For patients recovering from injuries or illness... the work to regain lost abilities or get relief from pain is supported by physical therapist assistants and aides. These healthcare workers have the stamina, compassion and skills to help patients get back on their feet. Working under the supervision of physical therapists, physical therapist-or PT-assistants provide direct care to patients... using massage, exercises, and specialized activities such as gait and balance training. They document patients' progress and report their observations to the physical therapist. To ensure progress is maintained after treatment, PT assistants also educate patients and their families about follow-up. Physical therapist aides prepare the treatment area for physical therapy, clean and set up equipment, and assist patients moving to and from treatment areas. Aides also order supplies, schedule therapy sessions, and complete insurance forms. Most assistants and aides work in physical therapists' offices or hospitals. They are in motion much of the day to see patients, set up equipment, and lift and move patients when needed. Physical therapist assistants need an associate's degree from an accredited program, along with a state license or certification. Aides usually need a high school diploma or equivalent, and can expect to learn clinical skills on the job. Supporting patients through discouragement, fear and pain, PT assistants and aides help bring recovery goals ... within reach.
What they do:
Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.
On the job, you would:
Instruct, motivate, safeguard, and assist patients as they practice exercises or functional activities.
Observe patients during treatments to compile and evaluate data on their responses and progress and provide results to physical therapist in person or through progress notes.
Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.
Arts and Humanities
medicine and dentistry
therapy and counseling
Math and Science
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
understanding people's reactions
looking for ways to help people
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
order or arrange things
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Concern for Others
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
BioEx Systems Exercise Pro
Medical condition coding software
Data base user interface and query software
Video game software
Virtual reality game software
associate's degree usually needed
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.