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Washington Physical Therapy Aides

What is the definition of an aide?

 "Physical therapy aide" means a person who is involved in direct physical therapy patient care who does not meet the definition of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant and receives ongoing on-the-job training.

"Other assistive personnel" means other trained or educated health care personnel, not defined as an aide or assistant, who perform specific designated tasks related to physical therapy under the supervision of a physical therapist, including but not limited to licensed massage therapists, athletic trainers, and exercise physiologists. At the direction of the supervising physical therapist, and if properly credentialed and not prohibited by any other law, other assistive personnel may be identified by the title specific to their training or education.

What can an aide do?

Auxiliary services provided by physical therapy aides carrying out duties necessary for the support of physical therapy including those duties which involve minor physical therapy services when performed under the direct supervision of licensed physical therapists so long as such activities do not go beyond the scope of practice defined by this chapter.

What type of supervision is required?

Physical therapy aides must function under direct supervision.

"Direct supervision" means the supervisor must:

    • Be continuously on-site and present in the department or facility where the person being supervised is performing services;
    • Be immediately available to assist the person being supervised in the services being performed; and
    • Maintain continued involvement in appropriate aspects of each treatment session in which a component of treatment is delegated to assistive personnel or is required to be directly supervised.

What is the ratio between supervising PTs and aides?

The physical therapist may supervise a total of two assistive personnel at any one time.


RCW 18.74.010

RCW 18.74.130

RCW 18.74.180

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