Physical therapy is an important part of rehabilitation when one is recovering from an injury or other physical ailment. Physical therapists, and the aides and assistants who work for them, have tremendous power in their ability to help people physically perform the way they did prior to being stricken by their respective afflictions.
While many people may have an idea of what a physical therapist does or may have seen one at some point in their lives, they might not be aware of some members of the physical therapist’s team who are nearly as important as the doctors themselves. These team members are physical therapy aides.
Physical therapy aides, as with other healthcare support occupations, help perform essential functions in both clinical and administrative facets of the physical therapy office.
Physical therapy aides enjoy the flexibility of being qualified to work in a number of different physical therapy settings. These settings include the offices of therapists, hospitals and nursing care facilities.
The majority (55 percent) of physical therapy aides, as one might guess, work in the offices of therapists. This percentage spans a wider range of therapists beyond physical therapists, such as occupational therapists or even speech therapists. These therapists rely on physical therapy aides to keep their offices functioning effectively.
The future of the physical therapy aide is promising and, additionally, the money physical therapy aides earn for their services is on par with that of other healthcare support professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physical therapy aides earned a median salary of $25,680 as of May 2016.
As far as education and training go, the completion of a physical therapy aide program at a community college or trade school is recommended, although not required by many employers.
This post will highlight the benefits of choosing to register for a physical therapy aide program at a postsecondary school that offers one, rather than entering the field with just a high school education.
Bright employment outlook for Physical Therapists
When considering a career, it is certainly understandable to factor in what the future of the field looks like and the expected abundance (or lack thereof) of job openings. Physical therapy aide fits the bill as far as plentiful job openings are concerned.
According to the BLS, employment of physical therapist aides and assistants is projected to increase by 40 percent by 2024, compared to 2014. As is the case with many healthcare occupations, the BLS attributes this rise in demand to the aging of the baby boomer population.
Another factor in the demand for physical therapy aides is the uptick in the number of chronic illnesses that inhibit a person’s mobility, like obesity and diabetes.
With all of these factors in mind, it is undoubtedly a good time to begin a career in the field of physical therapy.
Gives you a leg up on the competition
The BLS suggests that physical therapy aides may have to compete for jobs more so than physical therapy assistants due to the low barrier of entry. This is where completing a training program at a local community college or trade school can come in handy.
Many employers who seek physical therapy aides only require applicants to have a high school diploma. Such candidates typically learn the trade on the job without any prior knowledge.
However, community college and trade school programs are designed to give students a foundation of physical therapy skills and knowledge prior to entering the field. This obviously provides students who complete such programs with an advantage over other candidates who have only their high school diplomas.
Most training programs take less than one year to complete and adequately prepare students for entry-level positions working for physical therapists. They learn additional skills on the job, but having a certificate under their belt can help master the trade sooner than those who did not go to school.
With the increase in physical therapy aide jobs expected to carry on into the foreseeable future, it behooves aspiring physical therapy aides to enroll in a program to learn the profession the right way.
Make money sooner as a Physical Therapist
Another benefit of completing a physical therapy aide training program, in addition to the solid educational foundation, is the amount of time it takes compared to other post-secondary education. Many physical therapy aide programs can be completed in less than one year and award students with certificates.
The brevity of the program allows students to enter the workforce and start making money sooner than their peers who seek four-year degrees and even associate’s degrees. An additional thing to keep in mind, as mentioned earlier, is that finishing a physical therapy aide program offers candidates an advantage over their counterparts who did not complete such a program.
A relatively quick training program and the advantage aspiring physical therapy aides gain make a fairly compelling case for attending a physical therapy aide training program over entering the workforce, say, straight out of high school.
Entering the workforce at the end of a physical therapy aide training program affords physical therapy aides the chance to return to school later if they wish to pursue a higher status, such as a physical therapy assistant.
Make a difference in patients’ lives
Physical therapy is all about helping restore the physical function of one’s body through a series of exercises. In many cases, physical therapy is used to help patients regain or maintain their mobility.
While physical therapists and physical therapy assistants are the ones who typically provide patient care, physical therapy aides are just as important because they keep the office up and running.
Among the many tasks physical therapy aides handle are sanitizing treatment spaces and equipment, helping patients move throughout the treatment facility and scheduling patient appointments. They are also often responsible for completing a number of clerical tasks, such as ordering sufficient supplies, answering phones and properly filling out insurance forms and other paperwork.
As one might be able to tell from this description, physical therapy offices would have a hard time functioning without the hard work of physical therapy aides. Physical therapy aides are the ones who make physical therapy treatment possible.
They can take comfort and satisfaction in knowing that they play a role in helping the office’s patients get back on their feet and regain precious mobility.
If enrolling in a physical therapy aide training program sounds like a possible career path for you, the next step would be for you to narrow down a list of possible programs near you.
Start your career off on the right foot
A quality physical therapy aide training program can help you distinguish yourself from other physical therapy aides in the eyes of prospective employers. In Summit College’s Physical Therapy Aide program, students learn the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively assist physical therapists across the country.
Summit College offers its physical therapy aide program at its Colton campus. Day and night class options are designed to give students the flexibility to schedule classes around other obligations they may have.
The physical therapy aide program takes 34 weeks to finish, which allows students to enter the field in a shorter length of time compared to their four-year college counterparts.
Summit College’s Physical Therapy Aide program is taught by instructors who know what it’s like to work in physical therapy. Summit’s instructors have years of real-world, practical experience that they use to help students be the best physical therapy aides they can at the end of the program.
They will guide students in both classroom and laboratory coursework at Summit’s modern facilities, providing them with the needed individual attention along the way.
In Summit’s Physical Therapy Aide program, you will acquire an abundance of skills and knowledge pertinent to physical therapy. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Mobility and immobility
- Functions of the body
- Medical terminology
- Patient service and communication
In addition to these skills and topics, the Summit College Physical Therapy Aide program curriculum consists of courses in subjects such as patient preparation, therapeutic exercises and physical therapy treatments.
At the completion of Summit College’s Physical Therapy Aide program, you will have the skills and knowledge you need to enter the workforce as a physical therapy aide. Physical therapy aides typically receive further training on the job, though they are compensated while they learn more skills.
Summit College offers its students career assistance resources, including résumé help, mock interviews and externships. This wealth of resources can help physical therapy aides capitalize on the occupation’s plentiful employment opportunities.
In California, physical therapy aides made a median salary of $27,640 in 2015, according to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). This median is roughly $2,000 more than the national median physical therapy aide salary.
Physical therapy aides can serve a crucial role in the physical rehabilitation of millions of people each year. You can stand out in the physical therapy aide crowd by completing a top-notch training program like the one at Summit College.
What are you waiting for? Discover the Summit Difference. Get started today at summitcollege.edu.