Online Courses for Physical Therapy Aides
Below are descriptions of some commonly offered online physical therapy aide courses.
- Introduction to Physical Therapy Course: This course introduces the history, legal considerations, ethical issues, work environment and business practices of physical therapy. It also covers the proper use of various assistive devices such as crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, treadmills, canes and handrails. Students discover procedures to move patients safely, manage treatment, implement exercise programs and prevent infection.
- Medical Terminology and Human Physiology Course: Participants learn the medical terminology they will encounter in rehabilitation programs, medical offices, hospitals and assisted living facilities. They also study the component names for the human body's muscular, skeletal, nervous, glandular, sensory and organ systems. Course content also introduces the proper terms used in cellular anatomy, biology, chemistry and physiology.
- Techniques to Improve and Maintain Balance Skills Course: This class addresses the nature of balance and coordination by examining the structures and workings of the skeletal, muscular and vestibular systems. It also teaches techniques to diagnose possible pathological or neuromuscular causes for dizziness in patients. In addition, students review specific conditioning drills and exercises to correct balance and coordination issues.
- Kinesiology and Sports Studies for Physical Therapists Course: Students review the basics of movement used in everyday life and in sports by studying the structures and joints of bones, tendons, ligaments and muscle groups. The course pays specific attention to the needs of athletes, and critical joints such as wrists, elbows, ankles, hips and shoulders are discussed in detail. Special consideration is shown for pediatric, geriatric and gender-specific populations.
- Patient Movement, Transfer and Positioning Course: In this course, students learn safe and effective techniques for properly positioning and moving patients in different physical therapy situations. The course focuses on the mechanics of the human body and the way posture influences treatment.
- Common Physical Disorders Course: This course will analyze various disorders and dysfunctions related to the musculoskeletal system. Topics include inflammation, osteoporosis and arthritis.
- Workplace Health and Safety Course: In this course, students will study patient safety in addition to environmental and personal safety. Lifting techniques, first aid and infection control will also be covered.
Although certain continuing education or introductory physical therapy aide courses can be taken fully online, most courses include an in-person component due to the hands-on nature of the field. Some schools offer online diploma or certificate programs, but an associate's degree, such as the Associate of Science in Physical Therapy or Associate of Science in Allied Health Science, is usually the minimum degree required for physical therapy aides. In addition, most states require licensing based on practical experience for the Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) credential.
Online physical therapy aide classes are available via diploma or certificate programs in addition to associate's degrees. Students will study common physical disorders, safety and medical terminology, among other topics.