Physical Therapy Aide Program Description

Feel good about training for a career that helps others feel good.

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Ready to get certified for a job that includes equipment knowledge, office management skills, patient interaction, and a steady paycheck with benefits? This program was designed to help you pass the Certified Physical Therapy Aide Specialist (CPTAS) exam and qualify you to become an in-demand physical therapy aide. You’ll learn to keep the front desk running smoothly, check patients in, prep equipment, keep the facility clean and orderly, and provide procedural assistance when needed. If this role appeals to you, then get the ball rolling! Sign up for this online physical therapy aide training program today.

Program Timeline

If you commit to full-time study, you can be ready to take the certifying exam in four short months. Have a lot going on? Don’t worry—you can take up to 12 months.

Just 4 months of full-time study

Study Format

Whether it’s family, work, jury duty, traffic, or just generally trying to keep it together, life can get hectic. It’s not always possible to fit a rigid learning schedule into the mix. CareerStep programs are super flexible—and this fully online physical therapy aide program is no exception. Dig into the training whenever your schedule allows, complete the modules at your own pace, and contact us anytime you need help.

Learn from home (or anywhere)

Study online (anytime)


This entire course is online, including the learning materials and interactive simulations. You don’t need to buy any books or have anything shipped, and we’ll send you a voucher to take the Certified Physical Therapy Aide Specialist (CPTAS) certification exam, a $175 value, as soon as you complete the course.


We’ll never leave you high and dry during your training. Our support team is here to answer any questions you have, whether it’s related to your computer, the course timeline, a learning objective, or job prospects—just ask.

One-on-one support

Phone, live chat, and email

Physical Therapy Aide Program Modules

Our 265-hour curriculum is divided into 20 modules, which includes simulations, demos, and exam prep.

Program Orientation (1 Hour)

  • Identify the elements, expectations, and requirements of the program.
  • Navigate the program using the pages, menus, and buttons provided.
  • Use the program tools, including the study planner, grade book, and completion report.
  • Be able to contact CareerStep using communication tools, including phone, email, forums, chat rooms, and social media.
  • Identify and use program-specific resources.

Computer Fundamentals (7 Hours)

  • Identify basic computer hardware and interpret system requirements.
  • Navigate a Windows operating system environment as well as install and operate basic software utilities.
  • Use a web browser to navigate between websites in multiple tabs or windows, send and receive email, and access search engines to find information and troubleshoot basic computer problems.
  • Recognize basic technologies related to an office environment.

Microsoft Office Training Orientation (1 Hour)

  • Follow the lesson structure and download available study tools.
  • Navigate the Microsoft Office training modules using the buttons and icons provided.

Word 2019: Beginner (10 Hours)

  • Identify and use the Ribbon, Quick Access Toolbar, tabs, scroll bars, cursor, ruler, and status bar.
  • Create, save, open, edit, navigate, print, share, and recover a document.
  • Edit and format text with options such as alignment, fonts, lists, spacing, tab stops, page format, layout, paragraph alignment and spacing, and copy formatting.
  • Employ the available search and review tools, including spell and grammar check, find and replace, copy, paste, and document view options.

Excel 2019: Beginner (12 Hours)

  • Use the Quick Access Toolbar, title bar, display options, formula bar, and worksheet tab.
  • Create, save, open, edit, navigate, and print a worksheet.
  • Create, edit, delete, and format cells with options such as cell alignment, applying cell styles, splitting cells, merging cells, row and column titles, row and column width, hide and unhide, and page setup and view options.
  • Edit cell data using options and tools such as cut, copy, paste, AutoFill, text tools, and cell references.
  • Create basic, logical, financial, and text formulas.

Outlook 2019: Beginner (12 Hours)

  • Navigate Outlook, delete, restore, and search for items, and use the view tab.
  • Use the mail tools to work with messages, including creating and sending email messages, using quick steps, managing junk mail and automatic messages, and organizing and sorting the inbox.
  • Manage contacts and calendars, including creating and organizing contacts and groups, creating and organizing appointments and events, sending and responding to meeting requests, and working with multiple calendars simultaneously.

Healthcare Structure and Organization (25 Hours)

  • Identify the involvement of everyone in the healthcare system, including consumers, providers, government and regulatory agencies, third-party payers, vendors, and trade associations. Recognize the basic differences between inpatient/outpatient/ancillary services, attending/consulting/referring physicians, and direct care/support services.
  • Identify and describe patient rights and responsibilities.
  • Identify the responsibilities of healthcare-related government agencies.
  • Identify third-party payers and appropriately use the associated terminology in a healthcare documentation context.

Grammar and Punctuation (10 Hours)

  • Identify and correctly use each of the parts of speech.
  • Recognize proper sentence structure and formatting.

Medical Word Building (15 Hours)

  • Identify common medical prefixes, roots, and suffixes.
  • Identify and properly combine word parts to create medical terms.

Mastering Medical Language (23 Hours)

  • Mastering Medical Language (23 Hours)
  • Define common medical slang, jargon, and foreign terms.
  • Distinguish between common similar medical words and word parts.
  • Recognize common medical abbreviations and their meanings.

Anatomy and Pathophysiology (35 Hours)

  • Identify and classify basic disease terms, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments.
  • Identify and describe the basic structure, organization, and functions of human body systems.
  • Identify, define, and accurately spell basic anatomical terms related to the basic structure and function of human body systems.

Working as a Physical Therapy Aide (3 Hours)

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the evolution of the physical therapy profession and describe the roles of rehabilitation team members in modern healthcare.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the physical therapy profession and different physical therapy environments. Demonstrate skills in searching for, applying to, and interviewing for positions as a physical therapy aide.

Patient Interaction (20 Hours)

  • Identify effective, appropriate verbal and nonverbal communication techniques in the physical therapy setting.
  • Delineate the difference between medical law and medical ethics, discuss the need to license medical personnel, understand the legal implications of a patient's medical record, and identify the ethical and legal issues affecting the field of physical therapy.
  • Describe the laws, acts, and regulations pertaining to health information, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and adhere to privacy and security policies.

Documentation and Reimbursement (20 Hours)

  • Identify different components of a medical record, including types of information needed, and be able to demonstrate knowledge of proper healthcare documentation.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the evolution of electronic health record technology, its impact on the healthcare industry, and its use in the medical field.
  • Demonstrate general knowledge of healthcare revenue as well as the ICD coding system and how it’s implemented in the United States.
  • Identify the steps of the claims cycle and demonstrate a basic understanding of the process for filing a claim.

Patient Preparation (20 Hours)

  • Patient Preparation (20 Hours)
  • Prepare equipment and the environment for physical therapy treatments and position patients in the prone, supine, and side-lying positions.
  • Explain the aide’s role in turning and positioning patients, demonstrate types of sitting and standing transfers, and practice proper alignment and body mechanics.

Physical Therapy Modalities (25 Hours)

  • Demonstrate knowledge of normal and deviated gait patterns as well as appropriate methods and devices for training patients in ambulation.
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of types of therapeutic exercises, principles of patient exercise programs, and the components of common therapeutic exercises.
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of heating and cooling agents and therapeutic massage, competency in the administration of these therapy agents, and understanding of the indications and contraindications for use.
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of specialized clinical procedures, competency in the administration of these therapeutic procedures, and understanding of the indications and contraindications for use.

Treating Common Medical Disorders (7 Hours)

  • Define the role of physical therapy in caring for patients with special medical conditions.
  • Discuss the role of the physical therapy aide in assisting with treatment of patients diagnosed with musculoskeletal and neurological disorders.
  • Identify the role of the physical therapy aide in assisting with treatment of patients diagnosed with cardiovascular and respiratory disorders.
  • Identify the role of the physical therapy aide in assisting with the treatment of patients diagnosed with dermatological conditions and disorders of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat.

Treating Physical Dysfunctions (3 hours)

  • Discuss the role of the physical therapy aide in assisting patients with various physical dysfunctions.
  • Discuss the role of the physical therapy aide in treating patients who have had joints replaced.
  • Discuss the role of the physical therapy aide in treating patients with sports injuries.

Physical Therapy Aide - Simulations (15 Hours)

  • Utilize interactive simulations and videos to enhance application of various physical therapy skills, including transferring patients, taping and wrapping, and applying TENS units.
  • Demonstrate basic knowledge of optional career paths related to physical medicine and an understanding of the history of these industries and the current professional outlook.
  • Have the option to view demonstrations of a number of orthopedic and sports massage techniques to enhance your knowledge of this physical therapy skill and to gain familiarity with the massage therapy career path.

Final Exam Preparation (1 Hour)

  • Identify the steps needed to take to be eligible for and effectively prepare for and access the final exam.
  • Identify the format, restriction, and policies of final exams, including scoring, retakes, allowed resources, and time limits.

Physical Therapy Aide Certifications

Once you complete the Physical Therapy Aide program, you’ll be set to take the CPTAS national exam and earn the respective certification, proving your unquestioned qualification for the job.

Certified Physical Therapy Aide Specialist (CPTAS)