Career Advice on How to Become a Physical Therapist Aide

General Career Information

There is a major difference between a physical therapist aide and a physical therapist assistant. While they may sound remarkably similar, there are some very significant differences. For one, a physical therapist assistant earns about twice as much as a physical therapist aide. With such a whopping difference in pay, one would expect that a physical therapist assistant would have much more education. But the fact of the matter is that a physical therapist assistant usually only holds an Associate’s Degree. Considering this vast difference in pay for performing somewhat similar tasks, the motivation for those interested in the field to consider an Associate’s Degree should be high. Anyone who is in the middle of a job search or career planning should factor in this basic fact and serious difference in pay.

Career Facts:

One of the key differences between the physical therapist aide and the physical therapist assistant is that since the physical therapist aide is not licensed, where as the physical therapist assistant is licensed, the aide cannot perform all the same tasks. However, the physical therapist aide can help patients in a variety of other ways, ranging from cleaning and organizing to helping move patients. In a word, the work is less hands on than the physical therapist assistant.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Excellent:

The rate of growth for the career of physical therapist aide is expected to be about twenty-four percent. This is much lower than the thirty-two percent expected for physical therapist assistants, but still strong in its own right. This is due in part to the aging of the population and the even decreasing health of population of the United States.
By 2016, there are expected to be about 58,000 physical therapist aides in the United States alone.
Job Outlook is Excellent

A Day in The Life:

Most physical therapist aide find that their days are spent under the direction of a physical therapist and physical therapist assistants. While many of the tasks that they perform are not the same as a physical therapist assistant, there is some overlapping. They can assist in moving patients, for example and other task. In general, their days are spent more in a “helper capacity” than anything else.

Average Salary:

The salary for physical therapist aides is, on average, about $22,000 per year. The top ten percent earns about $32,000. These earnings are far below those of physical therapist assistants, who average about $41,000. Thus those who are interested in this field might wish to seriously consider the benefits of an Associate’s Degree. As a physical therapist assistant, one not only earns roughly twice as much, but is far more hands on in the treatment of patients.

$22k - $32k


Career Training and Qualifications:

Usually physical therapist aides are not licensed and there is little in the way of education required. However, many physical therapist aides do move on to become physical therapist assistants.
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