Becoming a physical therapy aide entails a great deal of work both physically and emotionally. Physical therapy assistants work with patients who are experiencing muscle pain or other problems that prevent them from performing the activities they need to live their lives normally. Physical therapy aids can include physical therapists, exercise instructors, nurses and even physicians. There are several different kinds of PTAs including chiropractors and occupational therapists.
Many physical therapy aides work directly under the supervision of physical therapists. Working directly with physical therapists can require both education and on-site training. Physical therapy assistants are typically trained by other therapists or other direct supervisors within the clinic and have at least a high school degree. While working directly under another therapist can be extremely demanding, it is also one of the most rewarding positions in the field.
A physical therapy aide is able to assist physical therapy therapists with a wide variety of tasks. One of the most common tasks is to hold patients upright while the therapist works on their leg muscles. They may also help patients bathe or remove dressings from minor wounds. Physical therapy patients are usually instructed to rest after their session, but sometimes they are encouraged to perform some type of exercise. This helps to stimulate the injured area and promote healing.
In order to become a successful physical therapy assistant, it is necessary to receive formal training. Certification is often required by state licensing agencies. Often, the certification process takes several months as it requires a background investigation, drug testing, and final written exams. The best way to prepare for a physical therapist exam is to take a number of practice tests, which are often given by private practice physicians and colleges. Physical therapist assistants must pass these tests in order to be certified.
Working directly with physical therapists can be extremely challenging. It is important that an individual not only have the skills needed to assist their patients, but that they also have patience, compassion, and the ability to work under stress. Physical therapists will often assign one patient to a particular therapist, but occasionally they will assign more than one. Regardless of how many patients the physical therapist has worked under them, there is a greater risk of a patient experiencing pain during their session if they do not work with a competent Physical Therapy Aide.
In some situations, a Physical Therapy Aide is hired by the primary physician who is treating the patient. However, in other situations, Physical Therapy Aide is employed by the clinic where the patient is receiving treatment. Regardless of where a person chooses to work, there are a number of great benefits to becoming a Physical Therapy Aide.