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ed2go Health and Fitness Wellness Become a Physical Therapy Aide
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Become a Physical Therapy Aide

Prepare for a rewarding career as a valued member of the physical therapy team while learning all about the human body, specific disorders, and the way physical therapists treat these disorders. You will explore the history of physical therapy and the relationships between physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy aides. You will learn how to communicate effectively with other health care professionals and patients. You'll also come to understand the medical documentation that physical therapists use and principles of ethics and law that affect the PT aide.

Physical therapists often use words and terms that may be unfamiliar to you, so we'll devote some time to learning much of the language of PT. You'll learn proper body mechanics and how to safely move patients. You will come to understand the normal gait cycle, and you'll learn how to help patients walk with assistive devices like walkers, crutches, and canes. You will also investigate various balance and coordination disorders. By the time you finish this six-week course, you'll have gained valuable knowledge and be well on your way to becoming an important member of the physical therapy team!

6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
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Starting March 13 | April 17

Become a Physical Therapy Aide


Details + Objectives

Course Code: pta

What You Will Learn
  • Learn about the human body, specific disorders, and how physical therapists can treat these disorders
  • Learn about proper body mechanics and how to safely help patients with range of motion
  • Explore the history of physical therapy and identify the various functions carried out by working physical therapists
  • Acquire needed skills for communicating with sick or injured people, and learn how to demonstrate the traits of empathy, respect, and patience as a PT
How the course is taught
  • Instructor-led course
  • 6 weeks in duration
  • Courses begin each month
  • 2 lessons released each week
  • 24 course hours
How you will benefit
  • Gain valuable communication skills and insights about the human body that are valuable in any line of work
  • Attain the crucial knowledge and skills you will need to advance toward a rewarding career in physical therapy
  • Discover strength training, aerobic exercises, and range-of-motion exercises that are personally beneficial to you - and to those you love


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Week 1

Learn about the history of PT and how two wars and an epidemic created a need for this profession. You will understand the important difference between PTs, PT assistants, and PT aides as you come to understand the special role of PT aides. Then, learn about some of the challenges you'll face when communicating with sick or injured people, and how to demonstrate the traits of empathy, respect, and patience.

Week 2

Learn the differences between law and ethics and why you must be concerned about both. You will review the American Physical Therapy Association's Code of Ethics, and apply its principles to PT aides. Then, learn the language that PTs use by examining the planes of the body and directional terms. You will also learn the terms that define the body's major regions and body cavities.

Week 3

Discover how the human body is organized, from atoms to an entire individual. You will examine the muscular, skeletal, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, and lymphatic systems. Then, discover how our organ systems are interrelated and how a problem with one system will affect the others.

Week 4

Learn about the chain of infection and what you can do to break that chain so problems won’t spread from one person to another. You will review guidelines from the CDC, patient-care equipment, environmental control, and the role of vaccinations. Then, focus on proper body mechanics and safe patient transfers. You will learn principles for using proper body mechanics and guidelines for moving patients in a variety of different situations.

Week 5

Learn about the conditions that make it hard for people to walk. You will discuss various ambulatory devices including parallel bars, walkers, crutches, and canes and how they're used in PT. Then, examine the relationship between a disease or injury and a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living.

Week 6

Learn the three types of exercise used by PTs: strength training, aerobic exercise, and range-of-motion exercise. You will learn how muscles are put together and why resistance is necessary to build strength. Finally, explore balance, coordination, and developmental delays. You will learn about a special sensory system called the vestibular system and how important it is for maintaining balance.

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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!”


Prerequisites / Requirements


There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements: 

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac device.

Software Requirements: 

  • PC: Windows XP or later.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are 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 and will be available online.


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When can I get started?

A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits.

How does it work?

Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

How long do I have to complete each lesson?

The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

What if I need an extension?

The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final exam has been released, you will have two weeks plus 10 days (24 days total) to complete the final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.

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