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Physical Therapist Aides

Home >> Careers & Education

Physical Therapy Aide

Physical Therapist Aides


Schools and Education

What’s Needed:

  • Many physical therapist aides receive all the training they need to complete their tasks while on the job.
  • Completing a certificate program at a vocational school can give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs.

What you study:

Whether you learn how to be a physical therapist solely from on-the-job training or in a classroom environment you will study the following types of topics:

  • Physiology and Anatomy
  • Medical Terminology and Billing
  • Mobility and Exercise Therapy
  • Musculoskeletal Systems and Functions
  • Physical Ailments and Diseases
  • Patient Safety

What courses you’ll take

Below are examples of courses that you’ll likely take as a physical therapy aide student.

Course Studies Purpose
Introduction to Healthcare Introduces the healthcare system and its laws ethics business aspects and basics of patient care. Overviews common healthcare fields and jobs including physical therapy. Give students the overall healthcare context for their work as a PT Aide to help their later studies and on-the-job training.
Medical Terminology Teaches the building blocks of terminology used in the medical fields including roots prefixes and suffixes as well as commonly used vocabulary. Covers specific terminology for the human body’s structure functions and diseases as related to physical therapy. Pronunciation spelling and abbreviations are included. Enable students to communicate effectively with their physical therapy and medical industry colleagues.
Physical Therapy Aide Core knowledge and practices involved in being a PT Aide including: basic patient care and handling communication safety anatomy range of motion exercises ambulation and gait training preventing pressure sores transferring patients infection control and measuring vital signs. Also may cover history of physical therapy and related legal and ethics issues. Prepare students with the knowledge needed to begin work as an entry-level physical therapy aide.
Practicum or Externship Practice classroom knowledge through hands-on practical experience in a clinical facility. Work with patients physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. Reinforce classroom knowledge with practical experience in a clinical setting.


Video Overview

Introduces the work of a physical therapy aide. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.


Certifications and Licensing

No formal licensing is needed in order to become a physical therapist aide. Many individuals who work in this field receive all of the training that they need from the physical therapists for whom they work.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Physical therapist aides can work either full- or part-time schedules. Many aides work part time while attending school. For physical therapist aides who wish to continue their education in this field advancement opportunities are excellent. Becoming a physical therapist aide is a great way to begin a career as a physical therapist assistant or licensed physical therapist.


Recommended Websites

These are some of our favorite websites for finding information about a career as a physical therapist aide:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook: This essential handbook provides a wealth of statistical information about physical therapist aide salaries education and employment projections. Because this resource focuses on data it is important that individuals who wish to become physical therapist aides also visit websites that can offer a well-rounded view of this career.
  • The American Physical Therapy Association: The APTA is the leading organization for licensed physical therapists in the U.S. News about research in the field of physical therapy and professional advocacy activities are presented on the site. Prospective physical therapist aide students will find a wealth of information about college programs career prospects and the expectations for professionals in this field.
  • The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy: The FSBPT site provides a wide array of information about licensing regulation and training in the field of physical therapy. Resources are available both for students and experienced professionals in the field. Physical therapist aides can benefit from looking up job and volunteer opportunities on this site.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AK Anchorage $38630 $21K – $46K 50 0.03%
AL Auburn – Opelika $21020 $17K – $24K 60 0.12%
AL Birmingham – Hoover $24340 $17K – $36K 110 0.02%
AL Huntsville $22530 $17K – $30K 40 0.02%
AL Mobile $26560 $17K – $30K N/A N/A
AL Montgomery $21030 $17K – $26K 50 0.03%
AR Fayetteville – Springdale – Rogers $21020 $17K – $24K 30 0.02%
AR Fort Smith $23670 $20K – $42K 30 0.03%
AR Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway $23950 $20K – $32K 120 0.03%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $23700 $18K – $33K 510 0.03%
AZ Prescott $27120 $19K – $34K N/A N/A
AZ Tucson $25730 $21K – $35K 130 0.04%
CA Bakersfield – Delano $22330 $18K – $30K 120 0.04%
CA Chico $21600 $18K – $40K 80 0.12%
CA Fresno $23620 $18K – $34K 140 0.04%
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $25750 $19K – $36K 1460 0.04%
CA Merced $22710 $18K – $30K 70 0.12%
CA Modesto $25230 $20K – $41K 70 0.05%
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $28560 $21K – $42K 250 0.03%
CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $24140 $19K – $35K 290 0.10%
CA Redding $25670 $20K – $36K 60 0.10%
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $27910 $22K – $38K 470 0.04%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $25860 $21K – $36K 290 0.04%
CA Salinas $25560 $20K – $35K 70 0.04%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $23460 $19K – $35K 560 0.04%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $26640 $21K – $34K 260 0.03%
CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $27970 $22K – $45K 230 0.03%
CA San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles $22200 $18K – $37K 50 0.05%
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $28590 $20K – $44K 940 0.07%
CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta $28260 $20K – $37K 160 0.10%
CA Stockton $23330 $19K – $46K 60 0.03%
CA Vallejo – Fairfield $23700 $20K – $36K N/A N/A
CA Visalia – Porterville $20940 $18K – $28K 40 0.03%
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $29310 $25K – $39K 330 0.03%
CO Fort Collins – Loveland $26700 $21K – $36K 60 0.04%
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $25860 $21K – $36K 210 0.05%
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $27000 $21K – $36K 70 0.01%
CT New Haven $27050 $21K – $37K 90 0.03%
CT Norwich – New London $26740 $21K – $31K 60 0.04%
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $23340 $17K – $30K 720 0.03%
DE Wilmington (Metro Area) $20530 $16K – $34K 240 0.07%
FL Cape Coral – Fort Myers $26400 $21K – $30K 50 0.02%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $25900 $20K – $36K 200 0.03%
FL Gainesville $23440 $20K – $30K 100 0.09%
FL Jacksonville $24890 $20K – $34K 240 0.04%
FL Lakeland – Winter Haven $26530 $21K – $35K 50 0.02%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $22120 $17K – $29K 410 0.04%
FL Naples – Marco Island $22770 $20K – $31K 40 0.04%
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $23170 $20K – $33K 70 0.03%
FL Ocala $22560 $19K – $30K 60 0.07%
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $23330 $20K – $30K 180 0.02%
FL Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville $22710 $17K – $29K 90 0.05%
FL Pensacola – Ferry Pass – Brent $22240 $20K – $27K 50 0.03%
FL Port St. Lucie $25510 $20K – $34K 30 0.03%
FL Sebastian – Vero Beach $26400 $19K – $32K 30 0.07%
FL Tallahassee $20510 $17K – $24K 90 0.06%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $23740 $20K – $30K 250 0.02%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $30070 $24K – $54K 150 0.03%
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $21510 $16K – $30K 280 0.01%
GA Augusta – Richmond County $21720 $16K – $29K 90 0.04%
GA Columbus $23110 $19K – $31K 40 0.04%
GA Macon $24200 $17K – $30K 110 0.12%
GA Savannah $20220 $16K – $24K 100 0.07%
GA Valdosta $18880 $16K – $24K N/A N/A
HI Honolulu $25590 $16K – $44K 80 0.02%
IA Davenport – Moline – Rock Island $24730 $18K – $30K 40 0.02%
IA Des Moines – West Des Moines $22060 $17K – $30K N/A N/A
IA Dubuque $22500 $17K – $34K 30 0.06%
ID Boise City – Nampa $24040 $17K – $34K 100 0.04%
ID Idaho Falls $20340 $16K – $24K 40 0.07%
ID Lewiston $23290 $17K – $29K 40 0.16%
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $23240 $19K – $31K 1550 0.04%
IL Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area) $24120 $20K – $30K N/A N/A
IL Rockford $22080 $18K – $30K 50 0.04%
IN Evansville $27810 $18K – $64K 110 0.07%
IN Gary (Metro Area) $25420 $19K – $52K 120 0.05%
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $21660 $17K – $31K N/A N/A
KS Topeka $27390 $21K – $46K 40 0.03%
KS Wichita $24240 $17K – $30K 60 0.02%
KY Lexington – Fayette $19460 $16K – $31K 220 0.09%
KY Louisville – Jefferson County $24720 $17K – $51K 200 0.03%
LA Alexandria $19950 $16K – $27K 40 0.07%
LA Baton Rouge $20400 $16K – $28K 320 0.09%
LA Houma – Bayou Cane – Thibodaux $22240 $17K – $30K N/A N/A
LA Lafayette $21690 $16K – $30K 140 0.09%
LA Lake Charles $18880 $16K – $23K 50 0.05%
LA Monroe $22300 $17K – $30K 40 0.05%
LA New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner $23280 $17K – $30K 240 0.05%
LA Shreveport – Bossier City $22690 $16K – $43K 160 0.09%
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $27950 $25K – $35K 500 0.03%
MA Brockton – Bridgewater – Easton (Metro Area) $30280 $22K – $37K 50 0.06%
MA Lowell – Billerica – Chelmsford (Metro Area) $27100 $20K – $37K 70 0.06%
MA Peabody (Metro Area) $26690 $22K – $37K 30 0.03%
MA Springfield $25190 $20K – $41K 130 0.04%
MA Worcester $29730 $22K – $68K 90 0.04%
MD Baltimore – Towson $20190 $16K – $34K 890 0.07%
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $23780 $17K – $32K 340 0.06%
MD Salisbury $26230 $21K – $36K 30 0.06%
MI Detroit – Livonia – Dearborn (Metro Area) $24670 $17K – $34K 90 0.01%
MI Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area) $24980 $20K – $33K 350 0.03%
MN Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington $27670 $22K – $36K 120 0.01%
MO Cape Girardeau – Jackson $23620 $17K – $34K 40 0.11%
MO Kansas City $26380 $17K – $37K 170 0.02%
MO St. Louis $19650 $16K – $33K 460 0.04%
MS Gulfport – Biloxi $21700 $17K – $28K 40 0.04%
MS Jackson $23370 $16K – $43K N/A N/A
MT Missoula $24810 $17K – $52K 40 0.07%
NC Asheville $24450 $20K – $35K 50 0.03%
NC Charlotte – Gastonia – Rock Hill $22470 $17K – $33K 120 0.01%
NC Durham – Chapel Hill $24620 $17K – $32K 70 0.02%
NC Fayetteville $23150 $18K – $32K 50 0.04%
NC Greensboro – High Point $23130 $20K – $29K 50 0.01%
NC Raleigh – Cary $24850 $20K – $30K 110 0.02%
NC Wilmington $22550 $19K – $30K 30 0.02%
NC Winston – Salem $25280 $20K – $30K 80 0.04%
ND Bismarck $19640 $16K – $33K 50 0.07%
NE Lincoln $18630 $16K – $28K 160 0.10%
NE Omaha – Council Bluffs $21980 $19K – $28K 300 0.07%
NJ Atlantic City – Hammonton $27770 $22K – $36K 40 0.03%
NJ Camden (Metro Area) $26340 $21K – $36K 310 0.06%
NJ Edison – New Brunswick (Metro Area) $23810 $18K – $34K 1180 0.12%
NJ Newark – Union (Metro Area) $26820 $21K – $35K 1000 0.10%
NJ Trenton – Ewing $24260 $18K – $33K 190 0.09%
NM Albuquerque $27060 $22K – $35K 160 0.04%
NV Las Vegas – Paradise $30880 $22K – $37K 230 0.03%
NY Albany – Schenectady – Troy $23240 $17K – $30K 90 0.02%
NY Buffalo – Niagara Falls $28630 $22K – $40K 110 0.02%
NY Nassau – Suffolk (Metro Area) $26130 $18K – $40K 900 0.07%
NY New York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area) $25520 $18K – $36K 2050 0.04%
NY Poughkeepsie – Newburgh – Middletown $26490 $17K – $36K 100 0.04%
NY Rochester $24810 $17K – $35K 70 0.01%
NY Syracuse $23970 $17K – $37K 110 0.04%
NY Utica – Rome $29190 $21K – $38K 110 0.09%
OH Akron $22060 $18K – $29K 50 0.02%
OH Canton – Massillon $25790 $18K – $34K 40 0.03%
OH Cincinnati – Middletown $25480 $19K – $35K 200 0.02%
OH Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor $26970 $20K – $50K 190 0.02%
OH Columbus $22720 $17K – $31K 90 0.01%
OH Dayton $26090 $21K – $33K 90 0.03%
OH Youngstown – Warren – Boardman $24310 $17K – $37K 110 0.05%
OK Lawton $18440 $16K – $25K 30 0.08%
OK Oklahoma City $20720 $16K – $30K 330 0.06%
OK Tulsa $21340 $16K – $40K 90 0.02%
OR Bend $24440 $20K – $32K 50 0.09%
OR Medford $23120 $19K – $30K 40 0.05%
OR Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro $27880 $23K – $36K 300 0.03%
OR Salem $26700 $21K – $31K 70 0.05%
PA Allentown – Bethlehem – Easton $26670 $20K – $37K 80 0.02%
PA Harrisburg – Carlisle $28160 $22K – $36K 60 0.02%
PA Lancaster $26490 $21K – $34K 100 0.04%
PA Philadelphia (Metro Area) $27060 $17K – $37K 1020 0.06%
PA Pittsburgh $23960 $20K – $37K 500 0.04%
PA Reading $35200 $26K – $58K 40 0.03%
PA Scranton – Wilkes – Barre $26430 $17K – $37K N/A N/A
PA York – Hanover $27820 $21K – $36K 80 0.05%
PR San Juan – Caguas – Guaynabo $29890 $17K – $38K 40 0.01%
RI Providence – Fall River – Warwick $23210 $20K – $30K 220 0.04%
SC Charleston – North Charleston – Summerville $27130 $17K – $33K 190 0.07%
SC Columbia $20980 $17K – $31K 150 0.05%
SC Greenville – Mauldin – Easley $19800 $16K – $56K N/A N/A
TN Chattanooga $22100 $17K – $30K 90 0.04%
TN Johnson City $20770 $17K – $32K 50 0.06%
TN Kingsport – Bristol – Bristol $25150 $20K – $31K 50 0.05%
TN Knoxville $22130 $17K – $29K 200 0.06%
TN Memphis $22340 $17K – $30K 260 0.04%
TN Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin $21460 $17K – $29K 200 0.03%
TX Abilene $18030 $16K – $28K N/A N/A
TX Amarillo $18940 $16K – $24K 100 0.09%
TX Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos $21550 $16K – $30K 290 0.04%
TX Beaumont – Port Arthur $20390 $16K – $26K 80 0.05%
TX Brownsville – Harlingen $20910 $16K – $78K 100 0.08%
TX College Station – Bryan $19120 $16K – $24K 60 0.06%
TX Corpus Christi $19050 $16K – $28K 190 0.10%
TX Dallas – Plano – Irving (Metro Area) $25730 $18K – $36K 1000 0.05%
TX El Paso $21110 $16K – $63K 150 0.06%
TX Fort Worth – Arlington (Metro Area) $22600 $18K – $36K 380 0.04%
TX Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown $22040 $17K – $30K 510 0.02%
TX Laredo $18990 $16K – $24K 40 0.04%
TX Longview $22190 $20K – $25K 40 0.05%
TX Lubbock $19130 $16K – $28K 130 0.10%
TX McAllen – Edinburg – Mission $19440 $16K – $27K 190 0.08%
TX Midland $20620 $16K – $24K 30 0.04%
TX Odessa $21910 $17K – $30K N/A N/A
TX San Angelo $18900 $16K – $29K 60 0.14%
TX San Antonio – New Braunfels $19030 $16K – $30K 360 0.04%
TX Sherman – Denison $20250 $16K – $28K 30 0.08%
TX Tyler $23190 $17K – $31K 70 0.08%
TX Victoria $20940 $16K – $29K 40 0.08%
TX Waco $21690 $16K – $30K N/A N/A
TX Wichita Falls $18220 $16K – $24K 90 0.16%
UT Ogden – Clearfield $19280 $16K – $24K 190 0.10%
UT Provo – Orem $18630 $16K – $23K 240 0.13%
UT Salt Lake City $21380 $17K – $27K 420 0.07%
UT St. George $21890 $18K – $25K 50 0.11%
VA Charlottesville $21100 $17K – $30K N/A N/A
VA Danville $21040 $17K – $27K 40 0.10%
VA Lynchburg $22760 $18K – $31K 40 0.04%
VA Richmond $21640 $17K – $27K 250 0.04%
VA Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News $21460 $17K – $25K 410 0.06%
WA Bellingham $26360 $20K – $36K 50 0.06%
WA Kennewick – Pasco – Richland $24130 $20K – $29K 50 0.05%
WA Mount Vernon – Anacortes $31200 $25K – $37K 30 0.07%
WA Olympia $25790 $21K – $30K 90 0.10%
WA Seattle – Bellevue – Everett (Metro Area) $27920 $21K – $37K 260 0.02%
WA Spokane $22430 $19K – $30K 70 0.04%
WA Tacoma (Metro Area) $30370 $21K – $38K 40 0.01%
WA Yakima $27480 $24K – $36K 40 0.05%
WI Eau Claire $27990 $22K – $54K 30 0.04%
WI Madison $28870 $22K – $46K 30 0.01%
WI Milwaukee – Waukesha – West Allis $21450 $16K – $38K 150 0.02%
WV Huntington – Ashland $22090 $16K – $51K 70 0.06%

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