Physical Therapy Aide Certificate

This online certificate program, offered in partnership with ed2go, allows you to 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.

Who Should Attend

Professionals who are interested in obtaining an entry-level position in the popular healthcare field of physical therapy.

Certificate Completion

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.

Delivery Format

  • The entire program is offered online
  • Instructor-facilitated online courses
  • Start anytime during the quarter
  • Learn from the convenience of your home and at your pace

Course Information
Course No. GES 125
Units NC
Fee* $1,895

* Fees are subject to change


Training Time

150 hours; 6 months

 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand Lesson 3 – Basics of Pathology
  • Homeostasis
  • Negative Feedback
  • Vital Signs
  • Important Definitions Related to Pathology
  • Principles of Treatment of Pathology
 - expand Lesson 4 – Infection Control
  • History of Infection Control
  • Types of Pathogens
  • Transmission of Infection
  • The Disease Process
  • Preventing the Spread of Infection
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand Lesson 9 – Gait
  • Language of Joint Movement
  • Muscles of the Lower Extremities
  • Normal Gait Cycle
  • Disorders That Can Affect Gait
  • Abnormal Gait Patterns
 - expand 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
 - expand Lesson 11 – Ambulation Activities
  • Changing Directions
  • Curbs and Inclines
  • Stairs
  • Doors, Elevators and Automobiles
  • Floors and Falls
 - expand Lesson 12 – Draping and Positioning of Patients
  • Principles of Correct Positioning and Draping
  • Applying Principles to Different Positions
  • Preventive Positioning
  • Draping Patients Correctly
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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
 - expand 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

Skill Sets

  • Have a fundamental understanding of what physical therapy entails
  • Explore the different roles of physical therapists, physical therapy assistants and physical therapy aides
  • Communicate effectively with patients and colleagues
  • Learn professional healthcare documentation of treatments
  • Be familiar with the organization of the human body and important anatomical terminology
  • Understand the basics of pathology, vital signs and principles of treatment
  • Techniques for preventing pressure sores and safely transferring patients
  • Fundamentals of infection control
  • How to transfer patients safely in a variety of settings
  • Know the basics about ambulation aids
  • Be prepared to assist patients with ambulation related activities
  • Understand principles of treatment of the muscular, skeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems
  • Be aware of the legal and ethical issues that affect PT aides


Must have access to a computer, Internet and an active e-mail account.

The textbooks for this course are covered in your tuition. They are:

  • Principles and Techniques of Patient Care, 5th Edition
  • Human Diseases, 3rd Edition