Physical therapy is no fun and games. There are a lot of dynamics involved and to help the therapist with these shenanigans, there are physical therapist assistants and physical therapy aides. Not to confuse the two, the job requirement and duties for a physical therapist aide are very different from those of an assistant.
With time, the medical field is evolving and progressing. This means that there are a lot of new areas which are being covered by professionals. One such area which has proved to be extremely beneficial is that of physical therapy. Like all fields, there is just one but many levels to jobs in a field.
Down below we have curated a detailed guide to help you find out about physical therapy aide jobs salary, how long does it take to be a physical therapy aide? And answer questions like how
long does it take to be a physical therapy aide.
Table of Contents
What Is Physical Therapy?
The first thing that you must be aware of if you plan to learn about physical therapist aide jobs is what physical therapy in itself. As the name suggests, it is a sort of therapy done for the physical movements of the body. A lot of times when people get into accidents or are injured, the movements in the affected parts of their body get restricted for some time. If these body parts are not exercised and moved in a gentle way, there are a lot of chances of the body part not being able to regain control in a matter of years.
This is why physical therapy is extremely crucial. With physical therapy, patients have to go through various sessions where the affected part of their body is exercised using machines, etc. during this process, physical therapists have some people working under them as well. These are usually physical therapy assistants and physical therapy aides.
What Physical Therapy Aides Do?
In the medical field, there are not one or two but various steps that have to be kept in mind while performing therapy or surgeries, etc.
For this purpose, there is the main player of the game, the therapist himself who is there to supervise and perform the therapy on the patients. Next up, there is an assistant to the physical therapist whose job is to ensure that if needed, some medical care can be provided by them as well. A lot of times, individuals who are on their way to becoming a therapist help as an assistant to get a hang of the field. Lastly, we have the physical therapist aides who have an entirely different area to look upon. The physical therapy aide job description will help you understand their chores and duties in more detail.
Physical therapy aides are individuals who are part of the support staff. Their tasks are not directly related to the work that is being done during the process of the therapy. Physical therapy aide jobs include setting up equipment, cleaning up the area, performing clerical duties, giving a hand to patients who need help in moving from one place to another, take notes of the therapy sessions if instructed to do, answer phone calls, etc.
This might seem like the tasks they perform are not crucial but they are essential in order for the sessions to go smoothly. Documentation progress for instance is a job that requires extreme precision and it can go a long way in figuring out what works best for each patient. It is important to keep in mind that they are not responsible for any direct medical care of the patients as they are not trained to perform any therapy or suggest any exercise, etc.
Duties Of a Physical Therapy Aide
Down below, we have listed a bunch of tasks that all physical therapy aides have to do at one point or another. These are some of the most common and basic level things to do what one would find in a physical therapy aide job description.
- Cleaning up the workstation and keeping it sterilized and safe for other, newer patients.
- Prepping the room for upcoming patients based on the requirements of the patients.
- Performing any preventive measures required to ensure the smooth functioning of machines
- Setting up the equipment required to make the therapy go smoother.
- Keeping hot and cold packs ready for urgent use.
- Providing assistance to the patients who need help in moving from one place to another. This doesn’t just include giving a hand to the patients but also pushing wheelchairs, lending your shoulders for support to those with crutches, giving them a hand with their shoes, clothes, etc.
- Working on documenting the progress of the patients by keeping tabs on their movements levels, their feedback, pain scales, etc.
- Keeps a check on the inventory and maintains it. Places orders for any further types of equipment required and keeps tabs on the inventory levels.
- Updates patients on how to use the equipment themselves if they plan to continue the rest of the therapy on their own at home.
- Calling professionals for repairs if needed.
Physical Therapy Aide Jobs Salary
The salary for physical therapy aide jobs is around $25,000 annually. This amount is the same for almost all the places but can differ on the basis of various factors. This includes the location of the clinic, the professionals working alongside the aides, the size of the clinic, and the experience level of the physical therapy aide himself. As goes on in other fields, the higher your experience is, the more you can be expected to be paid. Those with no experience or very little experience might start off at an even lower rate annually and then gradually reach the level of $25k which is the same everywhere else.
In 2019, the pay rate went as high as $49,000 per year but that has decreased because of the recession and the bumps in the economy. Now, the average is set at 25k-27k per year.
The average pay per hour in many locations of the US is $16 such as in LA, and New York, etc. But the same job can pay around 30-40 dollars if the clinic is in Atlanta or Houston.
Growth Opportunities For Physical Therapy Aide Jobs
There are also various aspects of this. Those with top 10% annual salary can get as much as 38-39k while those with bottom 10% annual salary might be able to get around 19-20k per year.
The job has the potential to grow for those who want to step up and work towards being an assistant for physical therapy, this does not come easy, of course since there is a huge gap between both the jobs and a lot of on job training and educational milestones must be ticked off to get to that level.
With an area for growth, those aiming for physical therapy aide jobs can consider this as a stepping stone and keep moving upwards. But for those who do not want to progress to an assistant, they can easily stay in their field as well since there is a high demand for physical therapy aides. They are not only needed in physical therapy clinics but also in hospitals, for in house sessions, and for the medical care of old patients and elderlies who are in homes.
Physical Therapy Aide Jobs Part-Time
Like all other fields, this one has a certain level of leniency as well. People are often looking for part-time jobs to make ends meet. Other times you will also find a lot of students looking for part-time jobs in order to work and pay their expenses while also studying side by side. This option of working and studying is also open for those individuals who are looking for jobs as a physical therapy aide but on a part-time basis.
Since the job requires footwork and lots of movements, clinics often \tend to appoint two or three sides depending on the size of the location. If they have other aides working, there are a lot of chances that they would be willing to let some work part-time. Part-timers can be called during extreme rush hours.
The work is extremely tiresome and can exhaust some people, in such cases clinics tend to hire more people so that the ones who were previously working on foot can take a break and look at the clerical aspects of the job. This way everyone is given access to learning about the various areas of the job and no one is exhausted.
Again, this can vary from location to location and clinic to clinic. It would be smart to talk to the office beforehand and get a lay of the land. This will help you in knowing where you stand with them and whether you have an open space or not.
How Long Does It Take To Be A Physical Therapy Aide?
There are different ways one can opt for if they want to work as a physical therapy aide. Some clinics ask that employees complete training of 275 hours. This training session extends to as long as 4 months in which all the basics and the details are cleared up., it acts as a foundation for the employee and helps them navigate the field with more ease.
Other than that, there is not a lot that is required for those who want to work as physical therapy aides. A high degree and diploma are necessary but other than that there will be no additional checkpoints to go through.
Since these people are fresh graduates from high school, they are new to the field and need help in understanding the basics. The clinic that doesn’t have a set training program will make it necessary for their employees to have on the job training. This will include some other aide guiding you throughout your initial period and keeping an eye on how you perform chores.
All in all, this is a pretty stable field for all those who are looking for something that doesn’t require a lot of qualifications and educational achievements. It is important though that one comes in with a determined will and be quick on their feet for this job.