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A physical therapist aide works under the direct supervision or direction of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant to support physical therapy treatment. Physical therapy treatment entails helping patients that may be accident victims or persons with disabling conditions. Physical therapist aides perform a variety of functions that may include:

  • Keeping physical therapy areas clean and organized
  • Preparing physical therapy areas for incoming patients
  • Preparing for each patients therapy
  • Assisting patients, who are mobility challenged, to or from treatment areas
  • Performing minor clerical tasks such as ordering supplies, answering the phone, and filling out paperwork

Job Characteristics

Physical therapist aides are entry level positions that do not require formal training. Most physical therapist aides receive on-the-job training and clinical training. During job training the physical therapist aide will work with experienced employees from three months to a year. Basic requirements are typically a high school diploma and a desire to work with people. Other skills that are helpful in pursuing a physical therapist aide position include good organizational skills, keen listening skills, reading and writing skills, strong interpersonal skills, the ability to communicate effectively, a detailed orientation as well as a service orientation. While physical therapist assistants may require licensure, it is not required for physical therapist aides.

Approximately 72% of physical therapy aides and assistants work in physical therapy facilities or within hospitals according to The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The remainder work in other areas such as nursing facilities, physicians offices, home health care services or outpatient care centers. Approximately 28% of physical therapist aides and assistants work part time and often physical therapy facilities offer weekend and evening hours to accomodate the needs of their patients.

The physical therapist aide position requires some strength due to the responsibilities of the job. The need to assist and sometimes even lift patients requires the physical therapist aide to have moderate strength. In addition, the physical therapist job is a physical one where the majority of the time is spent standing, stooping, bending, and kneeling.

Job Outlook

Employment opportunities in the physical therapy field are growing and at a faster rate than that of many other occupations. However, given the large pool of qualified applicants for physical therapy aide positions, persons pursuing this career may have greater competition for the jobs available. Forecasted growth for 2008-2018 decade, in physical therapy, is 35%. This growth is projected based on a number of factors. First, the elderly population is growing and will continue to do so as baby boomers age and are more likely to experience ailments that require physical therapy. Moreover, as technology advances and better medical treatments become available more trauma patients will survive increasing the need for physical therapy services.

The income for physical therapist aides averaged between $19,910 and $28,670 annually in 2008 and the median annual income for this group was approximately $23,760. In addition, the highest 10 percent earned more than $33,540, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $17,270. Nursing care facilities provided the highest incomes for physical therapy aides in May of 2008. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of physical therapy aides in May 2008 were as follows:

  1. $26,530 - Nursing care facilities
  2. $24,780 - General medical and surgical hospitals
  3. $24,590 - Specialty (except psychiatric and substance abuse) hospitals
  4. $23,730 - Offices of physicians
  5. $22,550 - Offices of other health practitioners

The projected need for physical therapist aides in the 2008-2018 timeframe is expected to grow by an additional 16,700 employees.

Job advancement for physical therapist aides is often to become a physical therapist assistant. This may be achieved by gaining experience within an organization as well as by seeking further education.


Typical Physical Therapy Aides Programs May Include Courses in:

  • Body Mechanics
  • Common Physical Disorders
  • Geriatric Physical Therapy
  • Human Anatomy
  • Introduction to Medical Terminology
  • Introduction to Physical Therapy
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medical Records and Terminology
  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Patient Care
  • Patient Communication
  • Patient Positioning
  • Pediatric Physical Therapy
  • Physical Therapy Exercises
  • Physical Therapy Treatments
  • Wheelchairs and Assistive Devices


Job Tools

  • Clinical hydraulic ifts or accessories
  • Electronic Blood pressure units
  • Mercury Blood pressure units
  • Theraputic heating or cooling pads or compresses or packs
  • Vascular compression apparel or supports
  • Wheelchairs


Job Technologies

  • Calendar and scheduling software
  • Medical software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Word processing software


Resources for Physical Therapy Aides

Schools for Physical Therapist Aides are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Physical Therapist Aides

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Physical Therapist Aides jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 2380 $26,950
Long Beach 2380 $26,950
Anaheim 2380 $26,950
Fort Worth 1720 $25,800
Dallas 1720 $25,800
Arlington 1720 $25,800
Towson 900 $24,490
Baltimore 900 $24,490
Murfreesboro 830 $23,230
Franklin 830 $23,230
Total Employment for Physical Therapist Aides - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
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Salaries for Physical Therapist Aides - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
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Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Physical Therapist Aides

Most Popular Industries for :
Physical Therapist Aides

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Medical Office 25,770 59% $22,790
Hospital 12,430 28% $24,760
Nursing And Residential Care 4,220 9% $26,460
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Results:  9
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Programs
  • Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab Program
  • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
  • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
  • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
  • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
  • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
Programs
  • Rehabilitation Sciences (Master of Science) - Online
  • Rehabilitation Sciences (Certificate) - Online
  • For the 12th consecutive year, Cal U was named one for the best schools in the Northeast by The Princeton Review 
  • Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017
  • Quality Online courses at Cal U have the same objectives, content and learning outcomes as campus-based programs and are taught by the same expert professors.
  • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost. Student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1
  • CAL U online programs complete an annual assessment of student learning to ensure outcomes are focused on your success in career entry, advancement or enhancement!
Programs
  • Associate of Occupational Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • At American Career College, we provide hands-on training for students who are ready for change.
  • The diploma and associate programs offered at ACC can change the direction of your healthcare career.
  • 5 campus locations in Southern California and 13 programs in healthcare fields.
Programs
  • Respiratory Therapy (AS)
  • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
  • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
  • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
  • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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San Diego
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Programs
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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Alhambra
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Programs
  • Degree - Respiratory Therapy
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
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Ontario
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Programs
  • Massage Therapy
  • Esthetician / Massage Therapy
Start your career with training from Blake Austin College - Beauty Academy. We offer programs in cosmetology, massage therapy, and holistic health, plus a combination esthetics/massage program.
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Vacaville
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Programs
  • Massage Therapy/Therapist
  • One of the largest massage therapy schools in the nation teaching since 1979.
  • First massage school in California to be nationally accredited.
  • Has a successful job placement record— 86% of graduates get placed into work in massage therapy.
  • Provides massage therapist education with multiple methods to ensure every student learns the material.
  • Offers lifetime career placement assistance and holds partnerships with a variety of employers.
Programs
  • Massage Therapy
  • A Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business, with an A+ rating.
  • Computer Support Technician program is based on guidelines set by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and Microsoft.
  • Offers free student services, including tutoring, campus internet access, career placement, and a student lounge.
  • Accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 2 locations in Cathedral City and Twentynine Palms, California.
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Cathedral City
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Physical Therapist Aides.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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