For some people going to school is a challenge, and for others it is an exciting prospect. Regardless of your attitude toward education, you are probably both looking forward to taking a step in the direction of your career goals and a little nervous about what school will bring. For some people the anxiety stems from the fear of the unknown. If you don’t know anything about the school your fears might be compounded. You might worry that you won’t be able to find your way around campus, or you might be afraid that you’ll have mean or difficult teachers. If the field of physical therapy is a new one to you, you might also be wondering what your classes will be like. Even if your first day of school is near and you’ve already registered for classes, a class on “patient interventions” might leave you scratching your head. What exactly does that mean? Will I like it, or at least find it interesting? Below is a list of some potential classes you could take as a physical therapist assistant in training. This is by no means a comprehensive list and doesn’t necessarily reflect the exact courses you will take, as they vary by institution, but it can offer you an idea of what kinds of concepts you will study over the course of your education.
This classes introduces some basic principles of musculoskeletal anatomy, which is the study of your muscles and bones. You will also learn about kinematics, which is the study of a type of physics that deals with the body’s motion. You will also learn the practical application of clinical assessment, or how to apply what you’re learning to patients in a clinical setting. This might include learning to locate specific muscles, bones, and joints and assessing various measures of both strength and motion in patients.
Cardiopulmonary and Integumentary Conditions
The term “cardiopulmonary” refers to the hearts and lungs. The term “integumentary” refers to the body’s protective system, which includes the skin, hair, and nails. Although this may seem like a more general medical class, there are certain conditions for which people would seek the help of a physical therapist that can also affect these systems. This knowledge will be especially pertinent if you deal with elderly individuals who are often suffering from multiple conditions. In this class you will learn about PT interventions as well.
This is the class in which you implement a variety of exercise principles. If in kinesiology (and anatomy and physiology, and other courses as well) you learn about the body, in this class you learn about how that knowledge is useful in physical therapy. You study different exercises and how they affect different muscle groups and nerves, as well as what other positive effects they could have on a patient’s health. You will also learn how to apply this practically in a clinical setting, such as how to implement the exercises, how to educate the patients about exercise, how to adapt your exercises to different patients’ needs, and how to assess any physical responses the patients might have to specific exercises.
As has been stated, there are many more classes that you will take in order to get your associate’s degree, and in fact your school might not even have classes by these exact names. But these course descriptions give you an idea of what you can expect from your physical therapist assisting studies.