduating.
Keep in mind that the duration of a course depends on the type of degree you want.
The former degree takes about 2 years to complete while the latter one takes about 4 years.
Usually, students can use the credits earned with the Associates’ degree to get into the other one.
Classes for either degree can easily be found online as well, and even accepted for licensure.
Those who enroll in the degree programs must also attend practice hours.
Upon enrolling, students will need to:
- Ensure they meet the enrollment requirements
- Ensure the program is accredited
These conditions apply to all the courses, regardless of where or how they’re held.
Among the enrollment prerequisites, students might encounter the need to get vaccinated against certain diseases.
Additionally, future students will be required to show they obtained at least a grade of “C” in some classes.
To ensure the grade, these classes are usually organized before the actual program starts.
Here are some of the subjects you will be attending for your degree:
- Medical terms
- PTA Fundamentals
- Principles of musculoskeletal physical therapy
- Principles of neuromuscular physical therapy
- Physical therapy practice for special populations
- Patient Positioning and Transfer
- Ethical and Legal Issues
- Clinical Procedures
- Safety protocol
Physical Therapist Aide Online Education
Online education for physical therapist aides needs a separate section as there are several things that need to be mentioned.
Folks have different reasons to want to enroll in such a program.
Here are the main ones:
- Studying at one’s own pace
- Not finding an in-person program near their residence
- Being unable to attend classes in-person
- A more affordable tuition
As mentioned, you’ll have to make sure that the program you find has accreditation.
Some of the institutions that offer such classes don’t have enrollment prerequisites.
Here are some of them:
- Borough of Manhattan Community College
- SUNY Corning Community College
- US Career Institute
Of course, these are not the only institutions offering such programs.
Even if you have the luxury to study at your own pace in these online programs, you still need to finish the courses by a set deadline.
The tuition is lower with these institutions, compared to most universities and colleges.
However, you might still need to find some funding solutions.
Luckily, payments plans are available for students.
Additionally, books and other study material can be made available to students in an electronic format.
The only disadvantage to this type of learning is that you’ll need to find practice hours on your own.
It’s possible to get hired without these hours under your belt too, though it will be more difficult.
At this point, you already know you don’t need any education to become a physical therapist aide.
Yet, you can enroll in some programs, earn a degree, and then a license.
By doing so you have more chances of getting promoted, helping you to build a career in the healthcare industry.
You also know by now that the program can take place either in person, online or even in a combination of in-person and online classes.
Obviously, online classes are easier to attend, usually more affordable, and you have the option to complete the course at your own pace.
Additionally, you can even work at the same time as completing your education.
This is very helpful if you want to get as high as possible in the medical world.