Government of New Brunswick

Occupational / Physiotherapy Assistant

Occupational / Physiotherapy Assistants work under the direction and supervision of Occupational Therapists or Physiotherapists. They assist in the implementation of treatment programs designed to improve or maintain clients' abilities to function independently. 

An Exciting Field of Work

In general, Occupational / Physiotherapy Assistants:


  • Assists patients with ambulation, treatment and exercise programs such as range of motion, cognitive perception, and sensory stimulation
  • Prepares, removes and / or applies various treatments to patients such as hot and cold packs, ultrasound, continuous passive motion machine
  • Monitors patients response to treatment
  • Assists patients with mobility such as walking, transferring, care/use of mobility aids
  • Teaches patients and their family how to use equipment
  • Makes adjustments to equipment such as canes, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs; adapts clothing to meet patient needs
  • Participates within the multi-disciplinary team in the development of treatment plans
  • Lifts, transfers and positions patients
  • Changes dressings and debrides wounds
  • Motivates and assists patients with activities of daily living
  • Reports and documents observations and changes in patient condition
  • Participates in the fabrications of technical aids such as splints, orthesis, adaptive clothing
  • Assist with departmental operations: appointment scheduling, chart preparation, data collection, ordering and maintenance of supplies and equipment, etc… 


Personal Characteristics / Skills

  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills (both oral and written)
  • Patience
  • Good observation and organizational skills
  • Ability to deal with people who are under physical and emotional stress
  • Ability to follow directions closely and work as part of a team 


Education and Training

Completion of a College Rehabilitation Assistant program is required.

Education program offered in New Brunswick

Rehabilitation Assistant program are offered in New Brunswick by the following educational institutions:



Length of Study / Training

1.5 - 2.0 years

Licence and certification

None required


Helpful High School Courses

  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Math


Employment and Common Working Conditions

Occupational / Physiotherapy Assistants work in a variety of settings, such as:


  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centres and clinics
  • Nursing homes  and extended care facilities
  • Physiotherapists offices and clinics


Occupational / Physiotherapy Assistants generally work weekdays, but may be required to work some evenings and weekends.  The work is physically demanding. Occupational / Physiotherapy Assistants help patients to stand and walk. They may be on their feet for long periods of time and may be required to move equipment.


Employment Prospects - GOOD

With the aging population, the demand is expected to grow in this field.