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Important Qualities To Have

Compassion. Physical therapist assistants and aides should enjoy helping people. They work with people who are in pain, and they must have empathy to help their patients.

Detail oriented. Like other healthcare professionals, physical therapist assistants and aides should be organized and have a keen eye for detail. They must keep accurate records and follow written and verbal instructions carefully to ensure quality care.

Dexterity. Physical therapist assistants should be comfortable using their hands to provide manual therapy and therapeutic exercises. Aides should also be comfortable working with their hands to set up equipment and prepare treatment areas.

Interpersonal skills. Physical therapist assistants and aides spend much of their time interacting with clients, their families, and other healthcare practitioners; and therefore should be courteous and friendly.

Physical stamina. Physical therapist assistants and aides are frequently on their feet and moving as they work with their patients. They must often kneel, stoop, bend, and stand for long periods. They should enjoy physical activity.

Physical Therapy Aide

Physical therapist aides work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists.  They help patients who are recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain.

This program provides the instruction and skills necessary for students to become physical therapy aides. Coursework includes fundamental principles of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, psychology, medical terminology, therapeutic exercise, and modalities with a heavy emphasis on the musculoskeletal system and biomechanics.

Students may be required to spend some class time observing in various physical therapy or chiropractic settings as an introduction to the field. 

Prerequisites: 18 years or older; speak, read, write English; good physical condition

Course Fee:  $575 includes textbook and all classroom supplies

A background check may be required for externships, clinicals and licensing, certification or registration with the appropriate governing board.

Job Duties

Physical therapist aides typically do the following:

  • Clean treatment areas and set up therapy equipment
  • Wash linens
  • Help patients move to or from a therapy area
  • Do clerical tasks, such as answering phones and scheduling patients

Physical therapist aides work under the direct supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.  They usually are responsible for keeping the treatment area clean and organized, and preparing for each patient's therapy.  They also help patients who need assistance moving to or from a treatment area.  In addition, aides do a variety of clerical tasks, such as ordering supplies, scheduling treatment sessions, and filling out insurance forms.

Work Environment

Over half of all physical therapist aides work in the offices of physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and audiologists.  Others work in hospitals, physician offices, nursing care facilities, and government facilities.

Work Schedule

Most physical therapist assistants and aides work full time. Some night and weekend work may be required as many physical therapy offices and clinics have extended hours to accommodate patients’ schedules.