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What Is the Difference between a Physical Therapy Assistant and Physical Therapy Aide?


The question is, what is the difference between a physical therapy assistant and physical therapy aide? Even though the two careers may sound similar, the difference between a physical therapy assistant and the physical therapy aide is significant. The job duties vary considerably and so do the remuneration and education and licensure requirements. The only similarity is that the assistants and aides work in one and the same environment in cooperation with one another.

Difference Between a Physical Therapy Assistant and Physical Therapy Aide: Rehab Procedures

Physical therapy assistants can perform various rehabilitation procedures. They can instruct patients how to exercise and help them perform the different routines that they have devised alongside the physical therapist. They are trained to employ a variety of therapeutic methods for the purposes of rehabilitation. These include messages, mechanical traction and electric stimulation therapies. The assistants monitor the treatment and evaluate the outcomes. They prepare reports for the therapists so that the latter can make any changes and improvements to the rehabilitation programs of patients.

Physical therapy aides, on the other hand, do not perform any therapeutic procedures.  This is an area where we see the difference between a physical therapy assistant and physical therapy aide.. They are responsible for helping therapists and assistants do their job. Aides prepare the treatment area for the different patients in line with the instructions of therapists and assistants. They are responsible for keeping the area organized and clean during the actual treatment. Aides assist patients in getting to and out form the treatment area. They know how to operate wheelchairs and similar aids. Clerical tasks of aides include patient record keeping, answering phones, making appointments and ordering supplies.

The work responsibilities define the main difference between a physical therapy assistant and physical therapy aide. These create a difference in the educational requirements for the two jobs as well. In order to become a physical therapy assistant, you need to have an associate degree from an accredited program. You need to meet your state’s licensure requirements in order to obtain a license to practice your profession. Aides do not need to have any formal educational qualifications. A high school diploma is usually sufficient, even though more and more employers prefer to hire people with certification. Aides do not need licenses.

Difference between a Physical Therapy Assistant and Physical Therapy Aide: Salary

The difference between a physical therapy assistant and physical therapy aide is observed quite strongly when it comes to salary and overall remuneration. The median hourly wage of an assistant is $23.36 while the mean hourly wage of an aide is $12.01. This difference is reflected in the mean annual salaries as well. While an assistant earns a mean annual salary of $48,950, an aide earns mean annual remuneration of $24,990. It will not be a mistake to say that an assistant makes almost two times more than an aide, at present.

Now you know what the difference between a physical therapy assistant and the physical therapy aide is. One important thing which should be pointed out is that aides have the opportunity to advance in their career and to become physical therapy assistants. There are not special bridge programs, but you will be able to find a program that offers part time study. In this way, you will be able to work and study at the same time to obtain higher qualification, job position and salary. The difference between a physical therapy assistant and physical therapy aide comed down to job duties, qualification, and professional designation.