A Primer On The Physical Therapy Assistant Degree

Course Overview

The physical therapy assistant degree (PTA) is a two-year associate degree program offered by various institutions accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

In general, this study program introduces graduates to the conduct, knowledge, and the necessarily skill set. It also prepares learners to take the National Licensure Examination, which is obligatory in most US states for one to work as a PTA.

According to CAPTE, 11,650 students enrolled for PTA programs in different institutions between 2012 and 2013. This course has become popular among students due to increased demand for physiotherapy services.

Course Objective

The aim of this program is to give learners the knowledge and competence needed to work with patients, clients, and fellow medical professionals. The assistant is able to assess the safety and response of patients during treatment, perform routine procedures, and collect patients’ data for analysis.

PT assistants do these general tasks under the physical therapists in an ethical, legally acceptable, safe, and effective way. Additionally, this program also aim to teach students excellent communication skills that will help them to interact with other healthcare members, patients’ families, and healthcare management teams.

Furthermore, students receive training on psychosocial support, teaching, and care of patients from different cultures and economic levels.

Course Requirements

To pursue this study program, a prospective student requires general education, supporting courses, theoretical knowledge of physiotherapy, and inherent interest in clinical work.

Good grades in the sciences and arithmetic are also helpful. At a personal level, you should have passion and physical strength to meet the different needs of different patients. Able to communicate with colleagues and patients clearly and relay specific information, instructions, and directions.

Duration of Study and Curriculum

Most PTA programs run for five semesters spread over a two-year period. Some of the core units in this course include clinical education, anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology, neuroscience, clinical pathology, kinesiology, biomechanics, behavioral sciences, ethics, and communication.

It is worth noting that about three-quarters of the entire course comprises of theoretical class work, while the remaining quarter is practical lessons. Students undertake up to 16 weeks of full-time clinical lessons in healthcare settings.

Importance of a Physical Therapist Assistant Degree

PTA Degree

PTA Degree`s

Apart from the states of Colorado and Hawaii, all other states in the US require people who wish to work as physiotherapy assistants to have a PT assistant degree.

In summary, physiotherapy assistant courses are in high demand among prospective college students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 41% growth in employment opportunities between 2010 and 2020 for graduates in the field.

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This is mainly because of the growing number of senior citizens in the US, coupled with an increase in the number of patients suffering from lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.

Prospective students should a passion for helping people, good communication skills, and high school credits in the sciences and math. PT assistant graduates provide immense support to the healthcare sector in their routine work.