It’s not uncommon for people to want to work in a field without knowing whether there’s a need for personnel in that field or not.
The healthcare industry, however, is sure to need personnel in all its specialties.
If you were wondering if there is a demand for physical therapist aides, the short answer is yes.
However, this answer is not nearly enough.
We also have to understand why is there a demand, so read on!
Physical Therapist Aide Job Description and Responsibilities
Knowing more about what the job of a physical therapist aide entails, is helpful in various ways.
It can also be helpful when trying to understand why the healthcare system has a high need for personnel.
One can already suspect that these aides work rather close with patients.
Since aides are there to help, here are some of the tasks they must fulfill:
- Helping patients dress on and off
- Documenting patients’ responses and progress
- Educating both patients and their families
- Liaise with physicians’ offices and hospital personnel
- Moving patients to and from treatment areas
- Observing patients before, during, and after therapy
- Helping with pain management
- Helping patients shower
- Cleaning and sanitizing treatment areas and equipment
- Washing linens
- Performing clerical tasks
- Helping patients eat
- Using various devices and equipment
There are some differences in tasks from one employment setting to another.
However, these tasks are rather demanding and will get your hands dirty, in a literal way.
Not everyone can perform these job duties for a long time.
However, there’s no need to be stuck on a job for the rest of your life, when you can build a career instead.
Let’s see what does it take to become a PT aide.
Physical Therapist Aide Job Requirements
Since the occupation of a physical therapist aide is demanding, it takes a special kind of person to perform all the tasks associated with the job.
So what does the ideal person for the job look like?
Here are the main requirements for this occupation:
- Having a high school diploma or GED
- Having on-the-job training
- Being at least 18 years old
- Passion for helping people
- Having a clean criminal record
- Being calm
- Able to handle stressful situations
- Good communication skills
- Able to work as part of a team
Of course, there might be some differences when checking out different job ads.
In some cases, you might need to be licensed or certified.
This can be the case if you interact with patients more than doing an administrative type of job.
Not everyone wants or can get certified or licensed but we’ll talk more about this in the next chapter.
Training or Education for Physical Therapist Aides
Everyone might expect some training or education if they want to become certified or licensed.
We already mentioned you’ll first need to obtain your high school or general education diploma.
As a rule of thumb, this is enough to get you hired as a PT aide.
Despite all this, many aides choose to obtain, at the very least, the certification as nurse assistants or CNAs.
Another credential these aides hope to earn is the Physical Therapist Assistant Associate’s degree diploma.
Obtaining a Bachelor’s degree diploma is another popular option for these professionals.
The programs available for all these levels of education are available across the country.
These courses have a different duration, based on the type of the desired credential.
Usually, students can transfer credits from a lower degree to a higher degree.
Classes can be held online, in a classroom setting, either full or part-time.
Upon enrolling in the class, you might be asked to:
- Provide proof of several vaccinations
- Obtain a minimum of a “C” in certain subjects
These specific subjects are usually taught by the school you choose to enroll at.
You’ll be attending these classes before the actual program begins.
Such classes and grades are needed by those who want to pursue a degree.
The actual courses in these programs include the following:
- Medical terms
- PTA Fundamentals
- Principles of musculoskeletal physical therapy
- Principles of neuromuscular physical therapy
- Physical therapy practice for special populations
As mentioned, PT aides don’t need a license.
All physical therapist aides will need to obtain a CPR certification.
Hopefully, you’ll consider obtaining additional first aid certifications as well.
However, those who want to become PT assistants will need to become licensed.
Licensing Exam for Physical Therapist Aides
The need for licensure is seen across the nation.
This credential is obtained through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
The Federation organizes the National Physical Therapy Exam for those who want a license.
You can sign up for the test only if you graduate from the degree program described earlier.
Not everyone is aware that this licensing exam has several levels of difficulty.
The candidates can attempt passing the test at any level a maximum of 3 times in a row.
Furthermore, the same level can be attempted only 6 times in the entire life of any individual.
Things don’t end here because the candidates can only score less than 400 points for only 2 attempts for any given level.
Licensed individuals must ensure to keep their diplomas up-to-date.
The license renewal involves:
- Paying a renewal fee
- Continuing your education
Physical Therapist Aide Employment
This aspect is a rather important one to understand the demand for physical therapist aides.
These professionals are needed in many different settings.
Here is a list of healthcare facilities that are in most need of physical therapist aides:
- Offices of physicians
- Rehabilitation centers
- Nursing care facilities
- The offices of physical, occupational, and speech therapists,
- The offices of audiologists
Of course, other places and organizations may also seek physical therapist aides.
A rarer occurrence is being employed by the government, for instance.
To increase your chances of being selected for the position, you should consider becoming licensed.
This credential will also help you get paid better and have better career opportunities compared to those without a license.
Physical Therapist Aide Salary
The salary of a physical therapist aide is pretty low.
But this is because the position itself is an entry-level one.
Salaries for these professionals can hang anywhere between $26,000 and $41,000 per year.
The median salary hovers at about $33,000 a year.
Such an income might make some of those hired for this position quit quite fast.
Those with a license will also seek ways of climbing the career ladder rather fast as well.
Should this be true, it means the turnaround of personnel is rather high.
This can only mean one thing: the demand for such professionals won’t go anywhere.
Such an aspect is good because it increases your chances to get hired!
We hope that now you know that the demand for physical therapist aides is real.
It is also our hope that the reason for the demand for such professionals, is also clear.
While the job is demanding, it can be a very rewarding one.
Most of those who become physical therapist aides do so mostly because they want to help others and see them happy.
Making a positive impact in another human’s life is a greater reward than any monetary one.
Remember that many healthcare professionals started at the lowest levels and worked their way up slowly.