“Physical therapist aides and assistants perform tasks and some physical therapy procedures that their supervising physical therapist selects. They work with the physical therapist to provide patients with services necessary to limit or prevent lasting physical disabilities, relieve pain, and improve mobility caused by disease or injury. Under a physical therapists supervision and direction, a physical therapist assistant often perform procedures such as massages, exercises, paraffin baths, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound.
The physical therapy aide’s help patients move to and from treatment areas, keep the physical therapy areas organized and clean, order necessary supplies, and perform some clerical tasks. The opportunities for career advancement in physical therapy for assistants are extremely good, with many choosing to continue their education to become physical therapists. The opportunities for career advancement in physical therapy for physical therapy aids include going back to school to become a physical therapist assistant or physical therapist.
A physical therapist provides patients with services that limit, restore or prevent permanent physical disabilities caused by disabling diseases, and conditions, or injury due to accidents. These include patients with cerebral palsy, arthritis, fractures, back pain, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and head injuries. They help improve the patient’s mobility, restore function, and relieve pain and suffering. For people considering this as a career, there are many opportunities for career advancement in physical therapy.
Treatment by a physical therapist often includes therapy and exercise for patients who lack endurance, strength and flexibility, resulting from partial or complete immobilization for any length of time. They work with the patients to build up their muscles, improve strength, flexibility, coordination, and range of motion.
Physical therapists show patients how to use adaptive and assistive devices including wheelchairs and prostheses. Because they often practice and consult with many other professionals such as occupational therapists, nurses, speech pathologists, and physicians, there are many opportunities for career advancement in physical therapy, such as working as a team member in a healthcare clinic or accepting a position in private healthcare agencies. There are also opportunities for career advancement in physical therapy for those that want to specialize in areas such as geriatrics, neurology, pediatrics, cardiopulmonary, or sports medicine physical therapy.
The job outlook and opportunities for career advancement in physical therapy looks extremely promising. They expect the employment for physical therapists to continue to increase faster than many other occupations through the year 2014. This is due in part to the elderly population living longer, physical therapists reaching retirement age, and new medical technology, which increases the survival percentage of trauma victims, newborns with birth defects, and others with disabling conditions.”