Physical Therapist Aide made a median salary of $27,000 in 2019 The best-paid 10 percent made $39,740 that year, while the lowest-paid 10 percent made $20,310.
Customer and personal service
Therapy and counseling background
Familiarity with the use of various physical therapy equipment
Physical Therapist Aides provide support to physical therapists in several ways. They assist them through accomplishing administrative tasks at the front desk, help patients find their way in the facility, and serve as a liaison between the physical therapists and the patients.
Working behind the scenes of the patients’ recovery, physical therapist aides play a vital role in helping both patients and clinic staff. They work hand in hand with everyone involved to ensure they provide the proper patient care to those that have various physical injuries and illnesses.
Physical therapist aides work under the supervision of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. They provide assistance to patients by helping them find their way in the facility, prepare treatment areas for them, while also doing clerical tasks in the clinic.
Their typical job responsibilities include the following:
If you think anyone can easily be hired as a physical therapist aide, you are making your first mistake in this pursuit. As someone who deals with sensitive cases in physical therapy, you ought to have the capacity to fulfill the duties. How do you know you are cut out for the role? Here are some telltale signs you should pursue this career:
Do you believe in the rewarding things good health and wellness can bring you? Do you enjoy and promote physical activities to keep oneself healthy? If both of your answers are “yes,” then you can expect a highly stimulating job as this career is all about encouraging health and wellness.
If you are a person who takes pride in helping others, being a physical therapist aide can be so rewarding to you. You will be meeting tons of people who seek to heal from injuries and illnesses, and you will be a part of their recovery. This job allows you to create a direct impact on their lives as they get better.
One of the core duties of physical therapist aides is becoming the liaison between the patients and physical therapists. If you always find yourself at ease when talking to various kinds of people, this won’t be a problem for you at all. As you do your duty, you will be at the front desk to talk to incoming and outgoing patients directly—you will be doing frequent communication.
Having the heart to work for this job is a crucial need. If you genuinely love helping people, you will enjoy your work environment. You will see lots of patients experiencing pain and emotional turmoil—as someone who assists them; you should be able to make them feel that you are on their side, and you understand what they are going through.
As the person sitting at the front desk—talking to people—a pleasing personality is a must for you. If you have always been cheerful to the extent that you can lighten sorrowful moments, then you are totally a good fit for working as a physical therapist aide. As much as patients can, they need more faces who can bring them positivity into their recovery.
Are you a person who enjoys collaboration among a number of people? This job offers you that as you are a part of a big team working on to serve people. You may not be the ones who directly work on recovering every issue they have, but you are assisting them to get there. You play an important role on the team as the one who provides assistance, checks on their progress, and organizes patients’ treatment schedules. You are a part of the team that relies on one another’s help to achieve the best outcomes for your patients.
If you are looking for a career that will provide you tons of options as to which environment you’ll work for, you can count on this job. Physical therapist aides can work in multiple settings that include physical therapy clinics, hospitals, athletic facilities, or nursing homes. In addition, you have the liberty to work for a certain age group you want as each work setting has its respective type of patients—be it children, adults, elderly, or even athletes.
Becoming a physical therapist aide is conventionally easy. However, you still need to follow a series of requirements in order to qualify for the role. Here is a short guide containing the steps on how you can become a physical therapist aide.
An associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not a requirement to get hired as a physical therapist aide. However, employers require applicants to have at least a high school diploma, a GED, or any equivalent that will prove educational pursuits. This job is an entry-level position that does not require an advanced degree, but if you are seeking to advance, you might want to pursue an associate’s degree for physical therapy.
It is highly recommended to obtain a BLS certification prior to looking for jobs as most employers prefer applicants who have this. This certification is given by the American Heart Association when you have completed a 4.5-course and passed an examination. It covers essential health measures like CPR procedures, the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED), and ways to relieve choking. This certification must be renewed every two years through a 4-hour renewal course.
Before you can start your practice, your employer will require you to complete a designated training to get you acquainted with your tasks. The duration of this training depends on the employer’s discretion—it could run for weeks or months. The training prepares you to get familiar with sterilization of equipment and treatment areas, implementation of clinical procedures, proper use of equipment, and administration of the front desk.
Physical therapist aides can advance their career to becoming physical therapist assistants. If you are one who seeks growth in the career, you can pursue an associate’s degree in physical therapy. Because you are familiar with what goes on in physical therapy, continuing education will definitely not be a problem for you. You will just have to complete the program consisting of both coursework and training, and then you can move up to passing the National Physical Therapy Exam to get a license.
To thrive in this job, you should know what skills and knowledge a physical therapist aide should be adept with. Here are some of them to guide you:
Working in an environment full of patients seeking to recover from their respective injuries, you are to develop empathy for your patients. Genuine love for helping people will get you through the job as it is easy to see through if you are only pretending to care.
A core value physical therapist aides have is that they are highly organized to their jobs. Being keen on every detail is key to accurate documentation, implementation of procedures, and proper execution of instructions from the medical staff.
You will often be setting up some physical therapy equipment, so you need to have good manual dexterity. In some cases, you will be asked to assist patients in performing some therapeutic exercises, so you need to know the proper way to perform those activities.
A huge chunk of your time working on a healthcare facility requires you to talk to various people—from patients, their families, suppliers, to your colleagues. A good set of communication skills will pave the way for the successful fulfillment of your job.
As you are always moving in this job, your physical health matters in doing your work. You will always be on your feet moving from one area to another to assist patients, as well as help them perform some therapeutic exercises which require you to bend, stretch, kneel, stoop, and stand for a long time. Physical activities should not be a hindrance to you.
As someone who often mans the front desk, you should be able to provide good patient care and service to people you are serving. You ought to be knowledgeable in the principles and processes for providing quality services to them, which may include customer needs assessment, assurance of meeting quality standards, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Even though you are not directly advising patients on what needs to be done for fast recovery, it counts to know your way around the field. You must have a good foundation of knowledge about the principles and procedures for the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of various physical and mental dysfunction, as well as counseling and guidance. You will learn about this as you earn experience in your practice.
Half of your time, you will be tending to the clerical needs of the health care facility you are manning. You will be taking in calls, filling out tons of paperwork, managing files, and records, doing inventory, and other administrative procedures.
Employers prefer to hire physical therapist aides who can work on computers on their own. You will be utilizing your computer in fulfilling some clerical tasks so a good set of computer skills will come in handy. You are to use software for your facility, so you need to be able to adapt to it easily through your knowledge of computers.
One of your responsibilities is to assist patients with the physical therapy equipment they need. Knowing their respective functions and safety precautions is your responsibility to ensure their safety before, during, and after the therapy session.
Although it is not a requirement to have either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree to work as a physical therapist aide, you can explore continuing education to advance in your career. If you seek career growth by becoming a physical therapist assistant, there are associate’s degrees in physical therapy you can take up. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), the following schools offer CAPTE-accredited physical therapy programs you can take:
Expect a wide array of options when you are applying for a job as a physical therapist aide. Having a variety of work settings that can suit your best interests, you are bound to meet tons of opportunities in your job exploration. To know where to find them, here are some tips:
Finding a prospective employer near you isn’t that hard. You just have to directly contact your local health care facility to find out if there are any available jobs for a physical therapist aide. Look them up online and give them a call to inquire about any job opportunity you can take advantage of.
These are some of the institutions you should check out in your job hunting:
A quick and convenient way to find jobs is through browsing online job portals. With various health care facilities utilizing online job search in their employment process, you are most likely to find a job opportunity near you. Here are some of the websites you can check out:
Another option you can use in finding a job opportunity is through making use of your network of friends, family, previous colleagues, and other affiliations. The word of mouth is pretty powerful in finding yourself a career. You can directly ask your network or update your LinkedIn to find recruiters currently hiring in your area.
Physical therapist aides had a median salary of $27,000 in 2019 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report. However, the pay differs per state as the location creates an impact on the salary. To know how much a physical therapist aide makes in every state, here is a complete list of them:
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Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
A well-crafted resume boosts your chances of being remarkable and landing an interview with a prospective employer. Make sure you take note of some resume writing etiquette to stand out among the pile of other applicants vying for the role.
To help you polish an impressive resume that’s sure to capture an employer’s attention, here are some helpful tips you should follow:
Start off your resume with a sharp objective that speaks your worth. Putting this at the top of your resume where they could read it prior to seeing what your skills are, is a strategy to lure them in to continue reading. As early as now, highlight what you can do, where you want to see yourself, and why you fit the role. With the relatively short time spent in looking through a resume, you have to set the bar high as early as now.
Applying for a job that mainly focuses on providing service directly to patients, you ought to show off lots of soft skills deemed valuable in this job. Highlight the particular qualities that make you a perfect fit for the job which include compassion, patience, ability to work independently, organization, and communication skills. Also, don’t forget to add your hard-earned basic life support (BLS) certification that demonstrates your familiarity with providing health care service.
To amp up your chances of landing the job, you must always familiarize yourself with the posting’s job description, duties, and requirements. Remember, not all job openings are the same, and each posting requires different qualifications. To ensure you capture the employer’s attention, you must always align your resume, cover letter, and credentials to the given job description.
To give you an example, here’s typical a physical therapist aide job description template.
We are seeking a resourceful physical therapy aide to assist our physical therapists. In this position, you will assist patients in taking medications, preparing equipment and treatment area, and helping mobility-challenged patients move from one area to another within the facility.
The physical therapist aide should possess a good grasp of a physical therapy facility’s typical daily operations. He/she must be able to work under the close supervision of a physical therapist. A remarkable physical therapist aide has outstanding organizational skills and an exceptional contribution to patient care.
A clutter-free resume is not just nice to look at, it also translates to a well-thought-of content. Make sure you avoid long narratives, instead, opt for concise terms that will exactly tell what you mean. Keeping everything short but well enough to hold value, is your key to maintaining their interest when they read your resume. You can use bullets, timelines, and other forms to shorten and illustrate happenings in your career.
The last thing you want to happen is disappointing an employer because of a resume full of grammatical errors. Don’t fall victim to this situation by proofreading your resume before you submit it to prospective employers. Find any grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies, misspellings, and other factors that will make your resume seem disorganized and effortless. When done proofreading, ensure everything you have written is all factual to keep a dignified self when qualified for an interview.
When you have successfully secured an interview, the last thing you will have to do in landing the job is to nail the interview! You only have one shot in proving to prospective employers that you are fit for the role, so make sure you do your best. You can do this through thorough preparation prior to going on the big day. Get ready for potential physical therapist aide questions that can be thrown your way.
To help you prepare with those questions, here are some of those so you can play the advantage side during the interview:
This is a trick to know about your work history. The employer wants to know any challenges that have left valuable lessons to you on your previous work. To answer this, share a story that displays a huge conflict that has left you a learning lesson to live by. You can share some of the most excruciatingly difficult problems you had to face in your past work.
As someone who directly interacts with patients, you have the unspoken responsibility of cheering them up in times of need. Often, you will see them suffering in pain and emotional distress—they could use some motivation from people they are around with. So tell your interviewer how you can motivate patients through consistent giving of words of encouragement and acts of good deeds towards patients as you know its value to them.
Though you are not solely responsible for ensuring they get the recovery and treatment they need, you have the duty to track their progress as often you will be required to document it. So in answering this question, you should display your attention to detail to successfully assess a patient’s progress. Explain how you make use of being detail-oriented in your job to ensure you fulfill your duties well.
Most of the time, patients’ companions will directly come to you and ask about their loved ones’ progress. As someone who mans the front desk, you should be ready to face situations like this where people will bug you for assurance and details. You don’t necessarily handle their recovery; however, you should be able to communicate with them well to keep them engaged and composed. A good physical therapist aide is someone who can handle interactions with various people.
Dealing with people who are most likely to have so much stress in their lives, you can’t avoid instances where they lash out on you. Also, you will be required to tend to patients, and you can’t afford to lose interest and engagement with them. You have to instill a significant amount of patience within you. So tell your interviewer how much patience you can hold and cite instances displaying that.
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Seeking to jumpstart your career in physical therapy? SkillSuccess offers a wide array of beginner-friendly resources you can start with on your journey to becoming a physical therapist aide.
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