Home page

Physical Therapist Aides

At a Glance

  • Are supervised by physical therapy staff
  • Work with patients, doctors, assistants, and aides
  • Have a high level of social interaction
  • Usually work 40 hours a week
  • Most train on the job

Career summary

Physical therapist aides care for patients recovering from injuries or disease. They work under the supervision of a physical therapist.

Physical therapy aides usually do tasks that are indirectly related to patient care. For example, they set up and clean treatment areas. They organize and clean equipment. They maintain equipment and furniture to keep it in good working condition.

They also help patients move to or from a therapy area. For example, they may push them in a wheelchair or assist them in walking. They help patients in dressing or undressing, and putting on and removing supportive devices. They also help position and secure patients to therapy equipment.

Physical therapist aides who work in hospitals change bed linens. They help feed patients, and bathe patients on bed rest.

Physical therapy aides also do clerical tasks. They answer phones, order supplies, and fill out insurance forms. Sometimes they record treatment details in patients' charts.

In some states, physical therapist aides may teach and assist patients with exercises to help improve functioning and mobility. They may also provide treatments such as light, sound, water, or electrical modalities. Aides record treatment given and equipment used. They may accompany assistants when they report patients' responses to physical therapists.

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to physical therapist aides.

Common work activities

Physical therapist aides perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, physical therapist aides:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Physical therapist aides frequently:

It is important for physical therapist aides to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for physical therapist aides to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Physical therapist aides need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a physical therapist aide, you typically need to:

Education after high school

No formal training is required beyond high school.

Work experience

Experience helping and working with people is good preparation for this occupation.

On-the-job training

Most physical therapist aides learn their skills on the job from experienced workers. You may spend up to one month in training. During training, you learn how to:

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate. You should consider taking Algebra and Geometry as your math courses and Chemistry and Physics as your science courses.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers prefer applicants who have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition, employers look for applicants who have good interpersonal skills and a desire to help people in need.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.

Physical therapist aides (SOC 31-2022)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $11.70 $12.10 $13.62 $15.79 $18.18
Monthly $2,028 $2,097 $2,360 $2,736 $3,151
Yearly $24,340 $25,160 $28,330 $32,840 $37,810
    Bellingham Hourly $11.93 $12.00 $12.13 $12.50 $12.85
Monthly $2,067 $2,080 $2,102 $2,166 $2,227
Yearly $24,811 $24,964 $25,218 $25,997 $26,727
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $10.50 $11.51 $13.28 $15.01 $16.12
Monthly $1,820 $1,995 $2,301 $2,601 $2,794
Yearly $21,831 $23,935 $27,629 $31,213 $33,533
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $12.37 $13.12 $14.17 $15.20 $15.98
Monthly $2,144 $2,274 $2,456 $2,634 $2,769
Yearly $25,730 $27,277 $29,466 $31,621 $33,231
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $12.43 $13.38 $15.70 $17.60 $18.74
Monthly $2,154 $2,319 $2,721 $3,050 $3,248
Yearly $25,839 $27,826 $32,654 $36,607 $38,979
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $12.16 $12.63 $13.94 $16.05 $18.77
Monthly $2,107 $2,189 $2,416 $2,781 $3,253
Yearly $25,291 $26,267 $29,005 $33,389 $39,039
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $12.16 $12.79 $15.26 $17.32 $18.91
Monthly $2,107 $2,217 $2,645 $3,002 $3,277
Yearly $25,284 $26,605 $31,758 $36,021 $39,331
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.01 $12.29 $13.18 $14.90 $16.38
Monthly $2,081 $2,130 $2,284 $2,582 $2,839
Yearly $24,983 $25,566 $27,420 $31,005 $34,075
    Vancouver Hourly $11.62 $12.31 $13.66 $15.46 $18.40
Monthly $2,014 $2,133 $2,367 $2,679 $3,189
Yearly $24,175 $25,619 $28,420 $32,156 $38,269
    Wenatchee Hourly $12.14 $12.50 $14.16 $16.59 $18.77
Monthly $2,104 $2,166 $2,454 $2,875 $3,253
Yearly $25,242 $26,004 $29,450 $34,508 $39,047
    Yakima Hourly $12.43 $13.28 $15.22 $27.62 $30.46
Monthly $2,154 $2,301 $2,638 $4,787 $5,279
Yearly $25,847 $27,638 $31,654 $57,441 $63,356
United States Hourly $9.63 $10.91 $12.62 $15.18 $18.86
Monthly $1,669 $1,891 $2,187 $2,631 $3,268
Yearly $20,040 $22,690 $26,240 $31,570 $39,230

Wages vary by employer and area of the country. Wages also vary based on the worker's education and experience.

Benefits vary by employer. Most full-time physical therapist aides receive benefits. These include paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance. Many part-time aides do not receive benefits.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Physical Therapist Aides (SOC 31-2022)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 944 37.2% 16.1% 202
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 77 35.1% 13.4% 16
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 29 24.1% 8.6% 5
    Benton and Franklin Counties 65 43.1% 15.0% 15
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 47 44.7% 11.9% 11
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 121 41.3% 15.2% 27
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 92 45.7% 14.1% 21
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 55 43.6% 14.6% 12
    King County 107 26.2% 19.6% 20
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 25 24.0% 13.8% 4
    Pierce County 79 46.8% 15.2% 19
    Snohomish County 61 37.7% 12.4% 13
    Spokane County 192 36.5% 13.9% 41
United States 49,800 22.9% 5.2% 8,000

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation is growing significantly. This is mostly due to the increase in the aging population. New health care laws also mean that more people will be covered by health insurance and will seek health care treatment. New medical developments such as joint replacements also increase the demand for this occupation.

Competition for jobs is expected to be strong. There are many qualified applicants for all jobs.

Other resources

American Physical Therapy Association (external link)
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Physical Therapy Association of Washington (external link)
208 Rogers Street NW
Olympia, WA 98502


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Holland occupational cluster