In this online program, you will master all the skills you need to begin a career as a physical therapy aide. You will learn what physical therapy entails, identify the responsibilities of a PT aide, and develop a working knowledge of anatomy and medical terminology. In addition, you will get a solid grounding in patient care skills, infection control, and the legal and ethical regulations that affect healthcare providers. By the end of the program, you will be fully prepared to obtain an entry-level position as a PT aide in a healthcare facility.
This three to six month program includes 22 lessons. Lessons 1 to 3 will introduce you to the profession of physical therapy, the organization of the human body, and principles of pathology and its treatment. Lessons 4 to 7 will cover important safety issues related to patient care. In Lessons 8 to 12, we’ll cover topics related to patient mobility and proper positioning and draping of patients. In Lessons 13 through 20, you’ll learn about the human body’s different organ systems and the treatment of those systems. We’ll discuss communication in the physical therapy facility and important legal and ethical issues that affect PT aides in Lessons 21 and 22, and we’ll end with a discussion about searching for employment as a PT aide and the creation of a resume.
Each lesson includes several self-correcting activities, as well as a quiz and an assignment that I review and grade. I will also give you feedback on each assignment and opportunities to make any necessary corrections. If you have problems with any of the material, you can reach me by email or scheduled Live Chats.
Upon successful completion of the Physical Therapy Aide program, you will:
- Have a fundamental understanding of the practice of physical therapy and the differences between PTs, PTAs, and PT aides.
- Be familiar with the organization of the human body and important anatomical terminology.
- Understand the basics of pathology, vital signs, and principles of treatment.
- Be knowledgeable about the history of infection control, specific types of pathogens, transmission of infection, the disease process, and how to prevent the spread of infection.
- Be able to identify the causes, risk factors, staging, treatment, and prevention of pressure ulcers.
- Understand the anatomy of the spine, proper posture, and correct body mechanics.
- Know how to transfer patients safely in a variety of settings.
- Understand the features and functions of wheelchairs.
- Appreciate the complexity of a normal gait pattern and how different types of disorders affect gait.
- Know the basics about ambulation aids.
- Be prepared to assist patients with ambulation-related activities.
- Be familiar with the correct way to position and drape patients.
- Have a basic understanding of the anatomy of the body’s muscular, skeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems.
- Understand principles of treatment of the muscular and skeletal systems.
- Understand principles of treatment of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems.
- Be familiar with the rest of the body’s organ systems.
- Know how to communicate effectively in a physical therapy setting.
- Be aware of the legal and ethical issues that affect PT aides.
- Be prepared to begin your search for employment as a PT aide.
- Decreased ability to move. Pressure ulcers occur most often in people who are unable to easily move to relieve pressure on their skin. This includes those who are paralyzed from spinal cord injuries and those who are bedridden due to illness, an injury, or very old age.
- Loss of sensation. A patient who can’t feel pain will not be aware when tissue damage is occurring. Patients with spinal cord damage, for example, often don’t have any sensation below the level of their injury.
- Age. Older people usually have thinner skin than younger people, and their wounds heal more slowly.
- Weight. Thinner people have less padding to provide a cushion between bones and skin. People who are extremely overweight will exert more pressure on the skin caught between bones and a surface.
- Poor nutrition. A poor diet, especially one deficient in protein, zinc, and vitamin C, increases the risk of pressure ulcers.
- Smoking. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and damages blood vessels. This increases the tendency to develop severe wounds that heal slowly. If at all possible, a patient should control this risk factor by not smoking.
- Problems with bowel and bladder control. Bacteria from feces (poop), if left on the skin, can lead to serious skin infections and can even infect the blood. Urine (pee) on the skin increases the risk of pressure ulcers because it leaves the skin moist and irritates it.
- Decreased mental awareness. Patients who have a condition that affects their awareness, such asAlzheimer’s disease, are at higher risk for pressure ulcers.
- Other medical conditions. Certain diseases, such as diabetes, decrease the amount of blood that circulates to the tissues of the body. This increases the likelihood that a pressure ulcer will develop.
“I enjoyed the fact that it was an at-your-own-pace course, which allowed me to work around anything else I had going on. The course text, assignments, and quizzes were also very easy to understand and do and the facilitator always included a comment with assignment grade to indicate what I did right or wrong.”
- K.P., Waubonsee Community College
“The facilitator, Holly, was excellent. I enjoyed the course, learned a lot, and feel prepared to go out and apply for a job.”
- T.J., Mira Costa College
“Every aspect was awesome, never gets boring and keeps your attention. I wasn’t big on school but this is the best. I had fun and my teacher was real and quick with help. I am going to be taking another course here in the next month and am looking forward to it. Thanks to everyone.”
- M.H., University of Texas at Arlington, Division of Continuing Education