When searching for the right educational program for learning to become a physical therapy assistant, just as with any other study program, the quality of the course should be an important consideration.
While there are both short courses as short as 10 months, and full 2-year college courses available, what is most imperative is finding one that is accredited.
Only by doing so will students be able to enroll in schooling with the confidence that their program of choice is going to actually prepare them for their intended career.
The Importance of Enrollment in an Accredited Physical Therapy Assistant Program
The main importance in getting an education from a physical therapy assistant program that is accredited is that the student can be certain they are being presented with correct, relevant information which will enable them to start a successful career as a PTA.
There are many different educational programs to choose from today, offered by colleges, vocational and business schools, both online and offline; not all of them offer the same quality of education, however.
Through accreditation with main the main governing associations that monitor course curriculums being sold to prepare prospective PTAs, students will know they are paying for the best information and education that is available to them, and in a format that will best prepare them for testing and/or licensure.
With an accredited program, study curriculums are created by these associations with students' futures in mind, and the understanding that proper training today will create the best-qualified professionals tomorrow.
They ensure that course writers are up to date on latest techniques, medical laws and requirements, and all pertinent information so that students are getting a relevant education.
While it is possible for those enrolled in non-accredited courses to become licensed, employers look at accreditation very favorably. To them, it is a way to gauge the education that an applicant has, and what kind of training they are likely to need before they can become a fully functioning member of the staff.
While it is possible for candidates to take their licensing exams or other necessary testing without having attended an accredited study course, employer consideration should definitely be recognized as a potential benefit.
Also, should the student wish to further their career in the future and go on to become a licensed physical therapist (PT), having attended an accredited program will ensure that as many credits as possible will count toward obtaining that more specified degree.
Recognizing an Accredited Physical Therapy Assistant Program
In most cases, any type of educational program is likely to prominently state on their website and in their course information material that they are accredited, and whom with.
For a lesser-known course, or a program that does not specify directly, interested people can always inquire from accreditation bodies themselves whether or not a study course carries recognition or not.
In the US, the nationally recognized agency that monitors courses for educating to become a PTA is the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
There are currently 211 approved programs that hold this qualification in the US. In Canada there currently are no accredited programs for becoming a physical therapy assistant; students earn their title of PTA after passing a licensing examination only.
In the UK, while there are no "accredited" programs per se, there are educational courses that have been created in conjunction with the NHS to fulfill the necessary educational requirements for students to be eligible for employment as a physiotherapy assistant.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is a privately funded organization that helps guide and govern the available training courses, and offers approval to courses that fit their qualifications.
At this time there are 35 different universities and schools offering CSP Approved courses for physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants, and for physiotherapy assistants who are in need of more in-depth education in order to obtain specialty positions.
Although it may seem like any program with the same classes might be fine, it is highly recommended that students research to ensure that a program they are interested in is an accredited physical therapy assistant program before enrolling.
Doing so helps ensure that their tuition dollars are well spent on an approved, expertly crafted curriculum that will not only prepare them for licensing examinations, but look the best to prospective employers as well.