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Physical Therapy Assistant Programs Online

How to Become a Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapist assistants work to support individuals in leading active and healthy lifestyles. They assist patients in recovering from serious injuries, managing chronic diseases, and avoiding surgery and the use of prescription pharmaceuticals.

The physical therapist assistant will aid patients in improving their mobility and reducing their physical impairments.

The Physical Therapist Assistant program trains you to provide rehabilitation services to people of all ages and abilities.

What is a Licensed Physical Therapy Assistant?

Licensed physical therapy assistants treat patients of all ages with medical conditions that impair mobility or daily function.

PTAs are always directly supervised by physical therapists, who must also have substantial advanced training and certification.

In addition to treating patients with rehabilitative activities, PTAs may also provide patient education and assist with administrative duties. Public health agencies (PHAs) function in hospitals and long-term care homes in various contexts.

Pass the state-issued national PTA test and meet all other criteria to become a registered physical therapist assistant.

Only 48 states need licensing or certification, not Colorado or Hawaii. Colorado and Hawaii have state licensure, although it is not required to practice PTA. It varies by state.

Certification in CPR and first aid may be required. Others demand a criminal history check. A minimum number of supervised clinical hours will be necessary.

It is better to find out what it takes to become a licensed or certified PTA in your state.

What Physical Therapist Assistant Does Do

A physical therapy (or therapist) assistant, often known as a PTA, is a healthcare practitioner who provides patient treatment while working under the supervision of a physical therapist.

They work in various places, including outpatient clinics, private residences, sports clinics, assisted living facilities, and hospitals.

The following factors  are some of the most common responsibilities of a physical therapy assistant:

# Patients are educated about their injuries and how to care for them.

# Exercising with patients and demonstrating them

# Keeping detailed and accurate records of patient treatment sessions

# Providing insurance companies with treatment plans and notes

# Creating treatment objectives and goals

# Observing and evaluating patients to see how they are progressing

# Keeping in touch with the physical therapist about the patient’s therapy

# Ensuring and correcting the effective execution of home workouts and therapies

# Using various modalities, such as traction, muscle stimulation, cold, heat, or ultrasound, to treat patients successfully.

How To Become A Physical Therapy Assistant?

To become a physical therapy assistant, follow these steps:

# Obtain a diploma

# Occupy an associate’s

# Gain licensure

# Updating basic certificates

# Update your CV, do a background check, and apply.

Obtain a Diploma

A high school diploma or its worldwide equivalent must apply for a physical therapy assistant program.

The misconception comes from online physical therapy colleges that offer training to become a physical therapy helper or technician with just a high school education or GED required.

The income of a qualified or certified physical therapist is less than that of a physical therapy assistant or technician.

Occupy an Associate’s

Find an authorized physical therapy program at a technical or community college. Most programs last two years and require applicants to complete many internships in diverse contexts. Common subjects include:

# Massage

# Anatomy

# Physiology

# Kinesiology

Gain Licensure

The National Physical Therapy Exam is required to become a physical therapy assistant. Before taking the test, you must be well prepared.

Also, candidates may only take the test three times each year, totaling six times. After passing the NPTE, you will be a licensed PT assistant. State license requirements differ.

Some states demand extra courses to keep licenses.

Updating Basic Certificates

First Aid and CPR certificates must be obtained and renewed annually. Certifications may be an excellent tool for demonstrating to employers that you are knowledgeable in your field.

Not all certificates, however, are made equal. Obtaining certificate qualifications will not only provide you with an advantage in the employment market, but they will also raise your total worth.

Read more: Best Courses with Printable Certificates

Update your CV, Do a Background Check and Apply

You can update your résumé with your new credentials now that you’re a certified PTA. Before working in this area, you must pass a background check.

Some organizations need applicants to serve as physical therapist aides before hiring them as physical therapy assistants. This is to verify candidates know the clinic and field.

Schools That Offer Physical Therapy Assistant Programs Online

The most significant online PTA program for every student is one that meets their specific demands, such as job and family commitments, professional objectives, and study preferences.

To help you start your school search, we’ve developed a list of the finest online physical therapy assistant programs based on characteristics, including curriculum comprehensiveness, convenience, and flexibility.

Identify the best online PTA programs for 2022.

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Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech was established in 1963. The institution in Indiana provides a physical therapy assistant associate degree with various online possibilities. Also, every semester, PTA students are given a mix of blended and online coursework.

This degree is offered in Lake County, Muncie, and Sellersburg. The Ivy Tech associate degree is completed in five semesters. Courses run for eight weeks.

This comprises compulsory education in healthcare, kinesiology, psychology, illnesses, trauma, and terminology.

Applicants to Ivy Tech’s degree programs may apply online for free. A 2.6 GPA is necessary. A student may also submit ACT or SAT scores.

Start The Course

Lone Star College System

Lone Star College is a Houston public school. The institution provides a hybrid associate of applied science in PT. Learners may fulfill prerequisites in person or online, including general education programs.

Students at LSC take subjects including pathophysiology, ethics, and lifelong growth and development.

The associate degree program is 66 credits long and takes full-time students around five semesters or two years to complete.

Applicants must be 18 with a GED or high school diploma. PTA candidates should have 40 hours of observation and a 2.0 GPA.

Start The Course

Ohlone College

Ohlone College (OC) opened in 1965 in Fremont, California. The institution now offers a dual PT assistant degree. Upon graduation, students will be ready to take the national license test.

While most physical therapy courses are in person, others are online. Significantly, this 60-credit associate degree program takes around two years to complete. Orthopedics, advanced modalities, human anatomy, and neurological diseases are required courses.

And OC requires two clinical practicums and a clinical internship. OC only accepts 24 students every academic year.

Especially, applicants must have a 2.7 GPA and have studied anatomy and physiology. Applicants must also pass a placement exam.

Start The Course

Miami Dade College

MDC is a Florida public institution with about 80,000 credit students. MDC, founded in 1959, now provides an online and on-campus physical therapy Associate of Science degree. Students choose their course delivery style, including hybrid learning.

Full-time students typically finish in 2-3 years. Working as an assistant in private offices, nursing homes, hospitals, and others requires 74 credits.

Anatomy and physiology lab, medical terminology, impairments, and treatment techniques are required.

Must be 18+ with GED or high school diploma. MDC also requires entering students to complete 25 hours of clinical observation in physical therapy.

Start The Course

College of Central Florida

College of Central Florida is a top PT assistant associate program. Many of CF’s mandatory courses are available in a flexible hybrid format. An associate degree in therapeutic modalities is also required for this 74-credit program.

An associate degree requires seven semesters, including summers. Students complete two seven-week full-time clinical sessions throughout the final semester.

A 2.75 GPA is required for CF associate degree candidates. The school also requires 16 hours of observation in a physical therapy environment.

Start The Course

Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State is a Sanford public college. Its PT assistant associate degree program offers in-person, hybrid, and online options. Seminole State’s small class sizes of 30 students or less allow students to work directly with PT teachers virtually or on-campus.

PTA students take synchronous courses for five semesters. In addition to clinical experience, online coursework is needed in pathophysiology, orthopedics, physical therapy trends, and neurological diseases.

A minimum of 20 hours of observation or volunteer work in physical therapy is required. Seminole State requires a 2.5 GPA and a 59 percent TEAS score.

Start The Course

State College of Florida Manatee Sarasota

SCF is a public university in Bradenton offering a top PT assistant program. The institution provides a largely online PTA associate degree.

Most didactic classes, including general education, are online. Graduation requires three in-person clinical experiences in physical therapy.

Anatomy and physiology, as well as applied anatomy and kinesiology, are required PTA subjects at SCF. SCF applicants should have a 2.75 GPA or above.

Prerequisite courses for incoming associate degree candidates include written communications and basic psychology.

Start The Course

Program Goals Of Physical Therapy Assistant Schools

Physical therapist assistant schools strive to produce competent, informed, adaptive, self-assured, and service-oriented healthcare workers.

PTA schools train students to execute specific tasks in a PT clinic, such as data collection, intervention, and evaluation of patient safety and responsiveness.

Of course, the PTA will be operating under the supervision and guidance of a physical therapist, but training PTAs with proper knowledge is vital to their success.

A PTA’s duties must be legal, ethical, effective, and safe.

PTA school also teaches students how to interact with other health care and physical therapy teams appropriately. Communication skills with patients, family members, and other caregivers are also stressed.

A PTA’s effectiveness depends on collaboration with other health care professionals.

Patients, families, and carers will benefit from psychological assistance provided by PTA graduates, while individual, economic, and cultural variables are considered.

As you can see, in addition to teaching science and procedures, social and communication skills are extensively stressed in physical therapist assistant programs.

Read more: How Long Does it Take to Become a Nurse

Are the Best Physical Therapy Assistant Programs Online?

Physical therapy assistants aid physical therapists in their work. They treat patients with stretches, massages, therapeutic exercises, and other physical therapy procedures.

Physical therapist assistant programs prepare students to provide these treatments under the supervision of a certified PT. An online physical therapy school will still involve hands-on learning to give firsthand experience working in genuine clinical practice.

Associate and bachelor’s degree physical therapy assistant programs are available. An associate or bachelor’s degree in physical therapy assisting is required before taking the NPTE National Physical Therapy Exam for PTAs.

Once the curriculum is completed, students may apply for licensing. Licensure includes completing a national test, as well as any state exams.

PTA schools provide the needed PTA associate degree. All 372 approved PTA schools (see Complete Database of PTA Programs by State) provide online PTA courses.

PTA programs are two-year associate degree programs certified by CAPTE that prepare students to pass the National Physical Therapist Exam (NPTE) (PTA).

Most states need certification or a license to operate as a PTA.

More than just preparing students for the licensure test, PTA schools provide them with the information and abilities to become valid PTA. An excellent online PT assistant program will stress this.

Read more: Online Childcare Training Courses with Certificates

Skills Of A Physical Therapy Assistant

Aside from technical training and education, being a competent physical therapy assistant requires other abilities, including:

IT skills

Physical therapists are increasingly embracing technology to record therapy plans and patient data.

A PT assistant must know how to use word processing software, access and modify patient information, and construct online workout plans for patients.


Empathy and compassion are essential characteristics in any healthcare job.

Patients in physical therapy usually have a painful injury or disease and may need encouragement to finish their programs and exercises.

A physical therapy assistant must approach them with compassion.


Aside from analyzing the patient’s requirements and development, physical therapy assistants must be meticulous in recording treatment sessions for submission to the patients’ insurance providers.

Strength and endurance

Physical therapy is a physically demanding vocation that involves both strength and endurance.

Physical therapy assistants spend much of the day on their feet, demonstrating exercises to patients by crouching or kneeling and helping patients out of beds or wheelchairs.


PT assistants must effectively convey the diagnostic and treatment plan to treat patients. They often have to speak with insurance companies to validate a patient’s treatment plan.

Why Become A Physical Therapist Assistant?

Licensed PT assistants are in high demand. The BLS predicts that between 2020 and 2030, physical therapist assistant positions will expand 32%, faster than the average for all professions.

Over the next decade, there will be an average of 23,800 opportunities for PT assistants. This includes nursing homes, home health, and outpatient orthopedic clinics.

Demand for physical therapist assistants is rising due to three causes.

The prevalence of significant health diseases such as stroke, heart attack, mobility problems, and other challenges related to aging is increasing among the baby boomer generation.

Second, modern technology saves trauma victims and premature babies. These populations depend on PT. Finally, chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease are becoming more common.

Physical therapists may be required to assist these patients in managing their symptoms.

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Can you get a physical therapy assistant degree online?

Presently, there are no 100% online PTA degrees available since the credentials need clinical supervision and lab coursework that cannot be accomplished online. Half online and part on-campus, physical therapy assistant degrees may be found at your local community or state institution.

physical therapy assistant salary

Physical therapy assistants’ pay varies based on region, job, and experience, but wages typically vary from $8.30 to $68.80 per hour. On the other hand, physical therapy aides earn an average of $31.23 per hour.

How long does it take to become a physical therapist?

You’ll need an associate’s degree from a physical therapist assistant program to work as a PTA. These programs are intended to give you the core information and abilities you’ll need to seek entry-level positions in the profession. They usually take 20 months to complete.

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Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) use a variety of therapeutic exercises and training to help patients of all ages from infants to the elderly increase strength and mobility.

PTAs are valuable members of the healthcare team and valuable members of the community, assisting people in living healthier and more productive lives.

Hi, I'm Michael, a research writer with expertise in technology, education, business, finance, insurance, real estate, and legal insights. My goal is to share the newest updates and trends from these industries with you.

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