For patients recovering from injuries or illness… the work to regain lost abilities or get relief from pain is supported by physical therapist assistants and aides. These healthcare workers have the stamina, compassion and skills to help patients get back on their feet. Working under the supervision of physical therapists, physical therapist-or PT-assistants provide direct care to patients… using massage, exercises, and specialized activities such as gait and balance training. They document patients’ progress and report their observations to the physical therapist. To ensure progress is maintained after treatment, PT assistants also educate patients and their families about follow-up. Physical therapist aides prepare the treatment area for physical therapy, clean and set up equipment, and assist patients moving to and from treatment areas. Aides also order supplies, schedule therapy sessions, and complete insurance forms. Most assistants and aides work in physical therapists’ offices or hospitals. They are in motion much of the day to see patients, set up equipment, and lift and move patients when needed. Physical therapist assistants need an associate’s degree from an accredited program, along with a state license or certification. Aides usually need a high school diploma or equivalent, and can expect to learn clinical skills on the job. Supporting patients through discouragement, fear and pain, PT assistants and aides help bring recovery goals … within reach.