Physical therapy assistant schools offer the required PTA associate degree required to become a PTA. There are 331 accredited physical therapist assistant schools nationwide (See Complete Database of PTA Programs by State), but only a handful offer online courses. PTA schools are CAPTE-accredited 2 year associate degree programs which prepare graduates for completing the national licensure exam called the National Physical Therapist Assistant Exam (NPTAE) and officially becoming a licensed physical therapy assistant (PTA). Certification or a license is required in most states to perform PTA work.
More important than prepping students for the licensing exam, physical therapy assistant schools provide students with the required knowledge and skills to become a valuable physical therapist assistant.
List of Accredited Physical Therapy Assistant Schools Online
Here is a list of physical therapist assistant schools online offering distance learning coursework to PTA students:
- Jefferson State Community College – Located in Birmingham, AL
- GateWay Community College – Located in Phoenix, AZ
- San Juan College – Located in Farmington, NM
- Clark State Community College – Located in Springfield, OH
- Whatcom Community College – Located in Bellingham, WA
If these online PTA schools aren’t a good fit for you, then look into local physical therapy assistant programs.
Physical Therapy Assistant Schools Online
Although there are many accredited PTA schools and programs, only a handful offer online PTA courses known as distance learning courses. It is also important to keep in mind that about 25% of the PTA associate degree curriculum is dedicated to clinical education. In fact, PTA students spend an average of 16 weeks in a full time clinical education setting. So, even if you find a physical therapy assistant school online, you must plan for your clinical work and identify a local PT clinic to complete it.
View Local PTA Programs in Your Location
Purpose of Physical Therapy Assistant Schools
The main objective of physical therapist assistant schools is to graduate capable, knowledgeable, adaptable, self-confident, and service oriented patient care providers. The education offered by PTA schools prepares graduates for performing selected functions in a PT clinic such as data collection and intervention as well as assessing the patient’s safety and response to these interventions.
Of course the PTA will be working under the supervision and direction of a physical therapist but preparing PTAs with sufficient education is crucial to their success. Physical therapy assistant schools look to ensure that PTAs can perform their functions in a legal, ethical, effective, and safe manner.
Another important aspect of PTA school is teaching the students to effectively communicate with other members of the health care and physical therapy teams they work with. Additionally, learning communication skills for interacting with patients, members of their family, and other care givers is emphasized. Cooperative work with other health care providers is very important to a PTAs success. Graduates of PTA schools will be prepared to assist physical therapists in educating other health care providers and offering psychosocial support for patients, their families, and their caregivers all while considering individual, economic, and cultural differences.
As you can see, in addition to educating PTA students on the necessary sciences and procedures, or technical aspects to their career, social and communication skills are highly important and emphasized in physical therapist assistant schools.
Physical Therapist Assistant Schools Tuition and Fees
Surely you are curious how much a PTA education is going to cost you. Here is 2008 data on the annual tuition and fees rates’ mean expense for PTA schools:
- Private PTA School, Mean Annual Tuition: $26,493
- Public In-State PTA School, Mean Annual Tuition: $7,816
If physical therapist assistant schools are too expensive for you, then make sure you contact the PTA school directly to learn about potential financial aid opportunities. If you feel that you can afford PTA school but aren’t sure if it is worth your investment of time and money, then checkout how much a physical therapy assistant salary is.