What Does a Rehabilitation Technician Do?

A rehabilitation technician is an employee who works in a rehabilitation setting, such as a therapist’s office or even a hospital, under the supervision of a professional physical therapist. Entry-level workers generally perform only basic functions, such as preparing paperwork, assisting clients who need help walking or otherwise moving, and helping to maintain the equipment and rehabilitation space, depending on their education and training. More advanced technicians may be able to work directly with a physical or occupational therapist during therapy sessions.

If a candidate wants to work as a rehabilitation technician, they usually need a high school diploma, though it is sometimes possible to get this job while still in high school. Computer skills, as well as basic math skills and adequate to exceptional communication skills, are almost always required. A basic understanding of rehabilitation practices is preferred but not always required, as candidates are usually given the opportunity to participate in on-the-job training that will better prepare them to work as a rehabilitation technician. A technician working at this level will almost always need some previous clerical experience.

If the rehabilitation technician wants to make a career out of the job and take on more complex tasks like managing patient files and cases, interacting with vendors and clients, and taking on management or leadership roles, he or she will need to obtain a rehabilitation technician certification or complete appropriate job training. After completing this training, the technician will be able to perform higher-level tasks like conducting progress reviews and otherwise managing a patient’s case.

An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field is usually required to advance to the highest level of rehabilitation technician. At this level, the technician may be hired as a supervisor to supervise caseloads and other technicians who are in charge of them. He or she may participate in physical therapy sessions with the physical therapist, but the majority of his or her responsibilities will be administrative in nature, such as file management, vendor relations, file evaluations, insurance issues, and so on. The technician may also be in charge of equipment and facility maintenance and inspection, ensuring that the equipment is in good working order and that the facility is safe for clients and patients.