Rehab Aide: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Rehabilitation aides assist a physical therapy practice in a non-clinical capacity. They are responsible for assisting immobile patients and performing clerical and physical tasks to reduce the workload of the practice.

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Rehab Aide Job Description

Rehabilitation aides, working under the direct supervision of a physical therapist or assistant, assist in the productive operation of a physical therapy practice. Aides often maintain the treatment area and prep therapy sessions, aiding in the transport of immobile patients. Aides, unlike rehabilitation assistants in most states, are not licensed, and thus do not perform clinical tasks that require licensing as a therapist or assistant.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

Physical therapy aides face a great deal of competition for positions, due to a large number of qualified candidates. Job opportunities are most available in hospitals and places with a large number of elderly clients. There is also a need for aides in rural areas, as many physical therapy practitioners tend to cluster in highly-populated areas.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wages of physical therapist aides were $23,880 in May of 2012 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also predicted that the job growth for physical therapists aides and assistants will be rapid from 2010-2020, increasing at the faster-than-average rate of 43%.

Duties of Rehab Aides

Aides are often required to perform clerical tasks, such as completing necessary paperwork and dealing with clients over the phone. They may also assist the practice in a variety of technical, non-clinical capacities, including treatment setups and routine patient care tasks, such as applying heat packs.

Aides may assist the therapist in the movement and transfer of patients with mobility impairments, and must be trained in proper methods of body mechanics for patient assistance. This may include transferring patients from beds to wheelchairs and shuttling them to areas in the hospital or clinical practice. Aides may also maintain and clean medical equipment, interact with staff and patients, and occasionally cover the reception desk.

Rehab Aide Requirements

Aides are typically required by employers to hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. Aides are trained by employers on the job, and do not require licensure, unlike assistants or clinical therapists. Rehabilitation aides should be extremely organized, preferably with clerical or clinical experience. They must be strong communicators and team-oriented. A degree of physical strength is necessary, as the job requires the lifting and moving of immobile patients.

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