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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Aides in Chicago, Illinois

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for physical therapy aides in the Chicago, Illinois area. About 2,540 people are currently employed as physical therapy aides in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 32% to about 3,340 people employed. 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. Physical therapy aides generally , 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 $12 hourly or $26,140 yearly on average in Illinois and about $11 hourly or $23,760 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for physical therapy aides are not quite as good as in the overall category of Physical Therapy in Illinois, 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: rehabilitation helper, clinical rehabilitation aide, and physical therapist technician.

There are four schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a physical therapy aide, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. 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 Chicago 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

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Morton College - Cicero, IL

Morton College, 3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804-4398. Morton College is a small college located in Cicero, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,959 students. Morton College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

Coyne American Institute Inc - Chicago, IL

Coyne American Institute Inc, 330 North Green Street, Chicago, IL 60607-1300. Coyne American Institute Inc is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 840 students. Coyne American Institute Inc has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant.

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest - Gary, IN

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest, 1440 E 35th Ave, Gary, IN 46409-1499. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest is a medium sized college located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,701 students. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated fifteen 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: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.