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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Aides in Fort Smith, Arkansas

If you want to be a physical therapy aide, the Fort Smith, Arkansas area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 260 people work as physical therapy aides in Arkansas. This is expected to grow 28% to about 330 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for physical therapy aides, which sees this job pool growing by about 36.3% over the next eight years. 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.

Income for physical therapy aides is about $9 hourly or $18,730 yearly on average in Arkansas. Nationally, their income is about $11 hourly or $23,760 yearly. Incomes for physical therapy aides are not quite as good as in the overall category of Physical Therapy in Arkansas, and not quite as good as the overall Physical Therapy category nationally. People working as physical therapy aides can fill a number of jobs, such as: physical therapy assistant , physical therapist assistant , and restorative care technician.

The Fort Smith area is home to nine schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Fort Smith where you can get a degree as a physical therapy aide. The most common level of education for physical therapy aides is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Fort Smith include:

  • 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

Carl Albert State College - Poteau, OK

Carl Albert State College, 1507 S McKenna, Poteau, OK 74953-5208. Carl Albert State College is a small college located in Poteau, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,454 students. Carl Albert State 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: Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas
Fort Smith, Arkansas photo by Infrogmation

Fort Smith is located in Sebastian County, Arkansas. It has a population of over 84,716, which has grown by 5.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fort Smith, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fort Smith are priced at $151,400 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred one new homes were constructed in Fort Smith, down from two hundred ninety-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fort Smith are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is food, construction, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 17 minutes. More than 18.6% of Fort Smith residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fort Smith is 8.1%, which is greater than Arkansas's average of 6.9%.

The percentage of Fort Smith residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 68.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Mallalieu United Methodist Church, Loves Chapel Seventh Day Adventist Church and King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church are among the churches located in Fort Smith. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fort Smith is home to the Fort Smith Trolly Museum and the Fort Smith Inter-Faith Community Center as well as Riverfront Park and Kay Rodgers Park. Shopping centers in the area include Laville Shopping Center, Maybranch Shopping Center and Midland Mall Shopping Center. Visitors to Fort Smith can choose from Patel P L, Westark Inn Motel and Stonewall Jackson Inn for temporary stays in the area.