If you have decided on a career in physical therapy then the first thing you need to do after leaving full-time education is to find physical therapist assistant schools that offer a training course recognized and approved by the American Physical Therapy Association, (or APTA for short). The APTA is the leading authority when it comes to overseeing physical therapy assistant schools and physical therapy assistant colleges, of which there are many across America.
The APTA is a professional body boasting more than 77,000 members and rising. It maintains standards for physical therapy assistant schooling and ensures that all schools and colleges that subscribe to its standards become accredited physical therapy assistant schools. This uniformity of standards ensures that students can be certain they are receiving the very best levels of education to enable them to have all the required skills in their chosen area of physical therapy and can use them to apply for a position in just about any arena they prefer.
You may be surprised to learn that you do not have to attend college in the normally accepted sense of the word, you can now choose to learn via a variety of mediums, including physical therapy assistant schools online. Learning in this way gives more flexibility, so if you are a bit of a night owl you can access lesson plans and submit coursework at your preferred study time. This means that you may also study a degree as a physical therapy assistant whilst still working in other employment. Clearly, all studies cannot be carried out via the internet, but it certainly makes it a lot easier for many people and opens up the bounds of possibility that otherwise would be out of the question.
As online colleges and schools offer programs that are accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association you can be sure that what you are learning in this way is equivalent to the kinds of lectures you would have to attend in person at college. The quality and content of information will be of the same excellent standard, as they have to conform to the standards laid out by the APTA. A physical therapy assistant can typically expect to qualify within 2 years. This is usually by associate degree, although some students prefer to take the longer bachelor degree route.
The modules of the degree course will include all different aspects, including physiology, biology, anatomy, psychology, communication (essential for colleagues as well as patients!), therapeutic exercise and administration procedures. Clearly it is important to understand how the body grows and develops and having a good understanding and awareness of that can help you to understand or even create new ideas in how to improve equipment or procedures for certain areas.
There will also be a good section of the course undertaken at the physical therapist assistant schools that will include clinical practice. This is absolutely essential to ensure a thorough understanding of the subject, its implications and being able to put that understanding into actual practice. Some people may enjoy the theory better than the practice or vice versa, and this may help you to decide which path to take within the physical therapy area. Not only are there opportunities to help others with a ‘hands on’ approach, but there are also research opportunities to increase awareness and improve policies and procedures.
The area of physical therapy is a very diverse one and at first glance it may seem it is all about patching people up. On the contrary, it is about giving people back their lives. Helping them get back into their usual routines and habits before their affliction or accident. Giving insight and encouragement in times of despair, and you will meet many people like this until they are very much on the road to recovery. Keeping an equilibrium and relating to patients in a positive way can help their recovery every bit as much as the exercises and treatment plan that has been devised for them. Make no mistake; every gesture and word can make a huge difference to the lives of some of the people you will come across.
So, are you ready to take on the challenge?