Physical therapy aide is a career that many who work as, or study as a physical therapy assistant may become familiar with. The duties of that PT aide on paper can appear very similar to that of the Assistant. The aide is there to assist in the therapy setting, and contribute to a more productive physical therapy environment.
What is the biggest different between a Physical therapy aide, and a physical therapy assistant?
The main difference you will find between the 2 similar yet different careers, is the educational requirements that are needed to work in each field. A PT assistant is a licensed health professional within their state of employment, which requires an individual to obtain an associates degree before a license to work is possible. The Career path of an aide does not require any formal education, and much of their skill set is learned on the job. The requirement for credentials, license and education bump the pay scale for a physical therapy assistant much higher than that of an aide, it can often times be nearly double the annual wages.
Since a physical therapy aide does not require an academic program to be completed, they go through a process which would relies on them being trained on the job. They are often delegated duties such as cleaning and preparing treatment areas for patients. Other duties can include transporting patients to treatment rooms, clerical tasks, stocking medical supplies, and may assist with patient records. Because the aide is not a licensed professional, they do not perform clinical tasks that a Licensed PTA would as part of their job, which is the largest difference between the 2 careers.
Room for advancement? Aides have the ability to work in the field of their future degree while they attempt to advance their academic studies as either a PT, or a PTA. Their connections, and experience once the upgraded degree is completed can be a beneficial component when looking for jobs. Since they are not licensed professionals, it is recommended that they upgrade due to the low salary they will receive as an PT aide.
Salary: As mentioned above the salary is not the highest, the average generally being around $24 000 per year for a PT aide. this is close to 50% or half of what a physical therapy assistant makes on a yearly basis. Some aides are able to earn over $30 000 a year, but the majority earn between $19 000 – $29 000 a year.
Working as a physical therapy aide can help an individual gain a foot in the door to the rehabilitation industry. If you are looking for a foot in the door, this may be a great avenue to do so. It is recommended that you use this position as merely a stepping stone to a more established career, one which may be a physical therapy assistant.