Physical Therapy Aide Technician Training
Whether it is an illness or a substantial bodily injury that has impaired the body’s function, physical therapists are trained to help patients regain comfort and mobility they enjoyed prior to their afflictions. While physical therapists are highly skilled healthcare professionals, they do need help with the daily operations of offices, clinics and hospitals.
This is where a seemingly lesser-known member of the healthcare field comes into play: physical therapy aide technicians. Physical therapy aide technicians help physical therapists and other therapists with both administrative and patient care tasks.
Physical therapy aides and technicians play a similar role to physical therapists that other healthcare support workers in other fields play to their respective doctors. They handle the tasks that make patient visits possible and ones that the doctor(s) cannot do by themselves simply by virtue of the limitations of time and space.
Many people may not know what exactly a physical therapy aide technician does or how it is different from a physical therapy assistant. This page is designed to serve as a rundown of basic information about physical therapy aides and technicians.
What Do Physical Therapy Aide Technicians Do?
Like other healthcare support professionals, physical therapy aide technicians perform tasks that are necessary to the function of their employer’s business. They are trained to complete clinical and administrative tasks in nursing facilities, physical therapist offices, hospitals and other settings.
Physical therapy aide technicians are crucial cogs in the well-oiled machines that are therapists’ offices, clinics and hospitals. Among the common duties that physical therapy aides fulfill include:
Cleaning treatment areas and equipment
Setting up therapy stations, tools and equipment
Escorting patients through the office or facility
Preparing patient transport
Scheduling patient appointments
Answering phones and filling out insurance forms
Recognizing the need for continuing education and staying current in healthcare mandates
And so much more!
Fifty-five percent of physical therapy aides are employed in therapists’ offices. Such therapists include occupational therapists and speech therapists, not just physical therapists. Physical therapy aide technicians play a pivotal role in the functioning of therapists’ offices.
The tasks that physical therapy aides and technicians are eligible to complete differ by the state in which they are employed.
Physical Therapy Aide Technicians Pay
The median annual wage for physical therapist aide technicians was $27,000 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,310, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $39,740.
The median annual wage for physical therapist assistants was $58,790 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,450, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,840.
In May 2019, the median annual wages for physical therapist aides and technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities) $34,490
Hospitals; state, local, and private $29,570
Offices of physicians $28,430
Offices of physical, occupational and $25,600
speech therapists, and audiologists
Though the two positions’ titles may sound synonymous and share the PTA acronym, there are significant differences between physical therapy aide technicians and assistants.
Physical therapy aides work under supervision of physical therapy assistants. A physical therapy assistant’s job consists of more patient care duties, such as teaching patients exercises, treating patients with various techniques and implementing the use of equipment in patient treatment.
Physical therapy aide technicians, on the other hand, handle administrative tasks in addition to patient care preparation. It is important that both aide technicians and assistants have knowledge of proper lifting techniques, as they may frequently need to lift patients up. Such techniques can help prevent back injuries, which are common within the occupation.
Physical therapy aide technicians can enter the workforce sooner than physical therapy assistants because assistants are required to complete an associate’s degree program at the minimum before beginning to work.