Physical Therapy Aide

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.


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.


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.

  • Registration + Fees

    Begins: Open enrollment | REGISTER

    Course: OPYX800.01

    Tuition: $2,195

  • Outline

    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 

    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 

    Lesson 3 – Basics of Pathology

    • Homeostasis
    • Negative Feedback
    • Vital Signs
    • Important Definitions Related to Pathology
    • Principles of Treatment of Pathology 

    Lesson 4 – Infection Control

    • History of Infection Control
    • Types of Pathogens
    • Transmission of Infection
    • The Disease Process 
    • Preventing the Spread of Infection

    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

     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

     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

     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

     Lesson 9 – Gait

    • Language of Joint Movement
    • Muscles of the Lower Extremities
    • Normal Gait Cycle
    • Disorders That Can Affect Gait
    • Abnormal Gait Patterns

     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

     Lesson 11 – Ambulation Activities

    • Changing Directions
    • Curbs and Inclines
    • Stairs
    • Doors, Elevators, and Automobiles
    • Floors and Falls

     Lesson 12 – Draping and Positioning of Patients

    • Principles of Correct Positioning and Draping
    • Applying Principles to Different Positions
    • Preventive Positioning
    • Draping Patients Correctly 

     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

     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

     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

     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

     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

     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

     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

     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

     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

     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


  • Requirements

    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


    There are no prerequisites for this program. It’s ideal for you if you are interested in obtaining an entry-level position in the popular healthcare field of physical therapy.

  • Instructor

    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.

  • FAQs

    1. Can I register for programs if I am an international student?

    Yes, because ed2go programs are online you never have to actually travel to the school. Most schools offer telephone or online registration.

    2. How long does it take to complete a program?

    All of our programs are self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start them when you want and finish them at your own pace. Upon registering, you are given six months to complete this program.

    3. Do I have to buy additional materials?

    All the materials you'll need are included, and their cost will be covered by your tuition. ed2go will ship all materials ground service upon enrollment.

    4. Can I get financial assistance?

    ed2go courses are non-credit courses, so they do not qualify for federal aid. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses.

    5. What happens when I complete the program?

    Upon successful completion of the program, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

    6. Am I guaranteed a job?

    ed2go programs will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. We don't provide direct job placement services, but our facilitators and career counselors will help you build your resume and are available to give advice on finding your first job. Facilitators will also be available to use as a professional reference upon completion of the program. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

    7. Who will be my instructor?

    Each student is paired up with a facilitator for one-on-one interaction. The facilitator will be available (via email) to answer any questions you may have and to provide feedback on your performance. All of our facilitators are successful working professionals in the fields in which they teach.

    8. What software or hardware do I need in order to take online programs and what are the system requirements?

    In order to take our online programs, you must have access to a computer and the Internet. You can access the program contents from any Web-enabled computer. You don't have to use the same computer to log-in to the program every time. We recommend that you have a word-processing program (Microsoft Word is best) and the latest version of Internet Explorer.

    9. Can I use a Mac?

    This software provided with this program is not compatible with a Mac.

    10. How can I get more information about the program?

    If you have questions that are not answered on our website, please feel free to contact us via LIVE chat (click the button toward the top of the page). If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please feel free to send us a question using the "Contact Us" form to the right. You may also call us at 1-855-520-6806. We will answer your questions promptly.

    11. When can I start the program?

    Our programs are all open enrollment. You can register and start the program as soon as you are ready.

    Please note: Once the program curriculum is accessed online or through submission of a material shipment confirmation, refunds cannot be issued.

    12. 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 program, however, will show prospective employers that you took the time and effort to obtain training for this career.

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

    The time allotted to complete your program has been calculated based on the number of hours for each program, so don't worry too much about not completing in time. If, after a concerted effort, you are still unable to complete, your Student Advisor will help you work out a suitable completion date. Please note that a fee may be charged for an extension.

  • Reviews

    "I enjoyed the feedback in my lesson assignments. It made me feel like what I did meant something and wasn't just ignored." 
- S.G., University College at Bath/Brunswick

    "Every aspect was awesome, never gets boring and keeps your attention. I wasn't big on school but this is the best. I had fun and my teacher was real and quick with help. I am going to be taking another course here in the next month and am looking forward to it. Thanks to everyone." 
- M.H., University of Texas at Arlington, Division of Continuing Education

    "The facilitator, Holly, was excellent. I enjoyed the course, learned a lot, and feel prepared to go out and apply for a job.
" - T.J., Mira Costa College

    "I enjoyed the course material that was given and the freedom to complete the required readings and assignments at my own pace. Every aspect of this course was greater than what I had expected!" 
- S.P., Technical College of the Lowcountry

    "Everything was wonderful and everyone was very helpful. I enjoyed everything about this service. My instructor was awesome! She always gave me helpful and positive feedback.
" - W.P., University of Texas at Arlington, Division of Continuing Education

    "I enjoyed the fact that it was an at-your-own-pace course, which allowed me to work around anything else I had going on. The course text, assignments, and quizzes were also very easy to understand and do and the facilitator always included a comment with assignment grade to indicate what I did right or wrong." - K.P., Waubonsee Community College

    "I enjoyed doing my work at my own pace. When I asked questions I received immediate responses and that’s a big plus for me." 
- W.D., Technical College of the Lowcountry

    "This is my first time taking an online course and it was more fun than a traditional class. It was very easy to understand the information. The exercises in this program enhanced my skills." 
- Y.Y., Three Rivers Community College

    "My instructor, Ms. Holly was awesome and helpful!" 
- J.O., California State University San Marcos