Thursday, July 31, 2014

Physiotherapist Assistants – Employment Requirements

Physiotherapist assistants (PTAs) work with licensed or registered physiotherapists, assisting them in their day-to-day functions. They support people whose mobility or ability to function has been impaired due to the process of aging, emotional disability, developmental disability, illness or injury. Their job involves helping people regain their independence, promote movement, use mobility aids, take prescribed exercises, and participate in leisure and social activities.

The professionals may work with diverse population, in terms of age, illness, injury and disability. However, their main responsibility is to take care of patients and promote movement and improve function. But the additional roles and responsibilities may vary depending upon their employment and individual qualifications and work experience. Professionals with years of experience often work at assistant practitioner level and undertake more advanced job responsibilities. They may also seek more advanced career options after undergoing a more advanced education and training program.

Typically, physiotherapist or occupational therapy assistants are employed with hospitals, long term care facilities, nursing homes, seniors’ residences, schools, clinics, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres, outpatient clinics, acute care centres and the private industry.

Entry Requirements

Aspiring physiotherapist assistants (PTAs) and occupational therapist assistants (OTAs) need to undergo at least a post-secondary occupational therapy program and develop required skills and attitude to perform the job. Besides, they must receive a formal training and hands-on experience under the supervision of physiotherapy experts, in order to meet career challenges with professionalism, up-to-date knowledge, enthusiasm and right attitude.

Centennial College’s physiotherapist program runs for two years, through four semesters, incorporating in-class learning, hands-on training and work experience through industry field placements. Students benefit from high academic standards, personal attention, guidance by experts and the opportunity to develop skills in an environment equipped with a wide range of tools used in the industry.

Program Structure

First semester introduces students to occupational therapy and physiotherapy, anatomy and physiology, the healthcare system, normal function and movement and issues in health aging. During second semester, they study human lifespan development, conditions impacting function, physiotherapy interventions – therapeutic exercises, occupational therapy therapeutic skills and therapeutic communication.

Physiotherapy skills – therapeutic modalities, mental health concepts and rehabilitation practice are included in third semester. Fourth semester incorporates rehabilitation practice, helping students gain hands-on training.

Required Skills

Aspiring PTAs and OTAs must learn to respect and care for the uniqueness of individuals and possess effective communication skills, critical thinking and decision-making skills. As the job is very challenging and professionals are required to tolerate regular physical activity throughout the work day, it is important for them to remain self-motivated.

The program helps students develop key competencies required to perform their job effectively and efficiently. Moreover, fieldwork experiences provide them the opportunity to apply their learning into practice in a variety of clinical settings, with a range of client population.

Eligibility Requirements

Students interested in applying to this course will need:
  • Secondary school diploma certificate or equivalent
  • Required minimum scores in English Grade 12 C or University or equivalent
  • Required minimum scores in biology or exercise science Grade 11 C or University, or equivalent