If you have always had a desire to help other people in need, then becoming a Physical Therapy Assistant or P T A might just be the right kind of job for you.
Not only is it a rewarding career, but it holds endless possibilities for advancement, in the future. Your first step is understanding the requirements of a physical therapy assistant, enrolling and passing the required courses with the physical therapy association or apta.
Receiving your diploma and acquiring your license will jump-start start your career quicker than you thought possible.
A Career in High Demand
For the last number of years, there has been a consistent rise in demand for highly qualified Physical Therapy Assistants (P.T.A.). The ageing population of baby boomers (those born 1946 through 1964) continues to get older, with many already reaching retirement.
As the number of geriatric individuals rises, so does the demand for their medical care and physical needs. Additionally, the recent changes in federal and state government health insurance policies and regulations have instantly opened the door to nearly 30 million more citizens giving them access to quality healthcare.
There is now an immediate need for additional P T A`s along with a high-rise in physical therapy assistant jobs and physical therapy jobs. Hopefully, many of the current and future students will be graduated and licensed as soon as the full force of the policy changes take effect.
Based on these two factors alone, the need for qualified physical therapist and assistants will continue to grow for the next few decades.
What the Job Entails
This rewarding job involves helping physically impaired patients perform physical therapy exercises directed at strengthening their body, along with enhancing their range of motion.
It also includes the therapy needed to improve the patient’s daily function along with teaching them how to use physical therapy equipment and assistance devices.
Assisting patients improve their coordination, strength, mobility and stamina, and dramatically improve the quality of their lives. Many of the patients you will come into contact with will be suffering from injuries or disabilities due to cerebral palsy, heart disease, fractures, arthritis, back pain, and other bodily ailments and injuries.
Their effective treatment plans might include workout routines, physical exercises and using equipment that enables them to be more mobile or active. Working under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist you will help with the instruction and therapy of each patient including those that require message, balance coordination, ultrasound and stimulation tools.
You will likely help your patient with their assistance devices including leg braces and crutches. Additionally, you will also help record each patient’s reaction, outcome and progress in a report given to the physical therapist that supervises your work.
Additional Physical Therapy Assistant Duties
It will be your duty to clean and organize your work area and completely disinfect all of the equipment after each treatment is complete.
You will observe your patients during their treatment, so you can compile data on their progress and responses, Once you have evaluated all the information you will make a report to the physical therapist.
Under the direction of medical staff, your job duties will include the instruction, motivation and safeguarding needed to assist your patient while they practice their exercise and functional activities.
You will confer with the staff of physical therapists to discuss and evaluate each patient’s data on planning, developing, and modifying their treatment plan, along with coordinating treatment scheduling.
Your clerical duties will involve answering the phone, filling out forms, ordering supplies and even supervising other physical therapist aides that typically perform clerical tasks and administrative duties.
A qualified P T A will help set up equipment, and monitor each patient’s daily progress. The job will require taking instruction from the supervising physical therapist, interacting directly with your clients and patients along with reporting to other staff members in the center, hospital or office where you work.
A Physically Demanding Job
With the continuous demands of lifting and transporting your patients, physical therapy assistant requirements are that you be in good physical shape. The entire medical staff will look to you to provide assistance in the mobility of the patient when it is necessary for them to become ambulatory.
Physical Therapist Assistants are a necessary part of the healthcare team and work in a variety of settings including healthcare facilities, outpatient treatment centers and private clinics. The demands for employable positions include full-time, part-time, weekends and the night shift. At times it may involve physical exertion through the action of lifting or transporting individuals, young and old.
The national average full-time Physical Therapy Assistants salary ranges from $30,000-$45,000 annually. Based on your locale you could earn as much as $55,000 annually.
Many annual rates of full-time employment will vary depending on the specific type of facility where you are employed. Higher salaries are often offered in nursing care centers.
Other top salaried physical therapist assistant jobs include those in surgical hospitals, general medicine centers and healthcare practitioner’s offices. Salary will also be based on your level of experience, your level of education and training, and any specialization or certificates you hold.
This is when all your hard work and years of training pays for its self and you finally get a full physical therapy salary
One of the leading and most respected associations in the field of physical therapy is the American Physical Therapy Association. It has defined its eight designated specialties to include Pediatrics, Neurology, Clinical Electrophysiology, Sports Physical Therapy, Orthopedics, Cardio Pulmonary Therapy, Geriatrics, and Women’s Health and belonging to this organization greatly improves your status as an assistant.
Physical Therapy Assistant Training
The easiest avenue to become a Physical Therapist Assistant is by completing your high school diploma (or receiving a GED) and searching for optimal accredited P.T.A. schools online, or in your area.
Though you can acquire a Physical Therapy Assistants certification diploma with an Associate Degree, many P.T.A. students choose to pursue their Bachelor’s Degree to expand their jobs performance by taking on additional work experience before actually entering the practical field. Any advanced degree is strictly an option you might consider, and will only be required should you wish to further your education and become a licensed physical therapist.
What Your Courses Will Teach You
- Once you have completed your training and education through an accredited program, you will be able to work directly under the supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist in a safe, ethical, legal and effective manner.
- You will have complete knowledge on how to implement a comprehensive treatment plan that has been developed by your supervising physical therapist.
- You be able to interact with your patients and their families and provide any essential psychosocial support that includes an understanding of socioeconomic and cultural differences.
- Through your education, you will be able to perform the appropriate assessment and measurement techniques within your scope of practice in assisting the Physical Therapist and developing the patient’s plan of care.
- You will have a complete understanding of all the levels of responsibility and authority including the supervisory process, performance evaluation, planning and development, and time management, along with procedures and policies.
Selecting the Best School
With over 250 physical therapy assistant schools and physical therapy schools like pima medical institute, Penn Foster Career School and with programs available across the country online and off-line from schools such as University of Phoenix, South university and Keiser University it can be challenging to know which one will offer you the best training possible.
You can narrow the field by only considering programs that have been accredited by the nationally recognized Commission on Accreditation of APTA (American Physical Therapy Association).
You can also choose a school based on its faculty, the facilities and especially the basis of their curriculum. Each member of the faculty should have extensive practical knowledge along with extensive teaching experience. Because of the demands of your learning experience, the faculty should be readily available to help each student either individually or in small groups.
Because your job will require extensive knowledge on physical therapy, the faculty should be fully trained in teaching all procedures, for PT schools and Physical therapy colleges the school facilities must have fully equipped labs and classrooms.
Visit out page at top physical therapy schools there we list the top 10 best PT schools in the states please note this is for PT schools not PTA schools and we also cover Online physical therapy programs and looking at whether its possible to earn a physical therapy degree online
Tuition cost and opportunities for financial aid are extremely important factors when considering which Physical Therapy Assistant Programs are right for you. Private schools often cost four times as much as public schools. If you struggle with financial means, consider the school’s financial aid options including federal loans and grants, scholarships, state grants, private loans and a variety of student support schemes not forgetting online PTA programs and PTA degree online.
Finally, once you have narrowed down your search to six or seven physical therapy assistance programs, you should select the ones that you can visit on campus to obtain a first-hand impression. Additionally, while visiting the campus you can ask questions directly to the people who will be there to instruct you. This added information and personal contact should help you make your selection.
PTA Schools By State
According to the US Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, not only is the medical and healthcare industry increasing at a greater rate than the projected rate for all jobs overall, certain segments of the industry – physical therapy assistant jobs especially – are reaching higher demand much faster.
With a projected growth of up to 46%, that’s 32% faster growth than the general labor force, which means many more jobs for everyone graduating the many quality physical therapy assistant programs available today.
Not just that, but according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), there are a wealth of great educational programs available for students wishing to make a career as a PTA their goal. By attending a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), students are assured access to the best instruction and clinical experiences, and the ability to prepare for entering the exciting world of a physical therapy assistant.
For those on the west coast, there are many qualified programs to choose from, including nine accredited physical therapy assistant schools in California where prospective students can study in the beautiful surroundings and climate that the state of California has to offer. California is also the home of one of the first colleges ever to receive an accreditation for their physical therapy assistant program, making it a state that has a long history of quality education for PTAs.
In the midwest, there are over 18 quality, accredited physical therapy assistant schools in Texas where students looking to earn their Associate’s degree and become qualified for the state board issued licensing exam can study. A state full of history and plenty of things to do, students choosing to study for their degree at a Texas institution have many different program types and clinical experience options to choose from.
Students preferring a more southern location also have many prestigious and high quality options to choose from. There are a number of physical therapy assistant schools in Georgia, quite a few physical therapy assistant schools in NC, too. Due to the demographics of its population, there are over 15 quality physical therapy assistant schools in Florida as well, including some that have been in existence since the start of accreditation of PTA programs by the CAPTE.
Toward the north and east, interested students can find over 10 quality physical therapy assistant schools in Michigan, as well as almost 20 accredited physical therapy assistant schools in Ohio, all ready to accept many new students who are seeking expert instruction in their career of choice. Additionally, to cater to the increasing demand for PTAs in the region due to high numbers of aging and senior populations, students can look into the dozen or more physical therapy assistant schools in PA for even more options on great locations where they can get their education.
Considering all of these facts in regard to high job demand and the many accredited educational degree programs available to help students achieve their goals, why not look into one of these schools if becoming a PTA is your dream? The physical therapy profession has recently been called one of the happiest jobs today since it offers not only a very competitive salary, but high levels of personal satisfaction in being able to help people. Getting the best education possible at one of the schools we’ve featured is the key to unlocking the door to the future as a licensed PTA.
Job Advancement For Physical Therapy Assistants
There are numerous ways for Physical Therapy assistants to advance their chosen career. The obvious option is to acquire additional training and physical therapy education programs like a physical therapy degree and certification to become a full-fledged licensed physical therapist. In nearly every state, this will require a master’s or doctorate degree that will have significantly more requirements and stringent examinations to receive your diploma and license.
Although you may find that its very difficult to find physical therapy schools online as it’s a very hands on job where you will not be able to learn everything though a textbook.
As an alternative, Many Physical Therapist Assistants advance their career by becoming specialized in a specific area of physical therapy training including Sports Therapy, Pediatrics, Occupational therapy assistant, chiropractic assistant or Geriatrics all of which have a very different Physical therapy assistant job description.
You might choose to move into an office management position that typically includes the organization and management of a large group of Physical Therapist Assistants or Aides. This position usually requires management of others directly involved in a specific area of physical therapy including sports therapy.
If you are someone who is empathetic, resourceful and tactful when helping patients and their family come to grips with health issues and injuries, this may be the chosen occupation for you.
Helping others understand effective treatments and adjust to the necessary rehabilitation will help them become stronger and healthier.
By achieving your degree and Physical therapy assistance license you will open doors for quality jobs in clinics, private practices, long-term healthcare facilities, sports medicine centers and hospitals and to mention becoming available for jobs such as physical therapist and physical assistant. As the demand for physical therapy assistant continues to rise , so to will the salaries and benefits associated with this amazing job.
Information For Occupational Therapy Assistants
Anyone wishing to become an occupational therapy assistant. With a projected growth of 43% between 2010 and 2020 – while job growth in general is only estimated at 14% – this has already begun to give many people the motivation needed to enroll in the necessary occupational therapy assistant programs to get their education in this field, and gain employment that can be both financially and personally rewarding.
Occupational therapy is an important job in the landscape of today’s medical care, especially with the growing numbers of elderly and the aging baby-boomer population in light of longer life expectancies.
Somewhat different from physical therapy – which focuses on getting people well after illness, injury or surgery – occupational therapy focuses more on helping impaired individuals regain and keep their functionality for everyday life.
Patients with chronic arthritis, those dealing with impairment after stroke and even those suffering from mental conditions are patients of occupational therapists and their assistants, who strive to make everyday a better day for every person.
The greatest percentage of jobs for O T A`s are at practices that deal with physical and occupational therapy, audiology and speech therapy, but there are many positions in nursing care facilities, schools, private corporations, regular hospitals and home care agencies as well.
OTA Job Description
Patients can vary from the aging and elderly to children and adults with developmental disabilities and even patients with mental and emotional disabilities or conditions, providing a very vast array of professional options for the OTA wishing to advance their career through specialization, or enjoying a particular type of patient or work environment.
The basic occupational therapy assistant job description includes conferring with a licensed occupational therapist about the course of patient care, and then assisting patients in achieving that treatment plan. This can include anything from teaching patients newer, more efficient ways to do things with respect to their limitations to helping them get in the practice necessary to relearn tasks that they may have lost functionality for.
Teaching strengthening and stretching exercises, energy conservation, how to use special equipment and devices such as wheelchairs and eating utensils, and even helping someone re-learn how to tie their shoes are part of a normal work day for a OTA, too. Additionally, as with any other medical job, OTA`s will also be responsible for keeping accurate records on their patients and relaying continued results back to the therapist in charge of the case.
OTAs can earn a very respectable, competitive occupational therapy assistant salary. With a median pay of about $55,000 annually, occupational therapy assistant salary can be as high as $70,000 per year depending on the practice, the location, and the amount of experience a OTA has.
Higher pay scales seem to be related with home healthcare agencies and nursing care facilities while the lower end rates are found in school and private employment jobs. Medical offices that employ physical and occupational therapy professionals, audiologists and speech therapists appear mid-range for annual salaries. Naturally, those who specialize or continue their education can also qualify for higher salaries as well.
Currently, most occupational therapy assistant programs are Associate’s degree educational programs and involve a minimum of 2 years of education and clinical experience training at certified occupational therapy assistant schools.
Due to the hands-on nature of the profession it is not usually possible to attend occupational therapy assistant schools online, which is something that OTA candidates should take into account, Of course there are online OTA programs and online OT programs but they will not take you to a degree.
- At the most, they may be able to find programs that offer a few general study classes that can be taken online, but there are no occupational therapy assistant online programs, which are accredited by the ACOTE.
- Prospective students should be wary of programs that are not accredited, or are considerably shorter in duration than the usual 2-year, Associate’s degree programs however.
- Attending the wrong occupational therapy assistant program can leave a student in a position where they are unable to be employed without further education and qualifications.
- This can increase the length of time and the cost for a student to become certified, licensed and then employed, substantially.
- It is also recommended that students cautiously attend any occupational therapy assistant colleges that are either on probationary accreditation or have recently had accreditation removed as, according to the accreditation guidelines by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), programs that lose or do not obtain accreditation are closed, even if there are students currently attending; students are then forced to transfer into another program in order to assure they are offered the best education possible.
OTA Programs And Courses
Getting the right education in order to become a OTA is essential, especially considering there is likely to be competition for securing the best positions.
In order to work as a OTA, individuals should complete an educational and occupational therapy assistant training course that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE).
Upon graduating, they are then eligible to sit for the national examination to get their occupational therapy assistant certification, awarding them with the title of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). Only then will they be able to become licensed for employment in their state, which involves passing a state board issued exam. Most facilities will only hire a licensed OTA and of course theres the added bonus of a high COTA salary.
Once having obtained the necessary OTA training, their certification and a state license to practice, OTAs employable in a variety of settings that will provide them with challenging, yet meaningful work.
Whether going into general therapy and dealing with many different types of patients, or specializing in areas such as pediatrics, mental illness or working with the disabled, OTAs provide a very necessary and valuable service to everyone they come in contact with.
Occupational therapy, is estimated to continue to rise up to 33% through the year 2020, a 19% greater rate than the general job pool altogether. With these types of jobs increasing in other nations as well, what this means is there is no better time than the present to enroll in occupational therapy schools to prepare for a fulfilling career as an occupational therapist.
Occupational Therapy as A Profession
Through medical advancement and other technology, we are living a lot longer these days, and our aging population is now larger than ever. Even though occupational therapy (OT) involves more than just working with those advancing in years, this population is a large portion of those in need of occupational therapists.
Useful for those in need of assistance in learning new ways to remain mobile and independent, O T plays an important role in helping aging individuals cope with their increasing limitations, and with any illness or injury that has left a permanent mark with them.
Other areas where occupational therapists are essential is in working with children with developmental disorders, disabled children and adults, workplace and environmental concerns, promoting healthy living, and even working with mental health patients.
It is a hugely varied profession with many different aspects and many different specialties that occupational therapists can become involved in. It has also been called one of the most desirable careers as well, based on professional and personal satisfaction gained by working directly with the public in ways that so greatly influence them.
In any of these individual areas, the basis behind OT is teaching people how to live healthier and easier, many times in the face of limitations.
Different than physical therapy, where physical therapists help patients rehabilitate after injury or illness, occupational therapists teach coping skills and other life skills for those who must relearn the way they have done things in the past.
This can be anything from simply teaching people how to prevent workplace related injuries through the use of ergonomic tools and health aids, to re-learning how to walk or tie their shoelaces after a stroke.
With the assistance of occupational therapists, patients can learn how to change their daily routines to accommodate for their new limitations so they can still function as necessary, and remain as independent as possible.
Getting the Necessary Education for Occupational Therapy
Getting an occupational therapy degree usually requires four years of undergraduate schooling, and then between two and three additional years of specialized postgraduate education taken at recognized occupational therapy colleges.
This formal education will include classroom learning, various lab classes where learned techniques are used in roleplaying settings with instructors and other students, and finally, numerous clinical experiences.
Clinical experiences are typically set up at a variety of different facilities where occupational therapy students will be able to observe and work with current occupational therapy professionals in a live therapeutic setting.
Depending on the country, graduates of occupational therapy schools may or may not need to be licensed and certified in order to practice. In the US, they must be both certified and licensed in order to gain employment.
Online Learning for Occupational Therapy
There are no occupational therapy schools online due to the nature of the coursework, most of which is done outside of a regular classroom setting. While it is not possible for students to earn their main occupational therapy degrees online, continuing education requirements, as well as some classes that prepare practitioners for certain specialties can sometimes be taken in an online format.
Occupational Therapy Specialties
Post-professionally, there are many opportunities for occupational therapists to specialize in one area of occupational therapy. In order to do so, occupational therapists must continue their education through residencies and fellowships, which prepare practitioners for taking specialty board exams.
Upon fulfilling these more extensive requirements, therapists then become board certified specialists in their field and may practice as such.
With a median occupational therapy salary of close to $75,000 annually, and specialists that can earn upward of $100,000 per year in practice, a career in occupational therapy is an attractive one for the right individuals.
Those with a strong desire to help others, and who also possess a wealth of patience and compassion typically find OT to be an extremely rewarding – although challenging – career that they enjoy immensely.
Enrollment into accredited educational programs is both limited and highly competitive however, so those interested in this career path are advised to contact their school of choice early about their application requirements.
Another growing profession in today’s medical and healthcare industry is respiratory therapy. Respiratory therapists are professionals who provide care working beside physicians and pulmonary specialists in regard to breathing and respiratory problems in patients, both of which are critical concerns in many facets of a person’s medical care.
As with many other healthcare professions the need for RTs is on the rise, is the median respiratory therapist salary, making it another lucrative and rewarding career for individuals interested in a career helping people.
What Do Respiratory Therapists Do?
Although the main duty of a RT is dealing with airway and breathing issues in patients, there are many other important jobs these professionals do. Basic respiratory therapy includes evaluating a patient’s cardiopulmonary function, and then working with doctors and the patients themselves to alleviate and manage any issues.
They will perform diagnostic testing on patients to determine lung capacity and pinpoint respiratory concerns, review case results with physicians and develop treatment plans for patient therapy.
Therapists will then discuss these plans with patients, start any outpatient treatments and instruct patients on their medications and other therapies to be done at home. A respiratory therapist will continue to monitor their patients over time to ensure therapies are providing the necessary relief, and then report progress back to the case physician.
Respiratory therapists frequently work in hospitals and specialty outpatient practice settings, but there is actually much diversity in the field, offering other employment options as well.
They are needed not only in a medical capacity regular hospitals, but in nursing care as well, especially in geriatric care and home health care.
Within hospital settings they have the important roles of initiating and maintaining life support, critical patient respiratory care and the preparation of respiratory and critical patients for transport in and out of facilities. They oversee patients on ventilators as well, and work with anesthesiologists to monitor patient breathing during anesthetic procedures.
Becoming a Respiratory Therapist
In order to be employed as a RT, students must complete a minimum of an Associate’s degree in RT or respiratory sciences order to obtain the more basic positions working in private practice, for home healthcare agencies and other lower impact capacities.
Those who continue their education and go on to earn their Bachelor’s respiratory therapist degree are usually more qualified for advanced care work, and are also in higher demand by most hospitals and private practices, too.
After graduation from dedicated RT schools, RTs must then become certified by passing a national certification exam, after which point they can then become either licensed or registered, depending on the country, and seek employment. RTs must keep up a certain requirement of continuing education hours just like most medical professionals as well.
There are two different certifications that dictate the employment that an RT can qualify for in most cases. A first level certification awards the title of Certified Respiratory Therapist or CRT; second level certification awards a title of Registered Respiratory Therapist or RRT.
Respiratory Therapy Salary and Job Outlook
According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession of respiratory therapy is on the rise by an estimated 28 percent through the year 2020. Currently, in the US alone, there are over 115,000 certified or registered RTs, and this number is expected to grow considerably.
Due to improving economies and a larger aging population, this is just one of the many healthcare jobs seeing drastic increases, making it possible for more people than ever to complete schooling and obtain a rewarding job in healthcare.
Median respiratory therapist salary as of May 2010 was about $55,000 annually. The low range salary in this profession was $40,000 annually and the high range salary $74,000 annually. A Certified RT usually earns on the lower end of the scale while a registered RT earns on the higher end.
Also, of all median salaries, highest rates of pay were found in nursing care facilities with an annual rate of $57,450; home health care services paid the next highest rates with an average of $56,000 annually. Hospitals and private practice both came in under $55,000.
With as little as two years of schooling to earn a respiratory therapist degree, anyone interested in an important and detailed career as a RT should consider enrolling in respiratory therapist schools soon. With so much growth happening in this profession, and the industry in general, there is much advancement possible, as well as competitive salaries, making it a great career choice.
Another very popular healthcare position is to become a recreational therapist they are an important part of the healthcare professional community, and usually find their jobs to be highly rewarding.
Demand for this position has been growing, so there is no better time than the present for anyone interested in providing this valuable service to enroll in recreational therapy schools and graduate to work in this important, yet underrated profession.
What Recreational Therapists Do
A typical recreational therapy job description can include helping patients such as physically and mentally disabled individuals, elderly patients, developmentally disabled children, emotionally disabled individuals and more.
The main importance of the job is in using recreation – play, arts and crafts, dance, sports, games, field trips and other activities – promote active and interested participation by the patient.
These activities help to improve and maintain physical strength, motor function and coordination, social skills and emotional well-being.
By helping those in need to learn the same things that ever other person learns, and to feel included in society, recreational therapists play an important role in allowing people with many different challenges to lead happier and more productive lives.
Nursing care and skilled nursing facilities employs many recreational therapists. Others find jobs at regular hospitals and surgical facilities. Additionally, many find employment at state owned and private facilities for psychiatric care and substance abuse.
Depending on which type of facility an individual is employed by, recreational therapy salary ranges from between about $25,000 annually to upward of $63,000 annually. Currently, the median salary for recreational therapists is just over $40,000 per year.
Becoming a Recreational Therapist
The requirements for becoming a recreational therapist have recently changed. Today, there are two ways in which one can become a certified and licensed recreational therapist, those being to either graduate from accredited recreational therapy programs, or through a work experience certification, although the former is much more preferred.
Associate’s degree programs do exist, but students should be warned that they are being phased out; most employers are seeking graduates with the minimum of a Bachelor’s recreational therapy degree as a result.
There are also Master’s and Doctoral degree programs are also available for those who wish to take their education to its fullest, but it is not necessary for professionals to have those degree to become certified, licensed and employed.
RT Online Programs
Although it is not possible to earn a base recreational therapy degree online, many programs do offer online portions; continuing education and advanced degrees can sometimes be done in an online format, however.
As with just about any other profession in the medical and healthcare profession, attending only accredited programs is essential in order for students to be assured they are gaining the most desired and current training.
Failure to attend an accredited institution can affect a prospective recreational therapist’s ability to gain certification, which can then negatively affect their marketability for job offerings; most facilities seeking recreational therapists are interested in hiring only certified individuals.
For this reason, it is highly recommended that students confirm a program’s accreditation status before they enroll. The Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE) oversees accreditation of recreational therapy programs.
Certification and Licensure
In order to become legally employed as a recreational therapist, individuals must receive a recreational therapy certification, and then file for licensure within their state.
Certification of these professionals is coordinated and overseen by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), and there are multiple paths that can be taken to earn certification as a recreational therapist.
Although most people attend college and graduate one of the numerous dedicated recreational therapy educational programs that are available, some candidates are able to gain certification if they have a bachelor’s degree that is not specific for recreational therapy, but includes a certain amount of recreational therapy courses, and they have work experience in the field as well.
Students fulfilling certification requirements, and passing the certification examination are then awarded with the title of certified therapeutic recreation specialists, at which point they can then file for licensure and then seek employment.
RT Job Outlook
Job growth for recreational therapists is slightly higher than the general job pool, with estimates that the profession will grow at a rate of 17 percent over the next few years (versus 14 percent of jobs overall).
This means that students who fulfill their educational requirements and become certified and licensed as necessary should have little difficulty finding employment in their career. For those who are compassionate and enjoy helping those who need assistance in their daily lives its a great option.
Speech-language pathology Another Excellent Healthcare Position
Speech-language pathology – also called speech therapy – is a healthcare career in which trained professionals diagnose and treat speech and physical communication problems in patients of all ages.
It is also one of a number of health professions that has had increased demand over the past few years, and is expected to continue increasing through the year 2020.
There are many speech therapy programs available where students can gain the necessary education and training to earn a speech therapy degree, qualifying them for a job as a speech pathologist. Speech therapy also offers a very desirable salary, and is a promising career choice for anyone desiring a healthcare job where they can interact closely with their patients in a therapeutic and educational manner.
What Do Speech Therapists Do?
Verbal communication is one of the most important means of communication between people so that they understand each other. When an individual has difficulty with their speech and/or swallowing, or in understanding others because of a developmental delay, an injury to the brain, a stroke, a hearing disorder, having a cleft palate or other reasons, they can frequently be helped by speech-language pathologists. Speech therapists also help people who stutter, have problems vocalizing, and who fail to speak due to emotional issues.
The typical speech therapy job description includes assessment and diagnosis of speech and swallowing problems in patients, coming up with appropriate treatment methods, and then using those methods to teach patients how to speak easier despite their current limitations or conditions.
It is a detail-oriented job requiring high levels of patience, willingness to work at a patient’s individual speed and the ability to work as both a teacher and a therapist for individuals and their families.
They work in a variety of settings, and with many different medical professionals including physicians, psychologists, social workers, school teachers, special education personnel, parents and others to provide necessary treatment to those affected by some kind of speech impediment, and increase ability to communicate.
How to Become A Speech Therapist
Those interested in a career in speech-language pathology will need to make a significant academic commitment, since degrees are awarded at the Master’s level of education. Planning should start before that however, and students who plan on entering a speech therapy program are recommended to take a broad selection of undergraduate courses so they are well-rounded.
These should include courses in math, English and language arts, science, social science, health, humanities and others. Students should maintain at least a B average throughout their undergraduate academic career in order to have the best chance at acceptance into the most desirable speech therapy schools.
Degrees In Therapy
Also, though it is not possible to earn a speech therapy degree online, there are some online options in fulfilling all necessary course requirements.
Acceptance into one of the almost 300 speech therapy programs can be competitive, and will require students to have maintained their B average, as well as having earned their Bachelor’s degree with a wide array of courses that will be helpful to them in gaining their education in speech-language pathology.
Graduate schooling will focus on the more specialized and technical courses necessary to have a successful career in speech therapy. Students are usually also required to complete clinical experience segments where they will learn hands-on, from other professionals working in the field.
Whats Next After A Degree
Once students have successfully completed their education and earned their Master’s degree in speech-language pathology, they are able to apply for licensure in their state or region. Speech therapy certification is voluntary, and offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), but is highly recommended so that individuals have the most opportunity for career advancement.
Additionally, most employers today look for certification, making certified graduates more preferable over those who are not. Besides the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), the ASHA also offers a Clinical Specialty Recognition program for professionals who continue their educational and career advancement and wish to specialize in one area of speech therapy, such as fluency disorders, swallowing disorders and child language.
Speech Therapy Salary
Currently, the median speech therapy salary is quite favorable at approximately $70,000 annually according to 2011 salary survey data provided by the ASHA, within a range of $58,000 up to $90,000 annually depending on type of facility. Clinical service providers and those working for outpatient practices had a median salary of about $65,000 annually. Specialists and practice administrators earned at the higher end of the range.
A career in speech-language therapy can be a challenging one, requiring great listening and communication skills, as well as great patience. The rewards are many, however, with a very competitive salary and much personal satisfaction in helping people with one of the most important skills that we have as people, that being the ability to communicate and understand each other.
Author James O Kirk