Physical Therapist Aides

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Also known as:
Clinical Rehabilitation Aide, Physical Therapy Aide, Physiotherapy Aide

ABOUT PHYSICAL THERAPIST AID CAREERS
Video transcript

If you enjoy helping others, you may want to consider work as a physical therapist aide. You don't need formal training or a license to be hired. Physical therapist aides assist patients receiving treatment by physical therapists.

They help disabled patients move to treatment areas. They keep the areas organized and clean and prepare them for each patient's therapy. Some aides also do clerical work such as ordering supplies and filling out medical insurance forms - and they answer the phone.

Aides must be under the supervision of physical therapists or physical therapist assistants. Most aides work in aides or the offices of physical therapists. There are both full time and part time jobs. Work hours vary from employer to employer. At many outpatient offices and clinics, aides work evenings and weekends.

The job has physical challenges. You must be strong enough to steady patients who need support when walking, and to lift those who can't help themselves. There's much kneeling and bending and sometimes standing for long periods as patients are treated by a therapist.

Skills are learned on the job. Most employers offer clinical training. No license or college degree is required, but physical therapist aides must have a high school diploma. Employment in this area is expanding. As more of the growing elderly population develops debilitating conditions, more people need therapy. That creates the need for more aides to assist physical therapists.

SNAPSHOT
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.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings.

Schedule patient appointments with physical therapists and coordinate therapists' schedules.

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.

Maintain equipment or furniture to keep it in good working condition, including performing the assembly or disassembly of equipment or accessories.

Change linens, such as bed sheets and pillow cases.

Observe patients during treatment to compile and evaluate data on patients' responses and progress and report to physical therapist.

Instruct, motivate, safeguard, or assist patients practicing exercises or functional activities, under direction of medical staff.

Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.

Arrange treatment supplies to keep them in order.

Transport patients to and from treatment areas, using wheelchairs or providing standing support.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.