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Physical Therapy Aide

In this online course, 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 course, you will be fully prepared to obtain an entry-level position as a PT aide in a healthcare facility.

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Physical Therapy Aide

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Details + Objectives

Course Code: GES125

What You Will Learn
  • 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
  • Know how to transfer patients safely in a variety of settings
  • Be familiar with the correct way to position and drape patients
  • Know how to communicate effectively in a physical therapy setting
  • Be aware of the legal and ethical issues that affect PT aides
How the course is taught
  • Self-paced, online course
  • 6 months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 150 course hours
How you will benefit
  • Know how to communicate effectively in a physical therapy setting
  • Understand how you can best help and care for your patients
  • Open the door to new career opportunities as a Physical Therapy Aide


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Introduction to Physical Therapy

Discover the history of physical therapy and the fundamentals of the practice. Learn the basics of physical therapy treatment, as well as the roles and responsibilities of workers within the field.

Organization of the Human Body

Learn extensively about the organization of the human body and its many functioning systems. Throughout this course, you can expect to cover body parts, muscle groups, and how to exercise the various muscle groups.

Pathology Basics

Master the basics of pathology. Learn vital signs, principles of treatment, and important definitions that relate to pathology within physical therapy.

Preventative Care

Study the science of how to limit infections and prevent injuries. Further course material covers how to treat and prevent pressure ulcers, as well as the importance of back and spine health.

Handling Patients and Understanding Bodily Systems

Master how to transfer patients safely as well as how to correctly operate and maneuver wheelchairs. Cover the language of joint movement as how it relates to a normal gait cycle, as well as how to safely and comfortably drape and position patients.

Navigating the Physical Therapy Industry

Cover the fundamentals needed to become an ambulation aide as well as ambulation activities. Learn how to effectively communicate within the physical therapy industry, as well as the legal and ethical issues faced by physical therapists.

  1. Lesson 1 – Introduction to Physical Therapy
    • Your Instructor
    • History of Physical Therapy
    • The Physical Therapy Evaluation
    • Physical Therapy Treatment
    • The Rehabilitation Team
    • Responsibilities, Duties, and Roles of the PT, PTA, and PT Aide
  2. Lesson 2 – Organization of the Human Body
    • Levels of Organization
    • Body Regions
    • Body Cavities
    • Abdominopelvic Regions and Quadrants
    • Body and Body Parts Sections
    • Directional Terms
  3. Lesson 3 – Basics of Pathology
    • Homeostasis
    • Negative Feedback
    • Vital Signs
    • Important Definitions Related to Pathology
    • Principles of Treatment of Pathology
  4. Lesson 4 – Infection Control
    • History of Infection Control
    • Types of Pathogens
    • Transmission of Infection
    • The Disease Process
    • Preventing the Spread of Infection
  5. Lesson 5 – Pressure Ulcers
    • Causes of Pressure Ulcers
    • Risk Factors for Pressure Ulcers
    • Staging of Pressure Ulcers
    • Treatment of Pressure Ulcers
    • Prevention of Pressure Ulcers
  6. Lesson 6 – Preventing Injuries
    • Introduction to Body Mechanics
    • Anatomy of the Spine
    • Importance of Correct Posture
    • Principles and Concepts of Proper Body Mechanics
    • Lifting Principles and Techniques
    • Pushing, Pulling, Reaching, and Carrying
  7. Lesson 7 - Transferring Patients Safely
    • Terminology for Transfers
    • Principles of Safe Transfers and Special Precautions
    • Mobility Activities for Bed
    • Specific Standing, Sitting, and Lifting Transfers
    • Use of Mechanical Equipment
  8. Lesson 8 – Use of Wheelchairs
    • Proper Selection and Fit of Wheelchairs
    • Patient and Family Education
    • Wheelchair Components and Features
    • Types of Wheelchairs
    • Assisted Functional Activities
    • Independent Functional Activities
  9. Lesson 9 – Gait
    • Language of Joint Movement
    • Muscles of the Lower Extremities
    • Normal Gait Cycle
    • Disorders That Can Affect Gait
    • Abnormal Gait Patterns
  10. Lesson 10 – Ambulation Aides
    • Measurement and Fit of Ambulation Aids
    • General Safety Precautions
    • Tilt Tables and Parallel Bars
    • Use of Walkers
    • Use of Crutches
    • Use of Canes
  11. Lesson 11 – Ambulation Activities
    • Changing Directions
    • Curbs and Inclines
    • Stairs
    • Doors, Elevators, and Automobiles
    • Floors and Falls
  12. Lesson 12 – Draping and Positioning of Patients
    • Principles of Correct Positioning and Draping
    • Applying Principles to Different Positions
    • Preventive Positioning
    • Draping Patients Correctly
  13. Lesson 13 – Muscular System
    • Functions and Characteristics of Skeletal Muscle Tissue
    • Anatomy of Skeletal Muscles
    • Contraction of Skeletal Muscles
    • Diseases Affecting the Muscular System
    • Common Injuries to the Muscular System
  14. Lesson 14 – Skeletal System
    • Organization of the Skeleton
    • Joints
    • Types of Bone Tissue
    • Common Diseases of Bones and Joints
    • Common Injuries to Bones and Joints
  15. Lesson 15 – Exercise for the Treatment of the Muscular and Skeletal Systems
    • How Muscles, Bones, and Joints Work Together
    • Exercise to Maintain Range of Motion
    • Exercise to Increase Muscle Strength and Endurance
    • Exercise Parameters
    • Supervising a Patient's Exercise Program
  16. Lesson 16 – Physical Modalities for the Treatment of the Muscular and Skeletal Systems
    • From Injury to Disability
    • The Stages of Healing
    • Cold and Heat
    • Ultrasound, Traction, and Massage
    • Electrical Stimulation
    • Contraindications and Precautions
  17. Lesson 17 – Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
    • The Heart
    • The Blood Vessels
    • Disorders of the Cardiovascular System
    • Anatomy of the Respiratory System
    • The Interaction Between the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
    • Disorders of the Respiratory System
  18. Lesson 18 – Nervous System
    • Organization of the Nervous System
    • Nerves, Neurons, and Neuroglia Cells
    • How Neurons Work
    • The Brain and Spinal Cord
    • Disorders of the Nervous System
  19. Lesson 19 – Treatment of the Cardiovascular, Respiratory, and Nervous Systems
    • From Pathology to Disability
    • Treatment of Cardiovascular Disorders
    • Treatment of Respiratory Disorders
    • Treatment of Nervous System Disorders
    • Special Concerns for Pediatric and Geriatric Patients
  20. Lesson 20 – The Rest of the Organ Systems
    • The Integumentary System
    • The Lymphatic System
    • The Endocrine System
    • The Digestion System
    • The Urinary System
    • Male and Female Reproductive Systems
  21. Lesson 21 – Communication in the Physical Therapy Facility
    • Communicating with the Physical Therapist
    • Communicating on the Phone
    • Communicating with the Patient and Family Members
    • Empathy, Respect, and Patience
    • Nonverbal Communication
    • SOAP Notes
  22. Lesson 22 – Legal and Ethical Issues for the Physical Therapy Aide
    • Law and Ethics
    • The APTA's Code of Ethics
    • Patients' Rights, Negligence, and Malpractice
    • Patient Confidentiality
    • Starting Your Career
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Instructors & Support

Holly Trimble

Holly Trimble earned a bachelor's degree in physical therapy from the University of Colorado, a master's degree in pediatric physical therapy from Boston University, and a master's degree in biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. After working as a physical therapist for many years, Trimble transitioned into teaching. She has lectured on health-related topics to all age groups and works as an adjunct instructor of anatomy and physiology. She received an Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award and is the author of "College Success Now!"




There are no prerequisites to take this course.

This course is ideal for you if you are interested in obtaining an entry-level position in the popular healthcare field of physical therapy.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course must be taken on a PC. Macs are not compatible.

Software Requirements:

  • Windows XP or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge is also compatible.
  • Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
Instructional Materials

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment. The following textbooks will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:

  • Principles and Techniques of Patient Care
  • Human Diseases


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Can I register for a course if I am an international student?

Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.

Does this course prepare for a certification?


When can I start the course?

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

How long does it take to complete this course?

This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive six (6) months to complete the course.

What if I don't have enough time to complete my course within the time frame provided?

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact your Student Advisor to help you work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

What kind of support will I receive?

You may be assigned with an instructor or team of industry experts for one-on-one course interaction. Your support will be available (via e-mail) to answer any questions you may have and to provide feedback on your performance. All of our instructors are successful working professionals in the fields in which they teach. You will be assigned to an Advisor for academic support.

What happens when I complete the course?

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

Am I guaranteed a job?

This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

Can I get financial assistance?

This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more:

How can I get more information about this course?

If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.

Will this course license me to work as a physical therapy aide?

Physical therapy aides are non-licensed healthcare workers. The certificate you'll earn through this course, however, will show prospective employers that you took the time and effort to obtain training for this career.

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