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Online Physical Therapy Assistant Certification

A physical therapy assistant applies therapeutic methods and rehabilitation to those who have been injured. Get information about programs available, and learn about certification requirements.

Can I Earn Physical Therapy Assistant Certification Online?

Individual states handle certification for physical therapy assistants, generally through an in-person exam process that covers the basics of entry-level physical therapy assisting. Online certificate or diploma programs are uncommon. Most colleges that offer online programs for physical therapy assistants (PTA) offer Associate of Applied Science degrees. Once you have completed an associate degree program, you are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examinations, the first step into gaining licensure or certification, if your state requires it. Many exams include questions regarding diagnosing injuries and deciding treatment.

Online AvailabilityOnline programs aren't common, but some schools may offer an Associate of Applied Sciences for PTAs online
Online Delivery MethodThrough the use of an online platform, students can complete some class components online, though they likely will have to attend practicums and clinical experiences
Common Study TopicsAnatomy, rehabilitation, therapeutic exercise, kinesiology, neurology
Job Outlook (2016-2026)30% growth (for physical therapist assistants and aides)*
Median Salary (2018)$48,090 (for physical therapist assistants and aides)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Will an Online Associate's Degree Program Be Delivered?

Online courses are delivered via online platforms, such as Angel and Blackboard. Many colleges have a specific site where you can watch videos, do online readings and post to online discussions.

Because of the need for clinical experience and lab practice, wholly online programs are practically non-existent. Colleges with online programs may offer general requirements or labs at the campus and physical therapy electives through an online platform. Clinical rounds associated with an online program may done at a college-approved clinic or at the college.

What Will I Learn?

Many subjects you study include anatomy and rehabilitation courses. You may study rehabilitation subjects such as kinesiology, therapeutic exercise and modalities. You will also study medical courses, such as anatomy, psychology, development and neurology to hone the skills and theory of rehabilitation.

What Will My Job Responsibilities Include?

Once you have completed the program and taken your exam, you can work a physical therapy assistant with clinics, hospitals and senior communities, to help aide in healing injuries and improving the quality of life for disabled and elderly patients. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expected the employment opportunities for this job to increase by 30% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov).

On a daily basis you help physical therapists by administering therapeutic methods and helping patients with their exercises. You also record progress in patient charts. Some employers offer financial assistance if you wish to continue your education or earn your licensure.