Students looking to become a therapy health technician can enter a PTA or OTA program. PTA programs require individuals to have an associate's degree and OTA programs usually require licensure.
Physical Therapy Assistant Program
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work under physical therapists to provide basic care for patients who want to reduce pain and improve or recover mobility. Besides observing patients and creating reports, they may also treat patients by using therapeutic massage or stretching. Additional duties include helping patients complete their prescribed exercises and teaching them to use rehabilitation devices, such as walkers.
PTAs are typically required to have completed an associate's degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and earn state licensure or certification. While specific certification requirements differ by state, they typically include completing a CAPTE-accredited program and passing a national exam.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program
Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) also help patients using therapeutic techniques, like massage and stretching. While PTAs help patients recover basic movements and range of motion, OTAs assist occupational therapists in helping patients regain their independence and large motor skills. They may also teach patients stretching moves and how to use specialized equipment.
Most states require occupational therapy assistants to be licensed. To earn state licensure, prospective OTAs must complete a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education, meet fieldwork and experience requirements and pass an exam. Most OTA programs result in an associate's degree and include about 16 weeks of fieldwork that help meet licensure requirements.
Popular Career Options
While specific therapeutic health technician positions are not available, students seeking careers in therapeutic health services can find entry-level options, including physical therapist assistant or occupational therapy assistant. Both of these positions require the individuals to be certified or licensed.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Occupational therapy assistants are also expected to experience much-faster-than-average job growth from 2018-2028; the BLS predicts an increase of 33% during that time frame. In May 2018, OTAs earned a mean annual wage of $60,410, per the BLS.
Students interested in therapy health technician certifications have two options, PTA or OTA, depending on the path they want to take and their preferences. Each program has specific requirements for acceptance into the program as well as varying graduation requirements, all of which students should consider while applying.