Physical therapists work to help patients suffering from illness or injury regain mobility and manage their pain. An online physical therapy certificate will prepare you to enter the workforce as an assistant to these licensed therapists. Courses often include classes in medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology, clinical procedures, and patient relations. Jobs may be found with hospitals, clinics, home health care agencies, rehab facilities, or in private practice offices.

Types of Physical Therapy Certificates

Physical Therapy Assistant

For those interested in health-related online certificate programs physical therapy is certainly a good option. Courses in clinical practice, medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, and patient care will help prepare students for jobs with health practitioners’ offices, clinics, hospitals, and other health care facilities. Graduates of an accredited program should be prepared to sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam to obtain licensure. If you are considered this type of program, please have the following common admissions requirements in mind:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Transcript or GED test scores
  • Application form and fee

Most vocational certificates can be completed in less than one year of full-time study. However, other factors such as how many courses are required for graduation, your level of enrollment, and any breaks taken from the program, can influence time to completion. Those earning their physical therapy assistant certificate online have the flexibility to continue working full or part time if they want to. Most classes run in an asynchronous format, meaning students can log in to the virtual classroom and complete their assignments at whatever times are most convenient for them, as long as set deadlines are met. As an online student, clinical practice components can be arranged in your local area. This is also ideal for busy parents and students with travel limitations.

What’s Next for Certificate Holders?

In most states, graduates of an online certificate program in physical therapy assistance will typically need to obtain licensure. Though the specifics will vary based on where you live, you will usually need to complete an accredited program and pass the National Physical Therapy Exam. Students can then pursue employment with hospitals, clinics, rehab facilities, nursing homes, health practitioners’ offices, and other health care facilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a very strong job outlook for physical therapist assistants, with 46% growth anticipated from 2010 to 2020. This is more than triple the 14% growth expected for jobs overall during this same time period.

In 2012, the mean annual wage reported for physical therapists assistants was $52,320. The most jobs were found with health practitioners’ offices, followed by general medical and surgical hospitals and nursing care facilities. Actual starting pay and job openings will vary however. Level of experience, location, the economic climate, and the specific employer will all influence this.