For most of us who have been to a physiotherapists office before, you have probably had a Physiotherapy Assistant help you with your treatment. They were there to help you while you are having your appointment or perhaps provide some education. They play a vital role in extended healthcare.
Due to the variety of tasks they perform and where they work, Physiotherapy Assistants go by a number of names. You may know them as Rehabilitation Aides or Assistants, Physiotherapy Aides or Physiotherapy Assistants. You may find them in physiotherapist offices, sports clinics, hospitals and medical clinics.
According to the Ontario Network of Internationally Trained Professionals, Physiotherapy Assistants serve a vital role in assisting Physiotherapists. They say, “A Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA) is a health care worker who helps teach clients to effectively cope with their limitations in movement, daily functioning and activity. A PTA works under the supervision of a licensed physiotherapist. The College of Physiotherapists of Ontario (CPO), the regulatory body, categorizes Physiotherapist Assistants as Support Personnel.”
Most noteworthy, they help and teach patients how to effectively cope and live with their limitations in movement.
Physiotherapy Assistants perform a wide variety of duties and tasks throughout the work day. And, these tasks may vary depending on where it is they are working. Working closely with the registered Physiotherapist they may perform some or all of the list below:
Because Physiotherapy Assistants require a lot of knowledge, specialized training is needed.
According to the Ontario Network of Internationally Trained Professionals, Physiotherapy Assistants need specialized training to perform their job. They say:
Though requirements may vary from one employer to another, candidates must always possess one of the following:
The following certificates are a must as well:
The ability to do handle several tasks at one time (multitasking) and strong communication and interpersonal skills are crucial. Examples of these skills are:
Other common requirements include:
Because this is a specialized, rewarding career, Physiotherapy Assistants tend to spend about 20 years in this field of work.
Physiotherapy Assistants have a variety of options where they can work upon graduation. Due to the training they receive, the role is well suited to multiple areas of healthcare. First of all, it’s important to know what job titles to look for when applying for work.
Physiotherapy Assistants are often referred to:
Therefore, now that we know the job titles, there is one major difference to be aware of. The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators suggests employers use the term “assistant” when some post-secondary studies in the field are required, as well as the term “aide” when the position requires “on-the job training” only.
With that said, let’s look at where to find work upon graduation as a Physiotherapy Assistant. Physiotherapy Assistants work in:
Lastly, knowing how much a Physiotherapy Assistant is paid is helpful. Like any job there are multiple factors which affect compensation like the employer, experience, level of responsibility and location. Because of the multiple factors, pay for the position may vary. Depending on where you live in Ontario (or end up working), pay can range anywhere from $25,000 to $42,000+ per year with the average full-time salary equal to $30,000 per year (source: payscale.com)
In conclusion, a career as a Physiotherapy Assistant is quite rewarding both financially and personally. While the path to becoming a Physiotherapist is a long one, the path to become a Physiotherapist Assistant is short. Within one year, you can go to school, train for the career, be working and helping people with their recovery.
If you are interested in learning more about the Physiotherapist Assistant program offered at Canadian College of Health, Science & Technology, check out our program.