A pioneer in the field, Miami Dade College was the first of two schools to graduate the nation’s first Physical Therapist Assistants. Today, we are a leader in the education of PTAs – the continuation of a proud legacy we began in 1967. The Medical Campus Physical Therapist Assistant Program is a two-year course of study requiring 74 credits for an Associate in Science degree. Before entry into the Physical Therapist Assistant program, students must also complete a series of general education and science courses at Miami Dade College. Completion of these courses does not guarantee admission to the program.
The Physical Therapist Assistant program is designed to prepare graduates to practice as an assistant to a Physical Therapist in a variety of healthcare settings. Graduates are eligible to apply to sit for the National licensing exam. The limited and selective admission phase of the program begins in Semester III after successful completion of the required general education courses. The selective admission phase of the program includes didactic and laboratory coursework, as well as supervised clinical education experiences, to prepare graduates to function in the health care delivery system under the supervision of a Physical Therapist.
There are a number of ways that physical therapist assistants may advance in their chosen career. One option is to seek additional education and training to become a full fledged physical therapist. This requires a master’s or doctorate degree as well as more stringent examinations and requirements. However, many physical therapist assistants choose to advance by specializing in a particular physical therapy area such as geriatrics, pediatrics or sports therapy. Others move into office management which might include organizing and managing a group of physical therapist aides or assistants or by directing a specific physical therapy area such as sports therapy.
The program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Physical Therapist Assistant designed to facilitate the development of each student into a competent, entry-level physical therapist assistant. The program regards each student as an active participant bringing a variety of individual needs and attributes to the educational process. The program is committed to preparing the physical therapist assistant students to become lifelong learners and critical thinkers who will be prepared to contribute to the body of knowledge in physical therapy. Graduates of the program will be prepared to work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist in the delivery of rehabilitative care.
Physical therapist assistants (PTA) are skilled technical health personnel who provide physical therapy services under the supervision and direction of a physical therapist. Physical therapist assistants enhance the delivery of physical therapy services by providing delegated interventions such as therapeutic exercise, training in assistive devices, developmental activities, balance and gait training, application of thermal agents, postural training and instruction in body mechanics. Physical therapist assistants help with data collection and must demonstrate the ability to modify intervention techniques as indicated in the plan of care designated by the physical therapist. Excellent communication skills are also necessary for the physical therapist assistant.
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