The Complete Guide

Physical Therapy Aide

How To Become A Physical Therapy Aide and save time and money on your certification
Grant Aldrich
August 31, 2020

Why We Love PTA

$29,000-$34,000
Estimated Salary
Certification Online
Education Needed
No Prior Experience
Experience
3-6 Months
Length

What if you could have a career helping people recover from illness or injury and regain their physical strength? And what if, instead of going to medical school for 4+ years, you could begin this new career in as little as 6 months?

Physical therapy aides support physical therapists by providing indirect patient care. From preparing patients for therapy to transporting them to where they need to be to scheduling and ordering supplies, these professionals are a critical part of the healthcare team. It’s no wonder they are in such high demand.

If you think you have what it takes to become a physical therapy aide, then keep reading to discover what this rewarding career offers.

Chapter 1:

What Do Physical Therapy Aides Do?

Physical therapy aides work under the direct supervision of physical therapists in providing indirect patient care for those that need rehabilitation or therapy.

Their daily tasks include preparing treatment areas for patient therapy, cleaning and setting up equipment, assisting patients moving to and from treatment areas, ordering supplies, scheduling therapy sessions and completing insurance forms.

So let’s say you are working in a hospital setting and it’s time for Mr. Jackson’s therapy session. You may be dispatched up to Mr. Jackson’s room to help him transfer from his bed to the wheelchair, and then transfer him down to the physical therapy room. Once you’ve dropped him off, you return to what you had been doing, which is wiping down some of the equipment. Later in the day, you take inventory and order any necessary supplies.

Physical therapy is an incredibly important discipline within the healthcare industry, and physical therapy aides are invaluable members of the team. It’s no wonder why demand for these specialists is booming!

Chapter 2:

5 Reasons to Become a Physical Therapy Aide

While there are a multitude of reasons, here are the Top 5 Reasons you should consider a career as a Physical Therapy Aide:

1. No Prior Experience is Needed

You don’t need any prior experience or degree to begin your certification program – you could start towards a career as a physical therapy aide in just 6 months.

 

2. Enjoy Job Security

A fulfilling career that also offers job security? Thanks to an aging baby boomer population, there will be more demand for physical therapy aides in the coming years. We’ll share some more specific data with you in just a bit.

 

3. Feel Good About the Work You Do

Some people have day jobs. And some people work toward bettering other people’s lives each day. You’ll feel great about helping people and will end each day with a smile on your face.

 

4. Work in a Variety of Settings

You’ll have your choice of working in a hospital setting, a private practice, nursing home, outpatient clinic and more. Plus, since these professionals are needed all over the country, you can live and work where you wish as well.

 

5. A Great Stepping-Stone

A physical therapy aide is an entry level position and one that lets you have a firsthand look at the world of physical therapy. You may eventually decide you’d like to go back to school to move up and become and assistant, and then eventually a licensed physical therapist with their own practice. Then again, you may decide to become a nurse or a clinical administrator. You’ll interact with so many different healthcare professionals that you’ll get access to a variety of potential future career advancements.

Chapter 3:

How to Get a Physical Therapy Aide Certification

Whether you work in a hospital, nursing home or private practice, employers typically like to see candidates hold certification and demonstrate their abilities to land a job in the field.  So a certification may be the best way to get started in this exciting new career.

We recommend you take our certification savings quiz to get started.

Take the Quiz! >

Our quiz could help you save time and money on a certification program from an authorized school – and it takes less than a couple minutes to complete.

5 Things to Look for In A Physical Therapy Aide Certification Program

1. Find an online PTA program from an authorized school or accredited university

To get your career started on the right foot you’ll want to obtain certification from an authorized school or accredited college. In addition to gaining important skills and information, you get a certification of completion to show off and hang on your wall!

2. Look for a discount and a low monthly payment plan

These are often hard to come by…but, we can help! 🙂 That’s why OnlineDegree.com has made it our mission to help adult learners get huge discounts toward their certification!

3. Make sure an externship placement is included

Certification is a great first step, but to really set yourself apart from other candidates, you’ll want to look for a training program that offers hands-on experience.

4. Look for an online, mentor supported course you can take at your own pace

Online at your own pace is key! Adult learners should look for online certification programs as they allow you to study at your own pace and on your own schedule…this is huge for maintaining your family time.

5. Find out if textbooks are included in the cost of the program

Textbooks can cost a fortune! Make sure to find a program that doesn’t charge extra for books.

6. (Bonus!) Use our free quiz to find a certification program that meets all of this criteria 

We’ve done the research for you! Save time by using our healthcare quiz to get matched with the best certification programs. All programs meet this criteria and are chosen for you based on your career goals and life situation.

Take the Quiz! >

Chapter 4:

Physical Therapy Aide Salary Data

How much do Physical Therapy Aides make? Here is the salary and growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

The median annual wage for physical therapist aides was $27,000 in May 2019. This figure is determined by a few things such as education, certifications, time spent in your career and location. Your salary can also be enhanced by the facility you work in. for instance, physical therapy aides working in hospitals had an annual average salary of $29,570 while an aide working in a nursing home earned $34,490.

Most physical therapy aides work full time, although part time work is available. Some aides work nights and weekends because many physical therapists’ offices have extended hours to accommodate patients’ schedules.

 

Chapter 5:

Physical Therapy Aide Job Growth Projections and Forecast

How fast is the Physical Therapy Aide field growing?

According to the BLS, employment of physical therapy aides and assistants is expected to grow 27% from 2018 to 2028, which is far faster than the average for all occupations.

 

 

As we mentioned earlier, as the baby boomer generation ages, they will require more medical services and physical therapy will rank high on the list of services needed.

While job prospects are good across the board, those candidates who have obtained certification stand the best chance of landing a job. Luckily we can connect you with licensed schools or accredited universities that offer this training!

Chapter 6:

How to Find a Job as a Physical Therapy Aide

Your first step toward your career as a physical therapy aide is to complete the certification training program through an accredited university. This will give you a solid educational foundation and get you ready to enter the job market.

Next, you’ll want to determine what setting you’d like to work in. We also mentioned that you’ll have a variety of work environments to choose from. While a majority of aides work in hospitals and private practices, many work in other facilities such as nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and occupational therapists’ offices. So you’ll want to spend some time thinking about where your skills and personality might fit best.

Once you’ve determined your preferred work setting, your next step is to gain some critical hands-on experience before hitting the proverbial pavement. The good news is a quality certification program will include an externship so you can gain some hands-on experience!

Chapter 7:

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional questions and answers you may have about becoming a Physical Therapy Aide and getting your certification:

Q: What Does a Physical Therapy Aide Do Every Day?

A: These professionals work with physical therapists and offer indirect patient support. They essentially keep the office running smoothly so the therapist can focus on treating the patients. Daily tasks include setting up equipment and maintaining a clean and functional therapy area, handling clerical duties such as patient intake, coordinating with referring doctors’ offices and documenting patients’ responses during exercises.

 

Q: What is a Physical Therapy Aide Certification?

A: This certification is a valuable asset to have as it shows prospective employers that you have taken the time to learn the fundamentals. This certification will help you stand apart from the crowd and hopefully get your resume to the top of the pile!

 

Q: What Skills Will I Learn in Physical Therapy Aide Training?

A: You will learn and master important skills in your training. Education will focus on a working knowledge of anatomy and medical terminology as well as information regarding patient care skills, infection control, and the legal and ethical regulations that affect healthcare providers.

 

Q: What Are the Prerequisites for Enrollment in a Certificate Program?

A: The only requirement for enrollment in these programs is a high school diploma or equivalent.

Chapter 8:

How to Start Towards a Physical Therapy Aide Career In 3-6 Months

Even if you don’t have any prior experience or degree – you could start towards a career as a physical therapy aide in just 3-6 months! That’s one of the greatest advantages of this profession.

So here’s what we recommend you do to get started: Take this quiz to see if you qualify for an online certification program from an authorized school or accredited university.

Take the Quiz! >

A physical therapy aide certification is often required or preferred by most employers. Plus, taking a certification program could be the best way to get your foot in the door, build your network, get training, and work experience.

Take this quiz to see if you qualify for:

  • 10% Off A Certification Program
  • An Externship For Real Work Experience
  • Affordable Cost and Low Monthly Payments
  • A FREE Laptop To Take The Course If You Don’t Have One
  • No Extra Cost For Textbooks – All Included and Shipped To Your Door
  • Online, Mentor Supported Courses You Can Take 24/7 At Your Own Pace

If you are ready to get started on an exciting and rewarding career in healthcare, then take this short quiz to get started toward your dream!