What does a Physical Therapy Aide 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.

What responsibilities are common for Physical Therapy Aide jobs?
  • 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.
What are the typical qualifications for Physical Therapy Aide jobs?
  • 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.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.7 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.4 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

How much does a Physical Therapy Aide make?

Confident
$47,902 /yr
Total Pay
$44,818
 /yr

Base Pay

+
$3,084
 /yr

Additional Pay

$47,902

 / yr
$30K$76K
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
See More Insights

Physical Therapy Aide Career Path

Learn how to become a Physical Therapy Aide, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Physical Therapy Aide
$47,902/yr
Senior Physical Therapy Aide
$72,207/yr
Physical Therapy Aide

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
25%
2 - 4
24%
5 - 7
0%
8+
51%
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Physical Therapy Aide Insights

Read what Physical Therapy Aide professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
ATI Physical TherapyATI Physical Therapy
Rehabilitation Technician
Mar 5, 2021

“compensation is not dependent on how well you do your job or how long youve been there.”

Oxford Physical Therapy CentersOxford Physical Therapy Centers
Physical Therapy Technician
May 13, 2021

“Gained lots of great knowledge working here that helped me as I continued on in my career.”

Foxwoods Resort CasinoFoxwoods Resort Casino
Mobility Specialist
Sep 14, 2022

“It was flexible scheduling all the way around even when I worked full time there.”

AthleticoAthletico
Rehab Aide
Aug 2, 2021

“This is a good role for anyone interested in PT or OT as a career path.”

Aquatic Physical Therapy and BeyondAquatic Physical Therapy and Beyond
Physical Therapy Assistant
Nov 23, 2021

“Emphasizes top quality patient care to get the best outcomes for whoever walks in the door.”

Embassy HealthcareEmbassy Healthcare
Rehabilitation Technician
Sep 29, 2020

“Grateful to be able to grab this amazing opportunity of working with passionate healthcare providers.”

Vanguard Spine & SportVanguard Spine & Sport
Rehab Technician
Aug 29, 2022

“Management is understanding when serious problems come up and I would definitely rate this place the best I have ever worked at.”

Winslow’s Table
Activity Therapist
Sep 23, 2022

“Customer base was affluent and difficult.”

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Physical Therapy Aide 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 $47,902 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.

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Physical Therapy Aide Jobs