Physical Therapy Aide Job Description

What does a physical therapy aide’s workday look like?

The beginning of a physical therapist’s workday is often spent organizing schedules or confirming appointments. A PT aide’s day is often broken up into segments during which he or she is either supporting direct patient care, or completing administrative duties such as paperwork management, billing activities or distributing communications between therapists and departments. An aide will often need to take several opportunities during the day to re-organize equipment in the therapy department that has been moved around during use.

Rehabilitation departments within both in and outpatient settings operate during day shifts, so a therapy aide will not work

Learn how to become a physical therapy aide.

What patient care duties are physical therapy aides responsible for?

The level to which physical therapy aides are involved in direct patient care depends on the setting in which they are employed and whether or not a patient’s insurer allows PT aides to provide any direct patient care. In nearly all settings PT aides will have contact with patients for the purposes of transporting them to and from the treatment area as well as when providing a second set of hands for the physical therapist during more challenging treatments.

In some settings, the physical therapy aide job description includes being responsible for setting patients up on therapeutic exercise equipment, and in some cases actually leading exercises or mobility activities. In these situations, nearly all states and insurers require that a physical therapist supervise. In this situation, a physical therapist may be facilitating therapeutic treatment to one patient, while a PT aide helps a second patient perform mobility practice activities or exercises.

Within some hospitals, physical therapy aides also support the occupational therapy department, so the types of treatments that an aide can participate in can be quite varied.

What non-patient duties does a PT aide have?

While the specifics of a PT aide’s responsibilities will depend largely on the setting in which he or she works, there are some activities common among all physical therapy aides:

Scheduling: In an outpatient clinic, treatments are scheduled in advance and a PT aide may be responsible for taking calls and scheduling patient appointments. Inpatient scheduling systems differ, as patients often aren’t scheduled treatment times; however, patients are nearly always assigned to a specific therapist requiring PT aid’s to schedule around therapists’ schedules while still being mindful of patient needs. In both settings, managing the flow of patients through the department, the amount of time necessary for each visit, how much additional time a therapist or assistant will need for documentation and the type of therapy a patient needs is essential.

Administrative support: Documentation is vital to successful outcomes in all treatment settings. While more organizations are implementing paperless systems, many still operate with physical charts and paper documentation. Accurate filing and document handling is essential. A patient’s chart is a legal document and good management of records is a compliance requirement. PT aides often find that managing the department’s documentation is one of the more important tasks they may be responsible for.

Department organization and equipment management: A clean, safe and organized therapy department maximizes the effectiveness of therapy. A physical therapist moving quickly form patient to patient may not have time to sanitize equipment or put supplies away. Likewise, he or she may need help getting the right equipment for the next patient. A PT aide’s job almost always includes support in this area. A good PT aide will know how the department is organized, help maintain good systems for storage and ensure that equipment is clean and supplies are well stocked. Many aides find themselves responsible for the organization of wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility devices that patients may need throughout the therapeutic process.

Learn about physical therapy aide salaries.

Physical Therapy Aide Schools

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            Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab Program
            • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
            • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
            • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
            • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
            • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
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            • Financial Aid
            AAS Physical Therapist Assistant
            • Several campuses are designated as 2015 Military Friendly Schools by Victory Media.
            • Scholarships and other financial aid opportunities are available for students who qualify.
            • Day, evening, and online classes are available for flexible schedule options.
            • Regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
            • Founded 160 years ago, it is one of America’s premier private career colleges.
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            Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            AAS Physical Therapist Assistant
            • Flexible scheduling options are available; day, afternoon, and evening classes are available Monday through Saturday and terms begin in October, January, April, and June.
            • Offers bachelor’s, associate’s, and certificate programs in legal studies, business administration, healthcare, nursing, accounting, and more.
            • Assists students with various academic and career advising services.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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            • Accredited
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            • Transferable Credits
            AS Physical Therapist Assistant
            South College , Knoxville
            • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for their Physician Assistant program in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Campus is 56,000 square feet of modern lecture classrooms, specialty laboratories with state-of-the art equipment, writing and math lab, student center, and more.
            • Programmatic accreditation from several organizations, including the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
            • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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