Physical Therapy Assistant Schools Online

Physical therapy assistant schools online are meant to make life easier for students by allowing them to study in a virtual classroom environment, giving them the flexibility to organize their study schedule around other commitments, and avoid problems associated with having to live on campus or commute to class. But is an online study program an option for aspiring PTAs? And, if such courses do exist, are they a good route into the profession? We look at the pros and cons of studying online, and the choices that exist for physical therapy assisting.

The Advantages of Studying Online

Nowadays, many people are excited about the idea of getting their education online — particularly in the area of vocational training and healthcare services, such as a physical therapy assistant. Higher education costs can be expensive, and students recognise that there may be advantages to being able to hold down a full-time or part-time job and organize their academic study around their work schedule.

It’s not just the economic benefits of the idea that are appealing. Parents who have taken time out from a career in order to look after children may be trying to find a way to get ready to re-enter the job market, and would welcome an opportunity to study from home.

Physical Therapy Assistant Schools Online

In reality, however, online education may not be the best answer to problems like these. There’s no doubt that for some people, distance learning has proved a great benefit and enable them to achieve qualifications that would, for a variety of reasons, have been out of their reach. But if you’re considering this option for your own education, you need to ask yourself whether you are the sort of student who would do well learning independently, and whether online physical therapist assistant schools provide the best training for the career you want to enter.

Do Online Physical Therapy Assistant Programs Even Exist?

As far as physical therapy assistant programs are concerned, there’s no such thing as an accredited program that can be studied entirely online. Some colleges do offer an option to do part of the training by distance learning, but there’s no escaping the fact that PTAs have to attend on-site lab classes and take part in full-time clinical experiences in person. So the best that can be hoped for is a kind of hybrid program, which manages to offer lectures online and maybe laboratory training at the weekends, leaving students with the responsibility for clearing their schedules to be able to attend the practicum sessions when required.

Which Physical Therapy Assistant Schools Offer Online Classes?

The following schools currently have individual schemes to offer lecture portions of their curricular content online:

  • Alabama - Jefferson State Community College, Birmingham
  • Arizona - GateWay Community College, Phoenix
  • New Mexico – San Juan College, Farmington
  • Ohio - Clark State Community College, Springfield
  • Washington State – WhatCom Community College, Bellingham

As this style of learning moves more and more into the mainstream, we may see a greater number of colleges embracing this option to increase access for qualified students who are unable to travel to class. But for a practical, hands-on field such as physical therapy assisting, it’s hard to imagine that they will ever come a time when students don’t have to attend lab sessions and clinical rotations in person.

The Value of Accreditation

Finally, there are many very good reasons why it’s not a good idea to cut corners in your training. In order to be able to practice professionally, PTAs are required in most states to be licensed or certified. It’s a precondition of licensure that candidates should have graduated from an accredited program. Currently, the only agency recognized by the Department of Education to grant that status is the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), who do not accredit exclusively online training programs.

It’s easy to see the advantages of an accredited program, whether part of its curriculum is offered online or not. If you’re the sort of student who is self disciplined, well motivated and able to study independently, you can study the curriculum information and course descriptions of these physical therapy assistant schools online and compare them to program options at community colleges in your area. You can see a full list of programs on the CAPTE website. Sign up for information sessions and take the opportunity to discuss your interests and situation with faculty advisors, to help you make the best informed choice for your needs.

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