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Physical Therapy Aide Occupational Outlook Handbook—US Bureau of Labor Statistics

When considering any career field, it is important to have an understanding of the logistics of the field, what the average salary is, what kind of tasks you will be doing, and the outlook in the job market. This knowledge will help you to decide the best career path for you.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great resource for looking up any career, and we have broken down the components of the Physical Therapy Aide field.

Discover the ins and outs of this allied health sector and whether it is the right fit for you!


Physical Therapy Aide Insights

Outlook and number of jobs: This field is projected to grow 21% from 2019 to 2029, which is at a more accelerated speed than other occupations. The need for physical therapy will continue to increase as the population ages and health needs continue to increase among the baby-boomers. Overall, 6,900 jobs for physical therapy aides are projected as the median each year.

Pay: The average pay is $28,450 a year as of May 2020. Aides who worked in the nursing care facilities sector received on average $34,800 a year, and working in hospitals was right below that, while working in occupational, speech therapy, or audiology offices brought in an average pay of $27,080 a year.

What is it?: A Physical therapy aide works under the supervision of a Physical Therapist to assist with tasks that are generally indirectly related to the patient’s care and sessions. They will ensure the area is cleaned and set up for each patient, help in moving patients around, and completing clerical duties. More specifically, PTA’s wash linens, clean equipment, move patients from waiting room to therapy rooms, and work at the front desk answering phone calls and scheduling patients and completing insurance forms. What PTA’s are allowed to do at their job varies from state to state.

Work environment: Most often, physical therapy aides work in physical, occupational, speech, or audiology offices or hospitals, whether state, local, or private. Aides typically spend a lot of time on their feet to either set up equipment, clean a space, or assist patients. Both full time and part time positions are available. Night shifts and weekends are also prevalent as offices need to accommodate their patients’ schedules.


Qualities a Physical Therapy Aide Should Possess

Compassion: serving others and helping them in their challenges is important. When a patient is in pain, empathy should be expressed in addition to a desire to discover techniques that can help alleviate their pain.

Attention to detail: displaying good organization habits and the ability to keep accurate records of the patient’s information, and their exercise protocols is crucial in ensuring nothing is misrepresented or forgotten. It is also important for aides to have a good memory and be able to follow written or verbal instructions carefully to ensure patients receive quality care.

Interpersonal Skills: Being able to interact with patients, their caregivers or family members and other co-workers or medical staff is imperative. Displaying friendliness and being courteous will go a long way.

Physical stamina: Because physical therapy aides spend a lot of time on their feet, it is important that they have the stamina to bend, kneel, stoop, stand for long periods of time, and assist the patients when necessary.


Becoming a Physical Therapy Aide

Physical therapy aides typically need a high school diploma and on the job training or certificate. States do not require PTA’s to be licensed; however, there are still many details specific to the field that aides need to be knowledgeable on. Blackstone Career Institute offers an online Physical Therapy Aide program that will ensure you learn the anatomy and medical terminology, administrative office skills, office technology, time and stress management, critical thinking skills, working effectively on a team, medical ethics and HIPAA information needed for Physical Therapy Aide career.