One of the best online physical therapy schools preferred by most students because of its financial support is the University of Indianapolis. For the academic year 2015, the full time tuition was at $25,910, while the fee per credit hour for the part-time program was $834. For those who are looking to avail of the financial aid offered by the school, it is recommended for applicants to submit their UIndy Aid application form and the FAFSA. In addition to this benefit, the school provides scholarships, grants and federal aid to eligible candidates who wish to take up the physical therapy assistant degree program.
In terms of flexibility, the Northern Arizona University is regarded as among the finest online physical therapy schools. In particular, the school provides a flexible schedule for students enrolled in the online bachelor’s degree in this course. Typical requirements for online classes include written examinations and assignments, discussions and reading. Since the topics can be completed based on a student’s preferred schedule, this provides minimal pressure on learners because of the self-paced mode of study. Online classrooms are also accessible any place and at any time since these are in a virtual learning environment.
Another highly recommended school for those interested to take up the physical therapy assistant course online is the University of Indianapolis. The faculty members in this school are clinically-oriented, accessible and approachable, and students can always consult these professionals whenever needed. These well-trained and credentialed faculty members are also passionate about the field of PTA, and they are committed to providing quality education to their students. These experienced faculty are also professional clinicians and educators who are deeply involved in research and clinical practice. The teacher to student ratio in the school is 1:25, specifically in the PTA program.
The Northern Arizona University leads the pack when it comes to top-notch technology support to students. Based on the study gathered by the U.S News and World Report, the school features live tech support that can be accessed 24/7, which is perfect for students with varied hours of availability for study. The course materials are also compatible with Linux, PC, Apple and Unix, which means greater convenience to students who have different types of operating systems for their computers or other types of devices. The coursework also comes in various formats such as video and audio live streaming, as well as recorded video and audio materials.
The facility of San Juan College, located in Farmington, in New Mexico, is quite impressive. Although students enrolled in the online degree or certification program in PTA complete much of their coursework via a virtual learning environment, the facilities in the school provides an excellent learning experience for occasional on-campus meetings. The facilities in the PTA labs of the school are state-of-the-art. These pieces of equipment include traction tables, plinths, mat tables, ultrasound and hoyer lift, to name a few.
The PTA curriculum offered by Keiser University is one of the finest as it is designed by industry experts. The school also has active advisory boards consisted of credentialed faculty, University alumni and community leaders. These board members meet twice a year to conduct a thorough review of the curriculum, facilities and equipment in the school, so these components are all up-to-date with any changes in the industry. Thus, graduates are expected to become highly competent and eligible to join the workforce in their field of study.
Overview of Online Physical Therapy Assistant Programs
Physical Therapy Assistant programs equip students with skills, knowledge and competency necessary in this field of healthcare. The program is delivered mostly online as didactic courses, although there are also clinical externships and campus-based lab studies included. Although online programs are conducted in a virtual learning environment, there are also some classes that require a hands-on learning experience. Some on-campus meetings are required, yet much of the coursework involves completion via online. Thus, students are given a more flexible schedule to accommodate their busy lifestyle.
The length of the program varies depending on the commitment of the student since opting for part-time study only extends the program’s duration. There are also instances when delay in completing the program occurs due to inability to fulfill all the pre-requisites of the course or the clinical externship, which are both important components of the program.
As for the curriculum, it is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the human body’s functions and structure. There are also other topics introduced such as the different techniques for improving the function of the body, and medical issues including disability and human disease. Pre-requisites of the program are psychology, medical terminology, physiology and anatomy. Core courses in the PTA program are clinical kinesiology, principles of rehabilitation and pathophysiology, among a few others.
In a typical online PTA program, the projects, homeworks and other requirements involved depend largely on the college or university where you take up this course. However, most common requirements are treatment plans prepared by students for mock patients, identification of body structures using charts, rehabilitation techniques, and descriptions of the body systems’ functions. There is also a 40-hour per week clinical internship on a full-time basis that students are required to fulfill. In this case, they should be able to work with both in- and outpatients, and the internship is at clinical sites that are approved by the program. Students work under the direction of medical professionals.
Online Physical Therapy Assistant Bachelor’s Degrees
For individuals who are looking to earn a degree in physical therapy, then they may choose to take up a bachelor’s degree program in this field of healthcare. It takes about 4 years to complete the program, in the case of full-time students. However, there are 180 credit hours required for those enrolled on a quarter system, and 160 credits for the semester system. Prior to applying for the bachelor’s degree program, candidates should first obtain an associate degree of high school diploma, which are requirements of any school offering Physical Therapy courses.
The bachelor’s program prepares students who are aiming to proceed to the graduate program in physical therapy. With this in mind, it is important to take up classes in general science such as physiology, kinesiology, biology, anatomy and chemistry. Neuroscience and pharmacology are also included, as well as GE classes in humanities and arts, which are parts of the undergraduate program.
Lab components are included in physiology, physics, biology and chemistry classes. As for students taking up online programs, there is still a need to attend on-campus meetings occasionally to perform some hands-on assignments and projects. An internship in a physical therapy setting is also required in the degree program, and the minimum amount of time to be completed is 500 hours.
Online Physical Therapy Assistant Master’s Degrees
Students may choose to study the MPT or Master of Physical Therapy program upon completion of the bachelor’s degree for a higher level of skill and proficiency in this field. The coursework for the master’s program takes about 2 to 3 years to be completed, depending on the level of commitment of the student.
In the MPT program, applicants with any undergraduate majors may be accepted, although it is important that certain classes have been taken up prior to applying for the master’s program such as physiology, biology, statistics, exercise science, human anatomy and English composition. Other requirements may include PT volunteer work, high GPA from undergraduate major and GRE scores.
Aside from science classes, the master’s program also exposes students to basic clinical procedures, as well human disease and musculoskeletal system courses. These are usually taken up during the first year of study. However, during the second year in the program, more intensive courses are introduced. Some of these classes include neurological physical therapy to help assist patients after brain injury or stroke, cardiopulmonary PT courses to treat patients with issues concerning their movement caused by bypass surgery or heart attacks, and specific care techniques.
Didactic coursework in the master’s program may be accomplished online, yet there are clinical courses that are done on-site. Since the clinical component of the program is very important, it is a practical option to enroll in an online program offered by a school in proximity to the student’s residence.
Online Physical Therapy Assistant Doctorate Degrees
DPT programs or Doctor of Physical Therapy programs are geared towards providing students with a higher level of competency in helping patients who have undergone car accidents, traumatic injuries, and illnesses that impact their performance and quality of life. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is responsible for the accreditation of most DPT programs.
The program is consisted of 120 to 130 credits, and it may be completed in 3 years. Before one is accepted to the program, there are certain requirements that must be met. For instance, a baccalaureate degree is required for each candidate in the program. There are also some documents to be submitted, which is to be reviewed by the academic institution. These include standardized test scores, reference letter and undergraduate transcripts.
Doctoral degree programs in PT involve several areas introduced to students including proper assessment and treatment of patients who suffer from movement issues caused by various medical conditions. In addition, students are taught various other tasks including devising action plans suitable to each patient’s needs, monitoring the progress of patients, communicating with clients and presenting appropriate care techniques.
Students enrolled in the online doctoral degree program can take up their coursework in a virtual learning environment, yet there are also some clinical courses that must be completed on-site. Clinical rotations are also required to equip students with hands-on experience and greater proficiency in the field. Among the topics included in the program are human anatomy, pediatric physical therapy, research methods, biomechanics, musculoskeletal system injuries, physiology, community health, and neuroscience. There are also PT courses involved in the program such as therapeutic modality interventions. After completing the program, graduates may take up the Physical Therapy National Examination and get a passing score to obtain a license and practice their profession legally.
Online Physical Therapy Assistant Certificate
Physical Therapy Assistant certifications vary such as those applicable for entry-level positions or advanced. For individuals looking to take up a job in the basic level, then a certification program for this purpose is applicable. The Basic certificate program for physical therapy assistants may take about 6 months to 1 year to be completed. However, for one aspiring to be a physical therapy specialist (PTS), this will require a more advanced certification program. PTS certificate program requires applicants to obtain formal edcation and hours of clinical practice. The certification prior to obtaining a license is also exam-based, and candidates should pass the test to obtain proper credentials.
Several courses are taken up in the certificate program. These include physical therapy assessment and evaluation, history of physical therapy, physical therapists’ roles and duties. Along with these fundamental courses, there are also classes required in the program such as medical terminology, homeostasis, pathology, human anatomy, vital signs and injury and disability. Upon completion of these courses, a certificate is granted to successful graduates. Then, they may be qualified to take a career as an entry-level PT aides. However, to become a licensed PT, a degree in this field is required, along with additional clinical practice.
Accreditation for Physical Therapy Assistant
Before physical therapists are allowed to practice their profession legally, they should first get their license. The requirements for obtaining a license are set by the Physical Therapy Boards, which vary from one state to another. However, the most common licensing requirement is the completion of an accredited PT program. Other key requirements include successfully passing the National Physical Therapy Examination and completing clinical work hours. There are some states that require candidates to pass tests on jurisprudence or medical ethics, aside from getting a passing score in the NPTE. Once specific requirements are met, physical therapists may also qualify for voluntary professional certification awarded by PT professional organizations in the country.
The agency that is responsible for the accreditation of PT programs is the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education. Graduate programs in the field of physical therapy must be accredited by the CAPTE to ensure the highest academic excellence received by students. Moreover, accreditation presents the school’s compliance with academic standards set by this agency, as well as providing quality education to produce competent and well-trained professionals. Accredited programs in PT are only those in the doctorate and master’s degree level, although most of the programs that are accredited belong to the doctoral degree. As for Physical Therapy Assistant programs, associate degree level is accredited.
Since graduates can only legally practice once they have a license, they should first take up and pass the licensing examination, which is the NPTE. Before one can be qualified to take the test, he or she should first complete a degree program that is accredited by the CAPTE. Another option would be completion of an alternative academic program, which must be regarded as acceptable according to the standards of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. The said agency also provides additional information on state licensing boards and eligibility requirements for the NPTE.