Is there a “best” physical therapy assistant school? Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants are becoming two of the most in demand medical practitioners nowadays. Physical therapy is a branch of health care that mainly focuses on rehabilitating and remedying different impairments and disabilities related to physical movement and mobility.
Though the procedures that are usually done under this medical science are mostly for therapeutic purposes, this branch of study also promotes and executes different kinds of evaluations, diagnoses and tests in relation to different conditions, injuries and debilities concerning these disorders. These professionals mainly apply various physical interventions and organized methods to improve the functional and physical abilities of individuals who need such treatments.
Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) act as right hand of physical therapists during therapy sessions. They closely work with them to be able to improve the patients’ condition and help them as well with less technical roles such as the application of cold, electrical or hot stimuli, help them in assisting patients during performance of particular physical exercises, perform various therapeutic massages if applicable and help the therapists organize their patients’ records.
To become a physical therapy assistant, one is required to complete at least a certificate or associate program. To be able to fulfill this, finding a great school that offers such program is necessary. To enter such program, one must at least passed the GED or have at least finished high school.
Some points worth considering before registering with a PTA school:-
1. Is The School Accredited?
Since the physical therapy assistant program would mostly cover a lot of medical and science-related subjects, having a good background in natural science and health science is very much advantageous. Make sure that the school you have chosen is accredited with the American Physical Therapy Association’s Commission.
By this, you would know that their curriculum is at par with the standards on a national level. This would include the needed coursework to be taken as well as the necessary clinical training to be able to be eligible to take the licensure examinations in the future.
Inquire with the commission on the list of the different affiliated and accredited schools within your area in case you would like to check for verification. You may also try to look online since most of these schools have websites already that you can go to for inquiries.
Before entering the program, a student is often required to take a pre-entry examination. In here, skills in reading, English, Mathematics and Science are evaluated. Once you pass the examinations, other requirements will be asked to pass such as alcohol and drug screening, physical examinations, proficiency in first aid and CPR to name a few. After which, the schools will give you some orientation.
2. Generalized or Specialized Programs?
Some schools offer generalized associate programs for aspiring therapy assistants. Some schools on the other hand offer much more specialized programs such as occupational therapy assistant program, which includes training and intervention courses on both physical and cognitive impairments.
Within the two years that you will be taking the program, you will be required to complete a mix of general education courses and medical and science courses. Make sure that part of their curriculum will include classes in human anatomy and physiology, applied kinesiology, musculoskeletal pathologies, medical terminology, observation and measurement procedures, rehabilitation procedures and disabilities and therapeutic procedures.
Once you have taken all these classes, you will then be required to have actual hands-on experience via clinical duties, on-the-job trainings and laboratory work. Since some states may ask for additional requirements than others, always check for these essentials first so that you can complete them right ahead before you apply to qualify for their state licensure exam.