Physical Therapy Aide Program in Montana – MT
The Montana Board of Physical Therapy Examiners defines a physical therapy aide as a person “who aids in the practice of physical therapy, whose activities require on-the-job training, and who is supervised by a licensed physical therapist or a licensed physical therapy assistant.”
There are skills unique to the physical therapy aide occupation. It can be overwhelming to start work in a hospital or clinic environment without knowing much about healthcare. Though not required by state law in Montana, getting physical therapy aide certification will allow the job applicant to have more confidence in his or her abilities while making a bold statement to prospective employers.
Topics in a comprehensive physical aide program will focus on currently accepted physical therapy modalities, body mechanics and basic anatomy, correct use of medical terminology and best office practice in medical settings.
Since the job description includes limited hands on patient contact, it is an ideal program for online study. Coupled with a lack of instate programs, distance learning can be a sensible option for the Montanan who is interested in physical therapy. Many programs have variable start times and can be completed along an individual timeline.
Montana expects that even in the event that an individual pursues formal training, he or she will still undergo further instruction under the guidance and direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist or physical therapy assistant.
Physical Therapy Aide Salary in Montana
The annual physical therapy aide salary in Montana, at $24,090, is on par with the national average. These figures come from the Department of Labor (DOL) Occupational Employment Statistics report of May 2009.
Salaries can vary by region, with the DOL reporting the western Montana nonmetropolitan area leading the southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area by nearly $3000, $25,520 compared to $22,800.
Additionally, different types of employers will pay more than others. Nationally, home health care services pay the highest wages, a yearly salary of $32,670. Individual practices, however, employ the largest number of physical therapy aides, with general medical and surgical hospitals ranking second.
The Montana Board of Physical Therapy Examiners places limits on patient contact, only allowing aides to assist a therapist or their assistant while under their direct supervision. Aides are also allowed to help prep patients for treatment and help them after treatment has concluded, also under direct supervision.
The board lists the following as the unsupervised tasks that can be performed by a physical therapy aide:
- Housekeeping including caring for and stocking supplies and equipment
- Transporting patients, equipment, supplies, records etc.
- Assembling and dissembling equipment and therapeutic accessories
- Transcribing, recording or copying treatment documentation created by the physical therapist or assistant which must be signed off on by the originator
Physical Therapy Aide Jobs in Montana
The Montana Board of Physical Therapy Examiners gives a fairly clear job description for physical therapy aides in its rulebook. Aides do mostly office and housekeeping work, although sometimes working with complicated medical machinery and devices.
Stand alone private practice clinics tend to be where most of physical therapy aide jobs are found, based on national trends tracked by the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Employment Statistics. The second largest employer is general medical and surgical hospitals, of which there are approximately 70 in the state of Montana.
The following show the results of a DOL survey of employment concentration for allied health professionals including physical therapy aides in Montana:
- Billings Hospital with 3000 employees
- St. Vincent Heart Center with 3000 employees
- Kalispell Regional Medical Center with 1900 employees
- St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, with 1700 employees
- Bozeman Deaconess Hospital with 1069 employees
- St. Peter's Hospital with 1000 employees
- Great Falls Specialty Clinic with 820 employees
While not ranked by the DOL, the 212 bed Northern Montana Hospital is one of the largest in the state. It is based in Havre and serves the central region of the state near the border with Canada.