Online Colleges for Physical Therapy Assisting

As the population ages and faces the physical limitations and injuries that come with age, physical therapists will be in high demand. Two fields of interest to those who don't want to invest the time and money to become an actual physical therapist include becoming a physical therapy aide or a physical therapy assistant. These two fields are quite different: a physical therapy aide does administrative or clerical work, room prep and other related tasks while a physical therapy assistant actually works with patients under the guidance of a physical therapist.

Online Physical Therapy Programs

Physical therapy aides are required to hold a high school diploma and are often trained on the job. Physical therapy assistants are required by most states to hold an associate degree and typically to be licensed. Training for physical therapy assistants is both academic and hands-on, which is why it can be hard to find online physical therapy degrees. There are, however, diplomas available online for those who wish to train to be a physical therapy aide. These types of programs can provide you with knowledge about cold versus heat therapy, medical terminology, therapy modalities, use of an ultrasound machine, and much more. While a diploma is not required for those who want to become a physical therapy aide, it could be advantageous to those who live near a competitive job market. See online health colleges for additional career options.

Job Outlook for Physical Therapy Careers

Opportunities for both physical therapy aides and assistants are projected to grow during the 2008-2018 decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is forecast to be 36 percent for the physical therapy aide occupation and 33 percent for the physical therapy assisting occupation. These projections, if true, could result in the addition of more than 16,000 and 21,000 open positions in each field, respectively. Physical therapy aides earned mean annual wages of $25,000, according to the BLS while physical therapy assistants nearly doubled that--with mean earned wages of $49,810, according to 2010 BLS data. Other fields related to being a physical therapy aide or assistant include medical assisting, occupational therapy assisting, pharmacy tech and more. Physical therapists, who typically need doctoral-level training, earned mean annual wages of $77,990. Other related occupations to this field include chiropractic care, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, speech-language pathology and more, according to the BLS.