Physical therapist assistants and physical therapist aides work under the direction of physical therapists to help patients regain movement and manage pain resulting from illnesses, injuries, or surgery. This page has details of education and training programs that provide the knowledge and skills required, where they can be taken, and more …
A physical therapist assistant’s duties typically include: helping patients exercise, treating them using various therapeutic methods, and educating patients and their families members about what to do after treatment. A physical therapist aide’s duties do not involve direct patient care, but instead typically include: preparing treatment areas and therapy equipment, helping patients move to or from the treatment area, and performing clerical tasks.
If you are interested in this area, you may also wish to check out the occupational therapist programs.
What is included in physical therapy assisting programs?
Most US states require physical therapist assistants to have an associate’s degree accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Programs typically include academic studies in communication, human biology, anatomy and physiology, neuroscience, clinical pathology, and psychology, as well as clinical work and hands-on experience.
Most states require physical therapist assistants to be licensed, which is obtained by passing the Physical National Physical Therapy Exam. In some states, physical therapist assistants also need to take continuing education courses. Many physical therapist assistants and aides continue their formal education to qualify for jobs in administration, management, and education.
Demand for physical therapy services is expected to increase in response to the health needs of an aging population, particularly the large baby-boom generation.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of physical therapist aides is expected to increase 43 percent from 2010 to 2020, and the employment of physical therapist assistants will grow even faster.
The median annual wage was $49,690 for physical therapist assistants and $23,680 for physical therapist aides in May 2010.
List of physical therapy assisting schools and programs