What Does A Physical Therapist Aide Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Physical Therapist Aides

Physical Therapist Aides under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing the patient and the treatment area.

Salary
$30110
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Physical Therapist Aides under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing the patient and the treatment area.

  • Clean and organize work area and disinfect equipment after treatment.
  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard, or assist patients practicing exercises or functional activities, under the direction of medical staff.
  • Record treatment given and equipment used.
  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, or heat, light, sound, water, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Physical Therapist Aides clean and organize the work areas and disinfect equipment after treatment. They record treatment given and equipment used.

A typical day for a Physical Therapist Aide will also include:

  • Measure patient’s range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard, or assist patients practicing exercises or functional activities, under the direction of medical staff.
  • Participate in patient care tasks, such as assisting with passing food trays, feeding residents, or bathing residents on bed rest.
  • Change linens, such as bedsheets and pillowcases.
  • Maintain equipment or furniture to keep it in good working condition, including performing the assembly or disassembly of equipment or accessories.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Physical Therapist Aides also assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings. They may also administer traction to relieve neck or back pain, using intermittent or static traction equipment.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Physical Therapist Aides train patients to use orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices. They might also fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices, adjusting the fit as needed.

In addition, they perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering the telephone, taking messages, or filling out forms.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them maintain equipment or furniture to keep it in good working condition, including performing the assembly or disassembly of equipment or accessories.

To some Physical Therapist Aides, it is also their responsibility to measure a patient’s range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine the effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.

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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

74% said they were satisfied with their job and 86% said they found their job meaningful.


Dr. Jasmine Marcus, PT, DPT, CSCS

I was a physical therapist aide for over a year before going to PT school. Now I am a physical therapist.

As an aide, each day was slightly different. I got to the private practice where I worked early and opened the building, turning on lights and making sure everything was cleaned up from the night before.

My job was to greet each patient as they came in and to bring them back to a treatment room. I often chatted with them and helped them get comfortable in the office. In between greeting patients, I cleaned the office, which included sweeping, cleaning the bathrooms, filling the water jug, and arranging the magazines and chairs in the waiting room. I also washed all sheets and towels used in the clinic and folded and organized them after, and tidied up the staff kitchen.

Pros

The job gave me incredible insight into what goes on behind the scenes in a PT clinic and that has helped me tremendously as a PT. I also gained the experience hours required to apply to PT school in the first place, and one of the clinic’s owners has been a mentor to me.

Cons

The day could often be stressful because there was a lot to be done.

Dr. Jasmine Marcus, PT, DPT, CSCS
Physical Therapist


Pros

Suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Normal working hours (40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to work with designs.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$30110 per year

Average hourly wage

$14 per hour

Entry-level Physical Therapist Aides with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $20,500 to $24,250 per year or $10 to $12 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $40,580 $20
Senior (Top 25%) $33,280 $16
Median $28,450 $14
Junior (Bottom 25%) $24,250 $12
No experience (Bottom 10%) $20,500 $10

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Physical Therapist Aides based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Local Government $44370 $21.33
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) $40070 $19.26
Elementary and Secondary Schools $36340 $17.47
Employment Services $35510 $17.07
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities $34650 $16.66
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $34630 $16.65
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly $33970 $16.33
Outpatient Care Centers $33270 $16.00
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $32660 $15.70
Individual and Family Services $30940 $14.88

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Physical Therapist Aides work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Physical Therapist Aides including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 27970 $28300 $13.61
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 6950 $32660 $15.70
Offices of Physicians 3360 $30520 $14.67
Specialty Hospitals 2520 $30550 $14.69
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) 1630 $40070 $19.26
Home Health Care Services 480 $ $*
Employment Services 340 $35510 $17.07
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 300 $34630 $16.65
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly 180 $33970 $16.33
Local Government 150 $44370 $21.33

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
42%

40 hours
57%

More than 40 hours
0%

Working schedule

95%

5%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
49%

Every day
9%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
29%

Every day
57%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
98%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
64%

Once a year
16%

Once a month
6%

Once a week
6%

Every day
8%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
20%

Slightly competitive
20%

Moderately competitive
50%

Highly competitive
7%

Extremely competitive
4%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
13%

Once a year or more
2%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
85%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
90%

Once a year or more
2%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
8%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
91%

Once a year or more
4%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
1%

Every day
3%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
94%

Once a year or more
1%

Once a month or more
5%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
8%

High School Diploma or equivalent
42%

Post-Secondary Certificate
5%

Some College Courses
15%

Associate’s Degree or similar
22%

Bachelor’s Degree
8%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Rehabilitation Aide

A program that prepares individuals to assist in rehabilitation services under the supervision of occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and other therapeutic professionals, and to perform routine functions in support of rehabilitation. Includes instruction in roles and responsibilities of rehabilitation providers, basic function of the human body, disabling conditions, therapeutic skills, client management, and communication skills.

Physical Therapy Technician/Aide

A program that prepares individuals to assist in rehabilitation services under the supervision of physical therapists, and to perform routine functions in support of physical therapy and rehabilitation. Includes instruction in applied kinesiology, basic function of the human body, communication skills, principles and procedures of physical therapy, physical therapy modalities, and professional ethics.

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
34%

1 month
12%

1 to 3 months
9%

3 to 6 months
3%

6 months to 1 year
17%

1 to 2 years
18%

2 to 4 years
7%

4 to 6 years
0%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
9%

1 month
41%

1 to 3 months
13%

3 to 6 months
26%

6 months to 1 year
10%

1 to 2 years
0%

2 to 4 years
1%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Helper

People with this personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.

The Builder
81%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
24%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
19%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
95%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
33%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
38%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
67%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
50%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
43%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
95%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
67%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
52%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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