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Career Profile: Physical Therapist Aides

Under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing the patient and the treatment area.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 46,700 people employed as physical therapist aides in the United States. The median annual salary is $28,500. Entry level employees earn approximately $20,500 per year and senior employees earn approximately $40,580 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Administer active or passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, or heat, light, sound, water, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Transport patients to and from treatment areas, using wheelchairs or providing standing support.
  • Change linens, such as bed sheets and pillow cases.
  • Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.
  • Schedule patient appointments with physical therapists and coordinate therapists' schedules.
  • Observe patients during treatment to compile and evaluate data on patients' responses and progress and report to physical therapist.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, or coordinating treatment.
  • Arrange treatment supplies to keep them in order.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering telephone, taking messages, or filling out forms.
  • Maintain equipment or furniture to keep it in good working condition, including performing the assembly or disassembly of equipment or accessories.
  • Assist patients to dress, undress, or put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, or slings.
  • Measure patient's range-of-joint motion, body parts, or vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Administer traction to relieve neck or back pain, using intermittent or static traction equipment.
  • Clean and organize work area and disinfect equipment after treatment.
  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard, or assist patients practicing exercises or functional activities, under direction of medical staff.
  • Record treatment given and equipment used.
  • Train patients to use orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices.
  • Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices, adjusting fit as needed.
  • Participate in patient care tasks, such as assisting with passing food trays, feeding residents, or bathing residents on bed rest.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
46,700
Annual Openings:
7,400
Increase in Openings by 2030:
25%
Annual Salary Range:
$20,500 - $40,580
Education Requirements:
High school diploma