Hiring Physical Therapy Aides
Physical therapy aides are indispensable members of physical therapy support teams. They help patients recuperate from an injury or illness under the guidance and supervision of a therapist or supervisor. They support the physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in performing non-medical tasks, such as setting up and cleaning treatment rooms, taking care of clerical duties, and transporting patients to different areas of a healthcare facility. Although PT aides do not provide direct patient care, they are crucial to a well-run physical therapy facility. These professionals are employed in hospitals, offices of occupational and physical therapists, audiologist facilities, rehabilitation centers, and even in residential and nursing facilities. Given the increase in health care needs, the job outlook for the position is positive, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting a 23% employment growth over the next decade. The average salary a PTA earns is $38,521 per year, with prospects to improve, get promoted, and draw a higher salary. They also receive privileges such as: flexible schedule benefits, professional development assistance, 401(k), and insurance benefits.
Physical Therapy Aide Responsibilities
The nature of duties performed by a PT aide varies depending on where they work. However, the core functions they perform are the same. The aides are indirectly in charge of patient care, responsible for preparing a patient for therapy, moving patients from their rooms to therapy gyms, and helping the physical therapist as required. They are also responsible for observing patients before, during, and after therapy, preparing documentation on the progress, and reporting to the therapist in charge. PT aides assemble, disassemble, and maintain equipment and keep the treatment area clean. They handle scheduling treatment sessions, filling out insurance forms, and assisting with patient intake. Other key responsibilities include: documenting patients' responses, ordering supplies, and liaising with physicians' offices and hospital personnel.
Physical Therapy Aide Backgrounds
To apply for the role of a PT aide, the candidate should have a high school diploma or its equivalent. In some cases, employers allow the candidate to work as an aide while studying to be a physical therapy assistant. Prior relevant experience is not mandatory for the position as most facilities provide on-the-job training to the hire and prepare employees for the work. Candidates should be comfortable using a computer and MS Office. While hiring for the role, employers seek applicants who have a passion for helping others. Also, the candidate should have active listening skills, strong interpersonal skills, and attention to detail, along with patience, self-motivation skills, and the ability to think critically in emergencies. Since PT aides spend a lot of time on their feet, physical stamina is an essential requirement for the role.