Physical Therapist Assistant Program Overview

Physical Therapist Assistant Associates Degree

Do you have a passion for helping others in need?  Is it your dream to one day have a career that helps people improve their lives by overcoming physical challenges?  If either of these things rings true, you should strongly consider a career in physical therapy.  

Working under the direct supervision of a physical therapist, you may be able to help people get back on their feet after a debilitating illness.  The Physical Therapist Assistant Associates Degree at SABER College can help you start this gratifying career.

Hands-On Training (the best way to learn)

At Saber College, we believe that hands-on clinical training is the best way to learn to work with patients as a physical therapist assistant. By going through the motions of working with a patient or even just practicing the movements without a patient, you can better understand what it will be like when you have patients yourself. This may help you manage your expectations and become more efficient in your work, making you more prosperous and making your patients happier.

Physical Therapist Assistant

You may also learn to handle different situations and circumstances with hands-on job training. For example, by working with an actual patient, you could know what it feels like when a patient doesn’t want to do their exercises or is resistant to your treatment. You may be able to practice in these situations so that you’re prepared for real-world scenarios and how to respond appropriately if something goes wrong during your session with them.

Hands-on training for physical therapist assistants can also allow students to see how other professionals conduct themselves on the job and learn from their experience before starting their careers as physical therapists assistants.

What Does a Physical Therapist Assistant Do?

Physical therapist assistants sometimes called PTAs, and physical therapist aides, work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. They help patients recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain.

Physical therapist assistants are involved in the direct care of patients. They may work with individuals who have conditions such as low-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy—or with individuals who have had surgeries to restore their ability to move. Physical therapist assistants collaborate with physical therapists to plan and provide treatment. 

Specific tasks include instructing patients in exercises to improve their strength and mobility, applying treatments such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation to reduce pain and swelling, helping patients during therapy sessions, modifying treatment plans according to a patient’s response to treatment, keeping records on the care they administer, teaching families how to assist patients during exercise sessions or in daily activities at home, and reporting any changes in a patient’s condition or response to treatment.

Physical therapist aides often have tasks indirectly related to patient care, such as cleaning and setting up the treatment area, moving patients who need help getting on or off tables or in or out of wheelchairs, transporting patients between rooms or departments within the facility where they are. Physical therapy aides often have tasks indirectly related to patient care, such as cleaning and setting up the treatment area, moving patients, and doing clerical duties.

As a physical therapists assistant, you may be expected to perform the following duties:

  • Evaluate and treat patients under the direction of physical therapists.
  • May plan and implement specific treatment programs for individual patients according to the principles and practices of physical therapy.
  • Administer active and passive manual therapeutic exercises, therapeutic massage, and traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength, or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling conditions resulting from accidents, sports injuries, illnesses, or congenital or developmental deficits.
  • Set up and operate devices such as traction equipment and electrotherapeutic apparatus which apply electricity, light, heat, cold or sound waves to assist in rehabilitative treatment such as muscle reeducation, muscle stimulation, and gait training.
  • Apply surgical dressings to protect injured areas during therapy sessions.
  • Clerical tasks like maintaining records on each patient treated by the physical therapist assistants.
  • Instruct patients on how to use their bodies properly while performing various tasks at home and work

Career Outlook for PTAs

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that employment for Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides will grow 32% from 2020 to 2030. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth is expected to be driven by the increasing number of individuals with mobility issues and the demand for physical therapy assistance. 

The Bureau estimates that about 23,800 openings for Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as retirement.

Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Saber College

The PTA program curriculum provides a blend of theory, skills, and clinical training for PTA students to develop entry-level competence as physical therapist assistants. The course of study includes an in-depth analysis of anatomy, kinesiology, pathophysiology, patient data collecting, therapeutic interventions, and patient care. Interlaced in the program design is a clinical education course component that provides students with real-life learning opportunities in various physical therapy work settings. 

Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination for PTA and be prepared to provide care as physical therapist assistants under the supervision of licensed physical therapists. The PTA program has developed its mission, goals, and objectives to be in synchrony with the task of SABER, Inc. and specific to the professional community that it serves. The program and curriculum are dynamic to meet the community’s changing needs in the physical therapy profession. 

Program Accreditation

(CAPTE) is an accrediting agencyThe physical therapist assistant associate’s degree is fully accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE) and licensed by the Commission for Independent Education (CIE).

The Commission accredits the PTA Program at SABER College on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, Virginia 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org.

Complaints about the program may be directed to CAPTE using the above contact information. It is recommended that the college’s Grievance Policy and due process procedures be followed for complaint resolution before contacting CAPTE. If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 305-443-9170 or email karocha@sabercollege.edu.

Physical Therapist Assistant Admissions Requirements

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