Rehab technicians work with patients of all ages who have a range of disabilities or injuries. On any given day, they may assist children with autism or senior citizens with arthritis. They typically work in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and offices of occupational, physical or speech therapists. Techs may help patients who were injured at work rejoin the workforce, or they may show people with mental disabilities, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, how to complete therapeutic exercises.
Education and Abilities
Rehab technicians need a minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent, but employers usually prefer candidates who are experienced in direct patient care or certified as a nursing assistant. The National Certification Career Association's offers certification to rehabilitation therapy technicians who complete a training program or provide proof of experience. Technicians must be able to lift or move up to 50 pounds, and consistently walk, sit, stand, bend, kneel, crouch and stoop.
Evaluations and Treatments
Rehab technicians interview patients to gather details on their attitude, aptitude, physical health and mental condition. They decide whether a medical diagnosis is necessary to understand the type or extent of a patient's disability and arrange the appointment. Technicians prepare the room, equipment and patient prior to treatments, and help perform standard vocational and psychological assessments. During treatments, techs work through the exercises with patients and offer hot and cold packs, hydrotherapy, paraffin baths and other workout aides as needed.
Compliance and Details
Rehab technicians are usually responsible for transporting patients between treatment areas, but they also help clean treatment rooms and maintain equipment. They complete clerical tasks, such as obtaining signatures, making copies and filing forms. Some employers ask rehab techs to maintain and order equipment or supplies for their department. Additionally, many technicians play a role in occupational therapy by helping clients find employment opportunities.
Income and Employment
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes rehab technicians under the broader category of occupational therapy assistants, who earned a median annual wage of $53,240, as of May 2012. The BLS expects employment opportunities for occupational therapy assistants to increase 43 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is much faster than the average of all occupations. Candidates who have experience working in healthcare settings should have the best job prospects.
- Totally Kids Specialty Healthcare: Rehabilitation Tech
- Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services: Rehabilitation Technician
- Cambridge Healthcare: Rehab Tech
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides; Pay
- National Certification Career Association: Candidate Handbook
- Riverside Health System: Nichole Alford, Rehab Tech with PACE
- Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images
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