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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Aides in Birmingham, Alabama

If you want to be a physical therapy aide, the Birmingham, Alabama area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 590 working physical therapy aides in Alabama; this should grow by 35% to about 790 working physical therapy aides in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for physical therapy aides are expected to grow by about 36.3%. In general, physical therapy aides , under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations.

A person working as a physical therapy aide can expect to earn about $9 per hour or $19,650 annually on average in Alabama and about $11 per hour or $23,760 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Physical therapy aides earn less than people working in the category of Physical Therapy generally in Alabama and less than people in the Physical Therapy category nationally. People working as physical therapy aides can fill a number of jobs, such as: physical therapy technician, rehabilitation technician, and restorative aide .

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a physical therapy aide. Physical therapy aides usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a physical therapy aide if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Physical Therapy Aide

Physical Therapy Aide video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, physical therapy aides, under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. They also these duties include preparing the patient and the treatment area.

Physical therapy aides clean and organize work areas and disinfect apparatus after treatment. They also instruct, motivate, safeguard and assist patients practicing exercises and functional efforts, under direction of medical staff. Equally important, physical therapy aides have to secure patients into or onto therapy apparatus. They are often called upon to change linens. They are expected to arrange treatment supplies to keep them in order. Finally, physical therapy aides help clients to dress and put on and remove supportive devices, such as braces and slings.

Every day, physical therapy aides are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for physical therapy aides to observe patients during treatment to compile and evaluate data on patients' responses and progress, and report to physical therapist. They are often called upon to talk with physical therapy staff or others to consider and evaluate patient data for planning and coordinating treatment. They also record treatment given and apparatus used. They are sometimes expected to transport clients to and from treatment areas, using wheelchairs or providing standing support. Somewhat less frequently, physical therapy aides are also expected to administer active and passive manual therapeutic exercises and heat, light or electrical modality treatments, such as ultrasound.

They also have to be able to measure patient's range-of-joint motion and vital signs to establish effects of treatments or for patient evaluations And finally, they sometimes have to instruct, motivate, safeguard and assist patients practicing exercises and functional efforts, under direction of medical staff.

Like many other jobs, physical therapy aides must have a strong concern for others and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Massage Therapist. Massage customers for hygienic or remedial purposes.
  • Physical Therapy Assistant. Assist physical therapists in providing physical therapy treatments and procedures. May, in accordance with State laws, assist in the development of treatment plans, carry out routine functions, document the progress of treatment, and modify specific treatments in accordance with patient status and within the scope of treatment plans established by a physical therapist. Generally requires formal training.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Physical Therapy Aide Training

Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL

Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certification in Sports Medicine: The ABP in collaboration with the American Boards of Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Emergency Medicine offers a certificate of added qualifications in sports medicine.

For more information, see the American Board of Pediatrics website.

AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.