Top Physical Therapy Aide Requirements: Have You Got What It Takes?

pta school requirements
Career training as a physical therapy aide combines classroom learning and clinical experience.

PTA Requirements

Physical therapy is one of the fastest growing professions and the need for trained physical therapy aides seems destined to increase. Standing ready at the front line to assist patients when needed, handle equipment set-up, keep track of patient’s progress, offer encouragement and advice along the way, as well as handling clerical work as needed, physical therapy aides need to have a wide range of knowledge, as well as hard and soft skills to properly do their job.

What Does a Physical Therapy Aide Do?

Similar to aides in other areas of health care, a physical therapy aide assists the physical therapist or therapist assistant with a wide range of tasks. First of all, a physical therapy aide prepares the treatment area, keeping it clean and all tools and materials ready for the therapist and assistant to use with the patient. An aide also may perform massage or apply modalities under the supervision of a Physical Therapist. A physical therapy aide also needs to be ready to assist with the patient’s therapies as needed, including physically assisting disabled patients, and generally ensure that the appointment is productive and positive for the patient.

Physical therapy aides may also help with clerical tasks, including handling relevant paperwork and managing the patient’s medical records. They may also need to order supplies and manage inventory, answer the phone and schedule appointments and tests.

Physical Therapy Aide Requirements

A high school diploma or GED is all that is required to begin working as a physical therapy aide, though many employers prefer to hire you if you are pursuing or are interested in pursuing a career related to physical therapy. Physical therapy aide positions are considered entry-level positions, so very often the employer will provide any necessary training under the supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant. The training may include how to use various types therapeutic equipment, therapy exercises, and therapy methods. They may also provide training in clinic or facility protocols, and administrative procedures.

A physical therapy aide needs to have basic computer skills and should have some familiarity with medical terms to start as they may be managing patient medical records. They also need to have excellent communication and people skills, as they will be dealing with people both in person and over the phone. You need to be strong to be a physical therapy aide, since lifting and moving patients occurs frequently. Plenty of stamina, patience and a good understanding of the mechanics of the human body are also important.

Becoming a Physical Therapy Aide

While formal training may not be required to become a physical therapy aide, pursuing career training in a specialized program such as that offered at Southern California Health Institute (SOCHi) may help you to secure a position more quickly, as well as preparing you to sit for the MBLEX exam and certification in massage therapy. Training and certification will put you ahead of other candidates that may be competing for the same or similar positions.

PTA training incorporates medical massage training with physical therapy tools and techniques, providing students with the skills to use various types of physical therapy equipment, as well as how to use medical massage techniques to treat a number of back and limb disorders. With didactic (classroom) courses and clinical experience, a student is well qualified to apply for an entry-level position as a physical therapy aide.

Part of a steadily-growing profession that is rewarding on many levels, a PTA could be the position for you. Basic skills and a genuine desire to help others help themselves is all that’s required to step into this satisfying career.

For more information about PTA training program at Southern California Health Institute (SOCHi), please visit us here.


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