What does an Activity Therapist do?
Physical therapy aides work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists to help patients recovering from injuries and illness as they regain movement and manage their pain. They are involved with patients’ direct care and often perform tasks directly related to patient care, including cleaning and setting up a treatment area, clerical duties, and moving patients.
Physical therapy aides observe a patient before, during, and after their therapy. While doing this they take notes about the patient’s status and report it to a physical therapist. Their work consists of helping patients do specific exercises as part of the plan of care, and they treat patients using various techniques which could include massage or stretching. Physical therapy aides treat patients through exercise, gait and balance training, and other therapeutic interventions. Clerical tasks they may be expected to take on might include ordering supplies, scheduling sessions, and completing insurance forms. Physical therapy aides need a minimum associate's degree from an accredited program and a license or certification. In the program, coursework must be completed in subjects including anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology. All states also require physical therapists to be licensed or certified.
- Provide physical therapy services to patients within their homes.
- Document care given and the patient's response to treatment.
- Assist in ambulation and exercise according to the plan of care.
- Provide accurate billing information on the same day as services.
- Assist in the evaluation of other areas as directed.
- Identify and address psychosocial needs of patients and family.
- Provide necessary material/equipment for resident to perform required therapy.
- Help develop the plan of treatment (revising as necessary).
- Collaborate with supervisor to meet assigned productivity standard.
- Provide treatment to patients as directed by the physical therapist.
- Remain knowledgeable of state practice acts and ensure the level of supervision they receive meets standards.
- Assist patients in preparing for therapy and return trip.
- Ensure MD orders are obtained for treatments, recertifications and discharges.
- Perform all other duties assigned by director of rehabilitation.
- Maintain awareness of patient and community needs, conditions, and programs.
- Assist with cleaning and maintenance of treatment area and department.
- Accurately document daily, weekly, or monthly client records.
- Create in others an awareness of their abilities and self-worth.
- Order and instruct patients in the use of prescribed equipment.
- Bachelor's or Graduate's Degree in exercise science or equivalent experience.
- Natural collaboration skills and sound attention to details.
- Positive attitude while assisting with life skills such as bathing, toileting, grooming, and dressing.
- Leadership and time management capabilities.
- Communicate goals with clients/patients while strengthening confidence and completing tasks.
- Exercise plans that assist with recovery.
How much does an Activity Therapist make near United States?
Activity Therapist Career Path
Learn how to become an Activity Therapist, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Years of Experience Distribution
Activity Therapist Insights
“The occupational therapy team is really supportive and they help you achieve your career goals.”
“It was a good place to learn from therapist and get a head start on my career and knowledge.”
“Gained lots of great knowledge working here that helped me as I continued on in my career.”
“It was flexible scheduling all the way around even when I worked full time there.”
“This is a good role for anyone interested in PT or OT as a career path.”
“Emphasizes top quality patient care to get the best outcomes for whoever walks in the door.”
“It is a great opportunity for those who are looking to advance their career in the rehabilitation field.”
“Management is understanding when serious problems come up and I would definitely rate this place the best I have ever worked at.”
Activity Therapist Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of physical therapy aides
Physical therapy aides spend their workday supporting physical therapists as they provide quality care to patients recovering from injuries, surgery, or illness. Their most common daily tasks include preparing for upcoming physical therapy appointments, assisting physical therapists with patients, and performing basic office duties.
U.S. News ranks physical therapy aides in the top 10 best jobs without a college degree, and one of the best healthcare support jobs. The job market for this career is predicted to have significant growth in the coming years.
Physical therapy aides get paid well. The average base salary of a physical therapy aide in the U.S. is $62,097 per year. Many physical therapy aides start this career while attending school or training, and the salary increases with experience and additional education.
Working as a physical therapy aide can be challenging on occasion. Some of the difficult aspects of this position include that it can be physically demanding at times, it may require long working hours, and it might be necessary to pursue ongoing education or certification.