Physical Therapy Assistant Continuing Education Courses & Requirements

Physical therapy assistants must take continuing education courses to retain licensure and remain current with their training. Each state has its own requirements for certification and continuing education.

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Essential Information

Continuing education courses are offered by colleges and universities, as well as independent organizations. PTAs can find CEU coursework through the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) website. APTA also offers its own online continuing education courses, some of which are pre-recorded so that students can take them on their own time. Individuals should check with their state's licensing board to find out if courses need to be taken annually, bi-annually or on another time schedule.

List of Continuing Education Courses

Below are examples of physical therapy assistant continuing education courses offered in a variety of areas.

Orthopedic Function Course

This continuing education course reviews the function and anatomy of the connective tissues. Students examine the clinical aspects of bones and cartilages. They learn about the usual and unusual manual physical therapy techniques.

Pharmacology Course

Comprised of drug classes, this course looks at drugs which are used specifically for physical therapy patients. It focuses on how medications work in conjunction with physical therapy practices. Medications are studied with regards to the conditions they are used for, and their effects on patients.

Health Promotion Rehabilitation Course

Students are introduced to community education and health concepts during this program. Wellness and health promotion customs are explored. Also discussed are stress management, nutrition and fitness.

Law and Ethics in Healthcare Course

Legalities and health care within the realm of physical therapy are explored in this introductory course. Among the topics of discussion are employment law, medical malpractice, preparation of deposition and contract law. Participants also learn about issues in managed care.

Medical Screening Course

Each class participant is taught to recognize cases which require referral to a physician. They learn to differentiate between pain conditions and emergency cases using realistic scenarios. Students may analyze pharmacological therapies and explore medications that support physical therapy. They also learn to recognize and identity various diagnostic imaging machines.


To become certified or registered, physical therapy assistants must have at least an associate's degree through a state-approved educational program. These programs should be accredited by APTA.

Physical therapy assistants must complete the required number of hours of continuing education. Other requirements may include possessing strong moral standards and successful completion of all licensing examinations.

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