This article provides an overview of rehab therapy assistant training and job description including physical therapy, occupation therapy, speech therapy and other areas of practice. The occupation of a rehab therapy assistant is one that is demanding yet immensely rewarding. Individuals qualified in this field have an essential role to play in helping people with various physical or mental conditions regain and maintain a certain standard of living. There are openings available in various healthcare sectors, from hospitals to pediatric and geriatric care homes.
Rehab Therapy Assistant Training and Education
To work as a rehab therapy assistant, it is important to first of all undertake the right level of education. This can involve a two year associate degree or a single year certificate program. There are now many colleges and schools of allied health sciences that offer training relating to rehabilitation therapy. It is important to choose a certified program to be placed in a desirable position when it comes to finding employment. In most cases it is required that rehab therapy assistants sit for and pass a national certification exam. Relevant courses may include:
- Psycho-Social Aspects of Disability
- Medical and Functional Aspects of Disability
- Computer Technology in Rehabilitation
- Clinical Rotations (Practicum)
Depending upon training and the type of position chosen, a rehab therapy assistant may be called upon to help disabled patients regain their social, mental and physical aptitude by initiating therapeutic exercises, activities, and practices. Most therapy assistants would also be required to document patients’ progress, as well as assisting in the development and implementation of new techniques, and provide help with patient screening prior to a treatment plan being created.
Rehabilitation Therapist Careers
Therapists need to have a strong mind and physical ability. They can be asked to assist physically handicapped individuals carry out every day activities such as going to the bathroom or getting out of bed. It is important that all professionals working in rehabilitation care are able to cope with the emotional disturbance that can often be a part of the job. Other areas in rehabilitation includes occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and other areas.
Most rehabilitation therapy assistants would work alongside senior therapists to help in implementing a high quality service. There is the possibility of gaining employment in the field of physical therapy, speech pathology, and occupational therapy. The role can often be challenging, though is fulfilling when goals and targets are achieved in terms of patient progress and development.
Qualified candidates are able to find desirable roles under the supervision of experienced therapists in settings such as community care centers, mental heath facilities, acute care rehabilitation centers, hospitals, health agencies, and even the prison service. Other areas of employment include:
- Physiotherapy Clinics
- Long-term Care Facilities
- Sports Medicine Clinics
- Health Care Clinics
- Public Health Services
- Clinics offering Chiropractic, Homeopathic, and Naturopathic Services
- Facilities Offering Prosthetic Services
There is the possibility of either part or full time placements that are temporary or permanent in nature. A rehab therapy assistant can also be called upon to travel extensively, this is because patient care may be required to be given in the home as opposed to at a designated healthcare facility.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The number of vacancies now available for rehabilitation therapy assistants is at an all time record level. Unfortunately, modern life has resulted in situations were mental and physical ailments occur in a greater numbers throughout the population. As the nation develops a more elderly demographic, the need for professional rehab therapists and assistants will continue to increase. Some levels of income for various therapy assistant pay as follows on average depending on the position and location:
- Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant – $53,000
- Rehab Technician – $23,000
- Certified Physical Therapy Assistant – $51,000
- Psychiatric Technician – $29,000
Apart from the mental satisfaction on offer through helping those people most in need, the job is also one that is financially attractive. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of the end of 2008, the median starting salary for rehabilitation therapy assistants was $23,400, though the figure depends in part on the area of specialization pursued in the rehab therapy assistant training program.