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Therapeutic Health Technician Career Information

Read about what therapeutic health technicians do. Learn about the education and skills required, in addition to the salary and employment outlook, to see if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Therapeutic Health Technician

Therapeutic health technicians work with specialized therapists, such as occupational therapists and physical therapists, to help patients recover from disabling events, such as accidents and surgeries. These technicians also assist people with chronic disabilities and help them live as independently as possible. Technician tasks can include helping patients with exercises, positioning patients, and bathing, dressing and cooking for patients. They may also be required to complete office duties, such as ordering supplies, scheduling appointments and billing patients.

Required Education High school diploma as minimum; postsecondary diploma, certificate or associates degree additional options
Job Duties Include helping patients with exercises; positioning, dressing and cooking for patients; office duties
Median Salary (2015)* $25,120 (physical therapy aides)
$27,800 (occupational therapy aides)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 39% growth (physical therapy aides)
31% (occupational therapy aides)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

While many entry-level therapeutic health technology jobs require only a high school diploma, workers in this field may complete a postsecondary diploma, certificate or 2-year degree from a community or technical college. Programs in therapeutic health may include courses in massage, anatomy and physiology, medical office operations, medical terminology and rehabilitation techniques. An internship at a hospital, chiropractor's office, rehabilitation facility or physical therapist's office may be required.

Skills Needed

Therapeutic health technicians must be capable of helping patients complete physical activities, which may require lifting patients and manipulating equipment used in therapy, such as walkers. They should be able to communicate effectively and should be patient and sympathetic to their patients' needs.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while there is much faster than average job growth expected in the field of therapeutic health technology over the 2014-2024 decade, the field attracts a high number of qualified applicants, so competition for jobs may be somewhat strong. Also per the BLS, the median annual salary for physical therapy aides was $25,120 in 2015. The field is due to grow by 39% between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS. Occupational therapy aides made a median income of $27,800 that same year, and the field is predicted to grow by 31% between 2014 and 2024.

Alternate Career Options

Here are some examples of alternative career options:

Pharmacy Technician

Depending on the state, some techs can enter this profession with just a high school education and learn their skills on the job; most states require a licensing exam or completion of a formal postsecondary program. Pharmacy technicians work with licensed pharmacists to dispense prescriptions to health professionals and customers. The BLS projected faster than average employment growth of 9% during the 2014-2024 decade for this job, and the annual median salary in 2015 was $30,410.

Dental Assistant

This career's training requirements also vary by state, with some requiring only a high school education and others requiring postsecondary training programs followed by a licensure exam. From 2014-2024, the BLS predicted much faster than average job growth of 18% for dental assistants; these professionals had median earnings in 2015 of $35,980 per year.

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