Rehabilitation therapy assistants work with occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and audiologists to help patients recover from debilitating injuries and illnesses. Also known as occupational therapist assistants or physical therapist assistants, these healthcare professionals help create treatment plans, carry out routine tasks, oversee patient activities, and track patient progress. Rehabilitation therapy assistants are required to hold an associate’s degree and proper certification. Specific requirements for rehabilitation therapy assistants are regulated by each state.
On any given day, physical therapy assistants help patients build strength and range of motion through exercises and stretches. Occupational therapy assistants are more likely to work with children with development disabilities and will often lead them in games and other activities that improve coordination and motor skills. Rehabilitation services under supervision of an audiologist are typically related to speech improvement and teaching patients how to use augmentative communication devices.
Education for rehabilitation therapy assistants includes anatomy, physiology, and human development. Students may earn certifications in specialized areas, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language therapy. Another option for those interested in rehabilitation therapy is to earn a more generalized certification as a healthcare and rehab therapy technician. This certification includes basic training in administration medical duties and general nursing skills.