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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapy Aides in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be a physical therapy aide, the Seattle, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,120 working physical therapy aides in Washington; this should grow by 34% to 1,490 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%. 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.

Physical therapy aides earn approximately $11 hourly or $24,460 per year on average in Washington. Nationally they average about $11 hourly or $23,760 per year. Physical therapy aides earn less than people working in the category of Physical Therapy generally in Washington and less than people in the Physical Therapy category nationally. People working as physical therapy aides can fill a number of jobs, such as: rehabilitation helper, physical therapy aide , and occupational therapy aide.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a physical therapy aide. Given that the most common education level 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 Seattle 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

Olympic College - Bremerton, WA

Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337-1699. Olympic College is a medium sized college located in Bremerton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,596 students. Olympic College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated seven students in 2008.

Pima Medical Institute - Seattle, WA

Pima Medical Institute, 9709 Third Ave NE Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98115. Pima Medical Institute is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 432 students. Pima Medical Institute has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant.

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapist Assistant which graduated twenty-eight 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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.