The same thing basically happened to me! Although, not on my first day. I volunteered for about 3 weeks (24 hours) and they offered me an aide position. At the same time, I was volunteering at another clinic and after I finished about 30 hours there, they offered me a front office assistant position (they don't have aides on staff). It really is amazing how timing works out.It's ironic that this thread was at the top of the DPT board as I just returned home from my very first shadowing experience... with a PT tech job offer. Seriously, this was my very first experience!
Honestly, I feel a bit overwhelmed. I'm happy about the prospect of being able to learn more about the profession while earning a few bucks (btw, the pay is $9/hr), but at the same time a tech job wasn't in my 'game plan' for various reasons right now. My emotions are all over the chart!
Anyway, these jobs are obviously out there. This clinic was not advertising to fill this position. I guess I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Also, like someone already mentioned above, I was offered the position to help offset the loss of personnel attending/soon to be attending PT school. One of their techs is currently enrolled in PT school and can't work as many hours and another tech is leaving for PT school in August. This appears to be the jackpot scenario for landing a tech job.
Paid hours count, or usually anyway. I would just google "physical therapy" along with the name of your city and see what pops up. Then look at their websites, locations, etc and start calling and asking if they're hiring PT aides (or accepting volunteers/observers). You could also try craiglist. At my PT aide job I make $9/hour.
Pay increases will depend on the policies of the employer, like with any job. I'm a Tech now (have been for three years) and have gotten a few raises during that time but as someone mentioned above, it's pretty much a constant cycle of volunteer to tech to DPT school (I'll finally be on that last rung of the ladder this year) for a lot of them so the pay doesn't vary much. In other words, it's not a career field for most people and the pay is relatively low.Does the wage increase after 6 months on the job? I'm planning to look for a job as a tech next summer, but I'm getting married and $9/hr is a little low for 2 people to live off of (she's in school full time for another year).