Basic Information on Physical Therapy Assistant Programs

Physiotherapists give an essential service when it comes to relieving pain after injuries. They are well equipped to handle their duties effectively whether employed or working privately.

However, these professionals cannot handle all the clients needs alone.

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work along physical therapists and other healthcare professionals to give therapeutic services to patients and they are responsible for treating patients based on specific care plans.

Dealing With The Patients Family

They interact with patients’ families to tell them about the patient’s condition and after make sure that the person gets the care needed to help full recovery .

The services offered by PTAs are very important in restoring movement, relieving pain and improving bodily functions. However, before anyone can work as an assistant, they have to go through various trainings and therapy related programs.

Physical Therapy Assistant Programs And Courses Covered

Individuals wanting employment as PTAs have to begin working on their skills early. While in high school, they have to do well in math, biology and languages – subjects which are very relevant to PTA programs.

Becoming a physical therapy expert, you will need to graduate with a degree while assistants only need to have a diploma in this field.

Healthcare professionals interested in working as PTAs can also go for PTA training through the accelerated programs designed to enable trainees to cover the complete coursework within a shorter time.

A regular program takes 2 years to complete while an accelerated one completed in 14 months.

  • Most of the institutions offer two-year schedules of study work plus 4 months of practical training in a clinical environment.
  • If you are planning to enroll for this program, be ready to take health and rehabilitation science lessons.
  • In addition, your taught, at an introductory level, university units like English, biology with some psychology accompanying them.

Courses Taken

  • Orthopedics: Covers techniques applied in therapeutic exercises with an emphasis on patients with orthopedic conditions.
  • Kinesiology: Involves studying the skeletal system and how it relates to therapy
  • Pathology: PTA students study how to deal with pathological conditions that arise from injury or disease in particular body systems including the respiratory, immune and musculoskeletal systems.
  • Pediatrics: The students cover different treatment approaches to pediatric therapy with a focus on treatment regimens and rehabilitation techniques.
  • Neurology: Emphasizes on treatment plans for persons with neurological problems , brain injuries  or  injuries to the spinal cord.
  • For more information on courses visit

PTA instruction requires a lot of hands-on experience; the training process has to involve clinical exposure. Throughout their preparation, students have to go through practice sessions in school laboratories and local clinical facilities.

PTA Programs Accreditation

The accredited courses have the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) approval to show that the instructors can offer the learners quality training.

To get their practice license, students have to sit for a PTA licensing examination on completion of their program, and only those who graduate from CAPTE approved programs can offer services to Medicare patients.

Basic Academic Requirements For One To Be Admitted

  1. Most colleges have set conditions for one to enroll in a program. It stipulates that you are over 19 years of age and a secondary school graduate.
  2. The candidate to have a grade of over 60% in English, have chemistry 11 and at least a pass in biology among the 12.
  3. Most institutions also recommend candidates to consider doing programs like BIOL 131 and PSYC 111 before enrolling to this program. This is because of its demanding nature.

The Program Outline

Physiotherapy Assistant Programs

PTA Programs

A good number of institutions have their own plans but the common and basic one consist of four semesters.

In the first semester, you will study, Human anatomy, communication, group process, Disease and Disability, recreation therapy together with critical university writing.

Most of the units learn`t in the first semester are developed on in the second one which also sees practicum assistants, client care principles and introduction to personal functioning.

In the second year, the third semester, the student will be able to understand Gross Anatomy, psychiatry and mental health.

During the fourth semester, you will learn the therapeutic modalities, professional practice and the capstone project.

For full details of the semester click here

Getting Clinical Experiences

As we saw earlier, it is important to link what is learnt in class with the practical nature of the work. This makes practical experiences and part of this course.

At this level, institutions help the student to find work places like hospitals, private agencies and other health government facilities.

This part of the training is very important as it enables the student to familiarize with what potential employers expect. It offers an opportunity for the intern to get knowledge on how to find jobs. It mostly takes 4 months for one to learn and benefit from this part of training.

After Graduation

The graduates are now able to aid experts in muscle stretching and strengthening, mobility training and thermal modalities.

Job Opportunities

PTAs can work in any healthcare facilities including retirement homes, nursing facilities, health clubs, rehabilitation clinics and hospitals. Like other professions in the health industry, opportunities for PTAs have been growing at a fast rate, and qualified professionals can now choose between private practice and part-time or full-time employment.