Physical Therapy Assistant Continuing Education Courses & Requirements

Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) must take continuing education courses to retain licensure and remain current with their training. Each state has its own requirements for certification and continuing education. PTAs can find CEU coursework through the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) website. Keep reading to find some common courses used for PTA continuing education.

Essential Information

Continuing education courses for physical therapy assistants are offered by colleges and universities, as well as independent organizations. To become certified or registered, physical therapy assistants must have at least an associate's degree through a state-approved educational program. These programs should be accredited by the APTA. The APTA also offers its own online continuing education courses, some of which are pre-recorded so that students can take them on their own time. Individuals should check with their state's licensing board to find out if courses need to be taken annually, bi-annually or on another time schedule.

Physical therapy assistants must complete the required number of hours of continuing education. Other requirements may include possessing strong moral standards and successful completion of all licensing examinations. Some typical subjects in your classes will include the following:

  • Posture and balance
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Functional anatomy
  • Biomechanics
  • Range of motion
  • Muscular endurance

List of Courses

Orthopedic Function Course

This continuing education course reviews the function and anatomy of the connective tissues. Students examine the clinical aspects of bones and cartilages. They learn about usual and unusual manual physical therapy techniques.

Pharmacology Course

This course looks at the classes of drugs which are used specifically for physical therapy patients. It focuses on how medications work in conjunction with physical therapy practices. Medications are studied with regards to the conditions they are used for and the effects they have on patients.

Health Promotion Rehabilitation Course

Students are introduced to community education and health concepts during this program. Wellness and health promotion customs are explored. Also discussed are stress management, nutrition and fitness.

Law and Ethics in Health Care Course

Legalities and health care within the realm of physical therapy are explored in this introductory course. Among the topics of discussion are employment law, medical malpractice, preparation of deposition and contract law. Participants also learn about issues in managed care.

Medical Screening Course

Each class participant is taught to recognize cases which require referral to a physician. They learn to differentiate between pain conditions and emergency cases using realistic scenarios. Students may analyze pharmacological therapies and explore medications that support physical therapy. They also learn how to identity various diagnostic imaging machines.

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