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Details for Physical Therapist Aides


Under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing the patient and the treatment area.


  • Clean and organize work area and disinfect equipment after treatment.
  • Observe patients during treatment to compile and evaluate data on patients' responses and progress, and report to physical therapist.
  • Instruct, motivate, safeguard and assist patients practicing exercises and functional activities, under direction of medical staff.
  • Secure patients into or onto therapy equipment.
  • Transport patients to and from treatment areas, using wheelchairs or providing standing support.
  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying, and coordinating treatment.
  • Record treatment given and equipment used.
  • Perform clerical duties, such as taking inventory, ordering supplies, answering telephone, taking messages, and filling out forms.
  • Maintain equipment and furniture to keep it in good working condition, including performing the assembly and disassembly of equipment and accessories.
  • Administer active and passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, and heat, light, sound, water, or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.
  • Change linens, such as bed sheets and pillow cases.
  • Arrange treatment supplies to keep them in order.
  • Assist patients to dress, undress, and put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces, splints, and slings.
  • Measure patient's range-of-joint motion, body parts, and vital signs to determine effects of treatments or for patient evaluations.
  • Train patients to use orthopedic braces, prostheses or supportive devices.
  • Fit patients for orthopedic braces, prostheses, or supportive devices, adjusting fit as needed.
  • Participate in patient care tasks, such as assisting with passing food trays, feeding residents, or bathing residents on bed rest.
  • Administer traction to relieve neck and back pain, using intermittent and static traction equipment.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Related Careers

  • Athletic Trainers
  • Child, Family, and School Social Workers
  • Physical Therapists
  • Recreational Therapists
  • Social and Human Service Assistants
Wages for this career
America's Career InfoNet