Therapeutic health technicians execute the treatment and care plans designed by physical and occupational therapists. These professionals are required to have an associate's degree in occupational or physical therapy. Some states require therapeutic health technicians to be licensed.
Therapeutic health technicians implement treatments designed by occupational and physical therapists to increase physical health and well-being. They may work with individuals or lead group exercises, often in a hospital or long-term care facility. They typically complete an associate's degree program, and many states require passing a state licensing examination before working.
|Required Education||Accredited associate's degree program in occupational or physical therapy assisting|
|Other Requirements||State licensing exam needed in some states|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||43%, occupational therapy assistants; 40% physical therapist assistants and aides|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$57,870, occupational therapist assistants; $55,170, physical therapist assistants|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Salary Information for Therapeutic Health Technicians
In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that occupational therapist assistants earned a median annual salary of 57,870. The BLS also reported that physical therapist assistants earned a median salary of $55,170 that year.
Duties of a Therapeutic Health Technician
Therapeutic health technicians use physical treatments and activities to improve patients' physical well-being. They work under the supervision of occupational and physical therapists. Responsibilities include instructing and assisting patients with exercise plans and using treatment equipment, such as electrical stimulation devices. Technicians also monitor and evaluate a patient's progress on behalf of the supervising therapist and can help improve the treatment plan.
They work in different therapeutic modalities within the occupational and physical therapy industries. Technicians in hospitals can help those with physical disabilities properly use a wheelchair or safely exercise injured muscles. Others in care facilities lead group exercise activities to maintain physical health and reduce stress in elderly patients. Physical therapist assistants can implement spinal traction treatments to relieve back pain.
Requirements to Become a Therapeutic Health Technician
Many states require technicians to be licensed before working as an occupational therapist assistant or physical therapist assistant. State licensing board requirements vary, but generally include the completion of an associate's degree program and a qualifying score on a national examination. Maintaining the license also requires a minimum number of continuing education hours.
Individuals must complete an occupational therapist assistant training program accredited by Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education to be eligible to take the National Board for Certifying Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination. Those who pass the test earn NBCOT's Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant designation.
Aspiring physical therapist assistants must complete an associate's degree program accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association's Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. They are then eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination.
Therapeutic health technicians work under the direction of occupational therapists and physical therapists to implement care plans with individuals or groups. Their primary focus is the physical well-being of their patients, and they may lead exercises or activities designed to increase mobility or function of parts of the body that may have been affected by illness or injury. Jobs in this field are expected to grow by more than 40% during the next decade.