Explore Career Options, Jobs, Schooling, and Salary for an in Demand Career in Physical Therapy
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Your Options for Physical Therapy Assistant Education


A physical therapy assistant education in the United States is generally a 2 year associates degree, with a large component of the course load being medical based courses, and the learning of medical terminology. Physical therapy assistants who are studying will also have a clinical component to their degree. Clinical practice is an essential part of the education, as it allows the development of skills, and knowledge learned at a classroom level to be transferred to the real world job. This gives a student time to become comfortable working with real life patients, as well as gaining the benefit of being tutored under full time assistants and physical therapists. This helps a graduate enter the work world with confidence and experience, which is why physical therapy assistants often make a smooth transition from the academic work, to the work world.

What will You Learn: A physical therapy assistant education covers all the basics of what a fully licensed physical therapist would learn, although not to such a degree of depth. Understanding the basic anatomy, and anatomy of movement is critical for a PTA. Since the job requires lots of assisting in many different areas, it is more important to have a broad range of skills and clinical tools than to be an expert in one specific area. With the acquisition of a broad range of knowledge and skills, a student PTA begins to gain confidence in themselves, as well as becomes a  knowledgeable assistant who is a great asset to the rehabilitation team.

Some of the courses that will be included in the curriculum may include:

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Clinical Practice
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Massage
  • Physiology
  • Physical Therapy Practices
  • Psychology
  • Chemistry
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Clinical Practice
  • Human Disorders

Type Of Degree Received :

Physical Therapy Assistants typically receive an associates degree. This is commonly a 2 year degree awarded by community colleges, career colleges, and Universities. Generally an associates degree is half the length of a 4 year bachelor degree, which means an associates degree essentially would be around 60 college credits. In Order to complete an associates degree students will have to complete general education courses, along with core program courses (Mentioned above) required by the PTA program, as well as in many cases the option for elective courses.

Physical therapy assistant education offers individuals a chance to learn the basic “meat and potatoes” of rehabilitation and medical terminology. A strong knowledge of anatomy, human conditions, and various other medical related terminology will not only help a student become a good PTA, it will prepare an individual if they would like to upgrade to a different career in the rehabilitation or medical field. A PTA has a strong base of knowledge, and is a very useful and important member of the rehabilitation team, the education that one received in the case of a PTA, is beneficial and leads to a future full of opportunity.