What is a Physical Therapy Assistant?
Advances in the technologies of telecommunications and internet security have led to an influx of programs for those who wish to advance their careers online. Internet programs are available for a number of accreditations, among which physical therapy assistant degrees rank high in popularity. Physical therapist assistants play an important role in the ongoing health and rehabilitation of patients in a physical therapy program. It is common for physical therapy assistants to gather equipment for procedures, assist patients with their daily exercises, make reports for review by the overseeing physical therapist and coordinate programs of therapeutic methods prescribed by the therapist. The responsibilities of a physical therapist vary greatly dependent upon the overseeing therapist and the purpose of the therapy, enabling physical therapist assistants to search for positions in the work force that match their professional desires and career aspirations.
What Will the Physical Therapy Assistant Degree Entail?
Physical therapy assistant degree programs on-line are designed to prepare students for any tasks they may face in a work environment as well as the certifications or exams required to practice. Physical therapy assistants are required, in many states, to earn at least an associate's degree and pass the National Physical Therapy Exam. There are separate state exams in some states, many of which are complemented by requirements for continuing education credits. States with additional requirements - in the form of continuing education for physical therapy assistants to maintain their license - afford students permission to obtain details from their licensing boards.
Online physical therapy assistant programs will implement general coursework and web-based video instruction. Due to the nature of a physical therapy assistant's work, many accredited programs recommend that some laboratory work at a site determined by the school. The hands-on tasks a physical therapy assistant provides cannot easily be duplicated digitally. Searching the internet or local publications for accredited schools should provide a number of options for online coursework with periodic lab instruction. The general coursework most commonly required in an associate's degree program for physical therapy assistants will contain aspects of basic medical training, anatomy, algebra, physiology and psychology. It is generally the rule that physical therapy assistants will be trained and certified in CPR and basic first aid. Students pursuing their degree online are served well by a history of work in a treatment center which represents clinical experience or volunteerism.
What Schools Offer the Program? What Degrees are Offered?
Physical therapy assistants and aides can obtain certification once passing their exam and earning an associate's degree, though many pursue higher education for the purposes of career advancement. Physical therapy assistants who continue their education online are encouraged by the American Physical Therapy Association to focus their studies on geriatric or pediatric patients, special treatments such as aqua therapy or administrative coursework. Physical therapy assistants with specializations may demand a higher salary than those who have undertaken only a general associate's program. Students who take the lines of administration or education coursework may find themselves qualified to act as an administrator for a physical therapy center or an educator for physical therapy assistant classes.
There are dozens of schools accredited to provide physical therapy assistant degrees at levels ranging from associate's to master's. Schools specializing in online education are best contacted through their website or customer service, though each contains a university address. Some of the best known programs for physical therapy assistant degrees online are as follows:
Most universities or career programs offering online coursework have a dedicated team of student advisors to assist their students based off-campus. Financial aid programs are commonly implemented through programs initiated through registration, though additional assistance may be available through government scholarship programs or grants dependent upon financial status and prerequisite commendations.
How Much does a Physical Therapy Assistant Make? Is Work Available?
The middle fifty percent of employed physical therapy assistants, in 2008, earned $37170 to $54900. As in any other profession, there are extremes based on circumstance, environment and qualification which result in outliers far above and below this median. The practices most commonly employing physical therapy assistants were long term care facilities (nursing homes), general hospitals, specialty hospitals and private offices. Physical therapy assistants are often linked statistically to physical therapy aides. The two professions are similar in that they support the physical therapist or treatment facility, however aides do not garner as high a wage, as the requirements for employment as a physical therapy aide is generally not as demanding as those necessary to be qualified as an assistant.
As the population continues to age and life expectancy increases beyond previous maximums, there is an increase in the demand for physical therapy assistants. The job outlook for the flied is extremely healthy due to the growing number of patients with covered access to a physical therapist's services. The elderly population of today is being encouraged to stay active by their physicians and the media, which creates a subculture of seniors engaging in exercise and rehabilitation. Geriatric patients are generally advised to exercise only under supervision, leading to a number of facilities specialized in the health and treatment of elderly bodies. In addition to the growing number of elderly citizens requesting physical therapy, there has been an increase in the responsibilities delegated to physical therapy assistants. In an effort to keep costs down and see more patients, physical therapists will often design a plan for their patient only to hand the task of facilitation to their assistant or aide. Physical therapy assistants can execute most parts of a physical therapy program, requiring only periodic checks from the assigning physical therapist.