These workers assist physical therapists in providing services that improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. Physical therapist assistants perform a variety of tasks under the direction and supervision of physical therapists, including exercises, massages, electrical stimulation, paraffin baths, hot and cold packs, traction, and ultrasound. Physical therapist assistants record the patient’s responses to treatment and report the outcome of each treatment to the physical therapist. Physical therapist aides usually are responsible for keeping the treatment area clean and organized, and preparing for each patient’s therapy. The duties of aides include some clerical tasks, such as ordering supplies, answering the phone, and filling out insurance forms and other paperwork. Physical therapist assistants typically have an AA degree, while physical therapist aides need a high school diploma.

Job Prospects: Much better than average, reflecting the growing number of individuals with disabilities or limited function in need of therapy.

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