Most people who work as physical therapists are actually assistants or aides. However, since the market demand for this profession is gradually getting more and more popular, there is plenty of work for everyone who has the necessary education. Usually aides and assistants learn everything about the profession of physical therapist during their practice. In fact, two thirds of all people in this business work either in hospitals or with private physical therapists, with aides learning on the job and assistants having the necessary degree.
Job Requirements of a Physical Therapist Assistant and Aide
Basically, assistants and aides do most of the practical work in this area of medicine, being supervised by the physical therapist most of the time. They help people improve their mobility and get rid of the pain which might be bothering them, helping them overcome physical difficulties and problems they might be facing due to injury or diseases. As far as profiles of patients are concerned, physical therapists, aides and assistants usually deal with accident victims, disabled people and individuals suffering from back pain, cardiovascular problems, arthritis, broken bones, head injuries and cerebral palsy.
Thus, aides and assistants are supposed to perform proper massages, exercises, electrical stimulation, paraffin baths, hot and cold compresses, ultrasound or tractions, helping their patients significantly. Additionally, these members of the medical staff need to record the state of the patient and his/her reactions to specific treatments, forwarding the data to the physical therapist afterwards.
Sanitation and hygiene are both responsibilities of physical therapist assistants and aides. Also, during patient transfers, these people are there to provide support and assistance. Finally, answering the phone, obtaining supplies, handling paperwork and other secondary tasks are the part of assistance or aides work in the field of physical therapy.
All in all, it is a demanding job, requiring physical strength and agility, as well as patience and empathy.
Facts about the Business
In 1998, 82,000 of physical therapy aides and assistants were employed. Most of these people have earned an associate's degree or a certification of being an accredited physical therapy assistant. Also, most people in this business have completed the necessary minimum of clinic work hours before earning the degree.
There are more than 274 accredited training facilities for this job in the US.
All in all, as long as there are people with physical injuries and disabilities, there will be jobs and demands for physical therapists, as well as their assistants and aides. With the world becoming an increasingly unhealthier place, being dangerous and life-threatening, it is always useful to have a professional to count on in case of need. Thus, this line of work is likely to expand even more during years to come.