Summer 2019

  • Term Dates: June 3-June 28, 2019
  • Expect your Course Guide:
     The week of Apr. 22
  • Course Request Period:
     Apr. 22-May 6, 4pm
  • Allocation Period: May 7-9
  • Additional Registration Period:
     May 10-17, 4 pm

Fall 2019

  • Term dates: Oct. 7-Nov. 22, 2019
  • Course Request Period:
     Aug. 26-Sep. 9
  • Allocation Period: Sep. 10-12
  • Additional Registration Period:
     Begins Friday, Sep. 13, after 9 am, ends two days prior to each course start date.

Winter 2020

  • Term Dates: Jan. 6-Feb. 21, 2020
  • Course Request Period:
     Nov. 18-Dec. 2
  • Allocation Period: Dec. 3-5
  • Additional Registration Period:
     Begins Friday, Dec. 6, after 9 am, ends two days prior to each course start date.

Spring 2020

  • Term Dates: Mar. 23-May 8, 2020
  • Course Request Period:
     Jan. 27- Feb. 10
  • Allocation Period: Feb. 11-13
  • Additional Registration Period:
     Begins Friday, Feb. 14, after 9 am, ends two days prior to each course start date.

Summer 2020

  • Term Dates: June 1-26, 2020
  • Course Request Period:
     Apr. 20-May 4
  • Allocation Period: May 5-7
  • Additional Registration Period:
     Begins Friday, May 8, after 9 am, ends two days prior to each course start date.
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Course Catalog

Physical Therapy Aide  

Master the skills you need to begin a career as a physical therapy aide. You will learn the responsibilities of a PT aide, patient care, anatomy and medical terminology, and the legal and ethical regulations that affect healthcare providers. 

Are you seeking a career in the fast-growing, high-demand field of healthcare? In this program, you will gain all the skills and information you need to get a job as a physical therapy aide.

First, you will learn what physical therapy entails and explore the different roles of physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, and physical therapy aides. Next, you will discover how therapists evaluate and treat patients and see how PT aides assist them in their important work.

After that, you will learn how to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues and find out how healthcare professionals document the treatments they provide. You’ll also receive a thorough grounding in the principles of ethics and law as they apply to the healthcare field.

As a physical therapy professional, you will need to have a basic knowledge of medical terminology and human anatomy. In this program, you’ll study all of the body’s organ systems, discover the meanings of common terms used in the physical therapy field, and explore the disorders that can cause patients to need physical therapy treatment. You will also learn about gait patterns and the medical problems that affect them.

In your career as a PT aide, you will often work with patients who are in bed or in wheelchairs, so these lessons cover techniques for preventing pressure sores and safely transferring patients. In addition, you will find out how to position and drape patients and become familiar with walkers and other ambulation aids. In addition, while preventing infection is crucial in a healthcare setting, this program will teach you the fundamentals of infection control.

Last but not least, you will receive tips for finding a job in the healthcare field. You do not need any special certification to become a physical therapy aide, so by the time you complete this program, you will be fully prepared to jump into your new career!

Upon registration, you are given six months to complete this program.

This program is compatible with PC and a variety of browsers and browser versions. The software provided with this program is not compatible with Mac. You will need Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader. You will need an Internet connection (high-speed is recommended) and email capability.

The textbooks for this course are covered in your tuition. They are:

  • Principles and Techniques of Patient Care, 5th Edition 
  • Human Diseases, 3rd Edition

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.

I.    Lesson 1 – Introduction to Physical Therapy

    A. Your Instructor
    B. History of Physical Therapy
    C. The Physical Therapy Evaluation
    D. Physical Therapy Treatment
    E. The Rehabilitation Team
    F. Responsibilities, Duties, and Roles of the PT, PTA, and PT Aide

II.    Lesson 2 – Organization of the Human Body

    A. Levels of Organization
    B. Body Regions
    C. Body Cavities
    D. Abdominopelvic Regions and Quadrants
    E. Body and Body Parts Sections
    F. Directional Terms

III.    Lesson 3 – Basics of Pathology

    A. Homeostasis
    B. Negative Feedback
    C. Vital Signs
    D. Important Definitions Related to Pathology
    E. Principles of Treatment of Pathology

IV.    Lesson 4 – Infection Control

    A. History of Infection Control
    B. Types of Pathogens
    C. Transmission of Infection
    D. The Disease Process
    E. Preventing the Spread of Infection

V.    Lesson 5 – Pressure Ulcers

    A. Causes of Pressure Ulcers
    B. Risk Factors for Pressure Ulcers
    C. Staging of Pressure Ulcers
    D. Treatment of Pressure Ulcers
    E. Prevention of Pressure Ulcers

VI.    Lesson 6 – Preventing Injuries

    A. Introduction to Body Mechanics
    B. Anatomy of the Spine
    C. Importance of Correct Posture
    D. Principles and Concepts of Proper Body Mechanics
    E. Lifting Principles and Techniques
    F. Pushing, Pulling, Reaching, and Carrying

VII.    Lesson 7 - Transferring Patients Safely

    A. Terminology for Transfers
    B. Principles of Safe Transfers and Special Precautions
    C. Mobility Activities for Bed
    D. Specific Standing, Sitting, and Lifting Transfers
    E. Use of Mechanical Equipment

VIII.    Lesson 8 – Use of Wheelchairs

    A. Proper Selection and Fit of Wheelchairs
    B. Patient and Family Education
    C. Wheelchair Components and Features
    D. Types of Wheelchairs
    E. Assisted Functional Activities
    F. Independent Functional Activities

IX.    Lesson 9 – Gait

    A. Language of Joint Movement
    B. Muscles of the Lower Extremities
    C. Normal Gait Cycle
    D. Disorders That Can Affect Gait
    E. Abnormal Gait Patterns

X.    Lesson 10 – Ambulation Aides

    A. Measurement and Fit of Ambulation Aids
    B. General Safety Precautions
    C. Tilt Tables and Parallel Bars
    D. Use of Walkers
    E. Use of Crutches
    F. Use of Canes

XI.    Lesson 11 – Ambulation Activities

    A. Changing Directions
    B. Curbs and Inclines
    C. Stairs
    D. Doors, Elevators, and Automobiles
    E. Floors and Falls

XII.    Lesson 12 – Draping and Positioning of Patients

    A. Principles of Correct Positioning and Draping
    B. Applying Principles to Different Positions
    C. Preventive Positioning
    D. Draping Patients Correctly

XIII.    Lesson 13 – Muscular System

    A. Functions and Characteristics of Skeletal Muscle Tissue
    B. Anatomy of Skeletal Muscles
    C. Contraction of Skeletal Muscles
    D. Diseases Affecting the Muscular System
    E. Common Injuries to the Muscular System

XIV.    Lesson 14 – Skeletal System

    A. Organization of the Skeleton
    B. Joints
    C. Types of Bone Tissue
    D. Common Diseases of Bones and Joints
    E. Common Injuries to Bones and Joints

XV.    Lesson 15 – Exercise for the Treatment of the Muscular and Skeletal Systems

    A. How Muscles, Bones, and Joints Work Together
    B. Exercise to Maintain Range of Motion
    C. Exercise to Increase Muscle Strength and Endurance
    D. Exercise Parameters
    E. Supervising a Patient’s Exercise Program

XVI.    Lesson 16 – Physical Modalities for the Treatment of the Muscular and Skeletal Systems

    A. From Injury to Disability
    B. The Stages of Healing
    C. Cold and Heat
    D. Ultrasound, Traction, and Massage
    E. Electrical Stimulation
    F. Contraindications and Precautions

XVII.    Lesson 17 – Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems

    A. The Heart
    B. The Blood Vessels
    C. Disorders of the Cardiovascular System
    D. Anatomy of the Respiratory System
    E. The Interaction Between the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
    F. Disorders of the Respiratory System

XVIII.    Lesson 18 – Nervous System

    A. Organization of the Nervous System
    B. Nerves, Neurons, and Neuroglia Cells
    C. How Neurons Work
    D. The Brain and Spinal Cord
    E. Disorders of the Nervous System

XIX.    Lesson 19 – Treatment of the Cardiovascular, Respiratory, and Nervous Systems

    A. From Pathology to Disability
    B. Treatment of Cardiovascular Disorders
    C. Treatment of Respiratory Disorders
    D. Treatment of Nervous System Disorders
    E. Special Concerns for Pediatric and Geriatric Patients

XX.    Lesson 20 – The Rest of the Organ Systems

    A. The Integumentary System
    B. The Lymphatic System
    C. The Endocrine System
    D. The Digestion System
    E. The Urinary System
    F. Male and Female Reproductive Systems

XXI.    Lesson 21 – Communication in the Physical Therapy Facility

    A. Communicating with the Physical Therapist
    B. Communicating on the Phone
    C. Communicating with the Patient and Family Members
    D. Empathy, Respect, and Patience
    E. Nonverbal Communication
    F. SOAP Notes

XXII.    Lesson 22 – Legal and Ethical Issues for the Physical Therapy Aide

    A. Law and Ethics
    B. The APTA’s Code of Ethics
    C. Patients’ Rights, Negligence, and Malpractice
    D. Patient Confidentiality
    E. Starting Your Career

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.

Holly Trimble has a bachelor's degree in physical therapy from the University of Colorado and a master's degree in pediatric physical therapy from Boston University. She completed an additional 15 credit hours in education at the doctoral level. She worked as a physical therapist for more than 15 years for a school district, infant learning program, and private PT agencies. In addition, she has worked as a private tutor for children with learning disabilities.

Holly has lectured on health-related topics to all age groups, from school-age children to adults, and has been a guest speaker at colleges and universities including Wellesley College, Boston College, MIT, and Boston University. She is also an adjunct professor, teaching college-level anatomy and physiology courses online and in the classroom. She recently received the Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award at the college where she teaches.


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