Physical Therapy Aide Program in New Jersey – NJ
There are many people that mistakenly use the terms “physical therapy aide” and “physical therapy assistants” interchangeably. However, physical therapy aides differ from physical therapy assistants in that they are not licensed professionals and therefore cannot perform many of the clinical procedures that assistants have been trained to provide. In fact, as of yet, there are not any state or federal regulations that mandate educational standards for physical therapy aides in New Jersey, but employers will usually only hire employees that have earned a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, most physical therapy aides receive on-the-job training in lieu of an academic degree. Since physical therapy aides typically work under the supervision of physical therapists and physical therapy assistants, they often receive training from these same licensed professionals. During practical training, physical therapy aides can expect to learn how to execute the major responsibilities of the occupation such as the proper way to prepare patients for physical therapy sessions; preparing, organizing, and maintaining the work setting; and providing clerical support as needed. Aside from individual employers, online schools and professional associations such as the American Physical Therapy Association of New Jersey may likewise offer additional education and training opportunities and courses for physical therapy aides.
Physical Therapy Aide Schools in New Jersey
Since physical therapy aides are not required to hold an academic degree in order to lawfully gain employment in New Jersey, students will find that most post-secondary schools in the state only offer degree programs for those pursuing careers as physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. Therefore, students that are searching for physical therapy aide schools in New Jersey will likely find the options available through online schools and distance learning programs. By enrolling in a formal education program, students get the opportunity to learn several subjects that will help them prepare for a career as a physical therapy aide including, but not limited to: the introduction to physical therapy, professional roles and responsibilities of the physical therapy aide, medical terminology, body systems, common physical disorders, physical therapy treatments, exercise and mobility training, communication and customer service, and workplace health and safety.
Here are some examples of specific courses offered by online schools and distance learning programs: Introduction to Physical Therapy, Medical Records and Terminology, Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy, Safety and Preparation for Patient Care, Patient Positioning, Body Mechanics, and Transfer Techniques. Students that want to facilitate career advancement are encouraged to complete an undergraduate program in physical therapy in order to become physical therapy assistants.
Physical Therapy Aide Salary in New Jersey
Career opportunities are expected to continue growing for physical therapy aides in New Jersey. In fact, the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development anticipates that the number of employed physical therapy aides will rise from 2,500 in 2008 to approximately 3,050 by 2018. This employment projection indicates an estimated 550 new job openings in the coming decade, which equates to a 21.8% employment growth rate. Right now, the top three industries that are employing the largest numbers of physical therapy aides in the state are ambulatory health care services, hospitals, and nursing and residential care facilities. More specifically, professionals looking for jobs in cities such as Newark, Paterson, Edison, Jersey City, Elizabeth, and Woodbridge may also find great positions available at area medical centers including Beth Israel Medical Center, Atlanticare Regional Medical Center, Bergen Regional Medical Center, and Hackensack University Medical Center.
Once employed, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports that the average physical therapy aide salary in New Jersey is 25,770/yr. However, most entry-level employees usually start at $21,730/yr. while more experienced workers earn a higher salary of $29,370/yr. On the other hand, non-salaried physical therapy aides earn an average wage of $12.40/hr. Yet, those with little to no experience receive a lower wage of $10.45/hr. and professionals with several years of experience earn closer to $14.10/hr. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top five best paying industries for physical therapy aides are home health care services, state government, local government, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, and employment services.