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Carrington College Blog

A Day in the Life of a Physical Therapy Technician

November 2, 2016

Do you like the idea of helping people get better, helping them get back to a more mobile, pain-free life after an injury? If that sounds good to you, a career as a physical therapy technician (PTT) might be worth checking out!

To give you a feel for what a physical therapy technician does, sometimes called a physical therapist aide, we spent a day at AZ Spine Disc & Sport with Carrington College Physical Therapy Technology program[1] graduates, Shuwon and Shea.

You only live once so whatever career you choose, you have to find something you’re passionate about. Shea explains that’s why she became a PTT; “I love people, I love making people feel better. I’m super-passionate about what I do…I just love my job!”

You need to be ‘super-passionate’ to work in physical therapy. Why? Because you’re going to be on your feet most of the day. You’ll be busy, but you always have to be positive. For your patients to be successful in their recovery, they need to be positive too! That positivity comes from you and your passion – you really have to care about your patients whether they’re your first of the day, or your last.

The physical therapy technicians at AZ Spine Disc & Sport have to be ready for anything. The clinic offers chiropractic care, pain management, physical therapy, massage therapy, sports medicine and more; the technicians at this office get to help work on a bunch of different issues with their patients. “Typically a new patient comes in every 30 minutes, so we have to be prepared,” said Shuwon.

So how does the day start? The first job is to check and clean the PT equipment, then get the first patient from the waiting area and bring them back to get started. Shuwon explains how she does it; “Once I see they’re checked in I go up front, I greet them, always with a smile because it’s always good to see them. The physical therapist has a list of exercises that she wants the patient to do, to either build up strength or work up the muscle, so we help work through the list.”

Remember that a physical therapy tech always works under the supervision of a physical therapist (PT), as Shea explains; “The PT tells me what to do and I just mirror it on the patient.”

The therapies that a PTT assists with will change from patient to patient, and depends on what the PT decides is best for the patient’s condition. Shuwon explains that she uses a bunch of different therapies; “We get to do ultra sounds, electrical stimulation, high volts [which is high voltage pulsed stimulation], sometimes it’s just an ice pack or heat pack on their backs.”

Once the therapy session is complete, the physical therapy technician will walk the patient back up front and get them rescheduled. It’s super-important that the patient stays on a treatment plan so they continue to get better. That’s why making sure they book their next appointment is so important.

Kody, manager of the PT department at AZ Spine Disc & Sport, tells us why Carrington PTT grads do so well at their clinic; “The Carrington graduates that I’ve had come through here are well educated, they have good attitudes and they like to work hard. A lot of the equipment here is super-similar to what’s at Carrington College, so when the students come in here it’s a pretty quick learning curve.”

So what does Kody look for when he’s hiring a physical therapy technician; “I’m looking for somebody that’s fast paced with a positive attitude – you’ve always got to be positive here.”

Does that sound like you? What are you waiting for? To learn more about the Physical Therapy Technology program at Carrington College, click here.

[1] Important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rate of students who attended this program can be found at

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