How to Become a Physical Therapy Aide in 4 Simple Steps
Physical therapy aides are a part of one of the fastest-growing sectors in the healthcare industry. They support physical therapists and physical therapy assistants in a variety of ways, from transporting patients to organizing equipment to handling office clerical duties.
The steps to becoming a physical therapy aide are simple, but necessary. If you’re interested in how to become a physical therapy aide, read on to learn more.
Step 1: Education
Unlike the other physical therapy professions, physical therapy aides do not require a college degree. A high school diploma, or the GED equivalent, is all that you need to be a physical therapy aide. Many hospitals and facilities offer on-the-job training for physical therapy aides, allowing you to learn while working and gain your skills in a hands-on environment.
Many career schools and vocational institutes, including Southern California Health Institute (SOCHi), offer comprehensive training programs that equip graduates with the knowledge and experience to step into an entry-level position as a physical therapy aide in a variety of job environments. SOCHi’s program not only prepares you with the information and skills to perform as a physical therapy aide, but also assists you in getting the necessary certifications to work.
Step 2: Certification
SOCHi provides the opportunity for you as a graduate to obtain certain state certifications that are optional, but one certification that is required is a Basic Life Support, or BLS, certification. A BLS for Healthcare providers is a certification from the American Heart Association that proves that you have the knowledge and skill to utilize basic CPR, as well as how to treat someone who is choking. You are also required to learn how to properly use an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Most employers require their physical therapy aides to have BLS certification, so studying in a program such as SOCHi’s which helps you get this necessary certification is important.
Step 3: Experience
Mid adult female patient being assisted by physical therapist while doctor applauding, Clinical entry-level positions for physical therapy aides allow you to learn valuable skills while on-the-job.
Physical therapy aides are not required to have a great deal of experience, since it is an entry-level position, but there are some skills and experience milestones that may help you to succeed in your job and advance more quickly. Some employers may require as much as a year of experience working in a hospital or other clinical setting as part of their hiring criteria.
Step 4: Key Skills
A number of physical and “soft” skills are important when you are considering how to become a physical therapy aide. Physically, this job requires excellent manual dexterity, endurance, and a great deal of physical strength. While you are not required to be super-muscular, being in good physical shape is important. As an assistant to physical therapists, you will be required to lift and move heavy pieces of equipment, as well as assist with lifting and guiding patients as needed.
Soft skills are also vital when working as a physical therapy aide, including acute attention to detail, a pleasant manner, and good interpersonal skills, and the ability to be discreet about patient information.
Learning how to become a physical therapy aide begins with the pursuit of the right training program. Choosing a comprehensive program such as the Physical Therapy Aide program at SOCHi will not only help to set you on the right path to a successful new career, but will also help you to acquire the other skills and certifications that will make you a valuable asset to any company you apply to after graduation.
Does the physical therapy aide program sounds like it would be the right fit for you? Get more information or apply now at the SOCHi website.