Students today have more choices than ever when it comes to what school they want to attend and what type of program they want to complete. Online education has greatly expanded the offerings, and now students can choose between taking traditional courses in a classroom or doing their schoolwork online.
Many physical therapist assistant schools have both on-campus and online offerings. Note that all accredited online physical therapist assistant programs are actually hybrid, which means students are required to visit campus periodically for lab work and clinical training. Because of the hands-on nature of the program, the American Physical Therapy Association does not allow fully online programs. So if you see a school advertising a fully online program, beware—it is not a reputable, accredited institution.
Here are some things to consider when deciding which format is right for you.
Are you going to school full-time or are you trying to balance school along with work and family commitments? Many students who have other demands on their time often prefer online programs because of their flexible schedules.
How far is the school from where you live? Although you will need to visit campus to complete your lab assignments and clinical training, if you have to drive 30 minutes or more to school every day, you might want to take some of your courses online. Think of all of the extra studying you could get in during that hour you would normally spend driving back and forth.
If the online component of the program is well established, go for it. But many schools and programs are moving online for the first time. Give them some time to work the bugs out.
Online courses are great for many people, but only if you have a fast, reliable computer and are comfortable using it for things like reading, watching videos, working through simulations, downloading and uploading files, participating in group discussions, and taking timed tests. These are all major elements of online courses, and if your computer is older or you aren’t very technologically savvy, you might be happier in an on-campus course.
One of the things that can make online courses difficult is that they require students to be highly motivated to succeed. Although there are deadlines, discussions, and so forth, since there are no regular class times, it can be easy to fall behind on readings and assignments. If you do choose to pursue your education online, you will need to set up systems to keep yourself motivated and on track.
Online programs have greatly expanded access to education for many people, especially those who need more flexibility than most on-campus programs can provide. If this format sounds like it would be right for you, find out which physical therapist assistant schools offer online programs and enroll today.