Physical Therapist Assistants
The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) works with patients under the direction of a licensed physical therapist and implements therapeutic programs which could include the application of physical agents (such as heat, cold, water, electricity) as well as massage, exercise, and functional activities. The PTA also observes the patients during treatment and reports progress to the physical therapist.
Physical therapy patients are those who have not developed or have lost the ability to carry out everyday life skills due to disability, accident, injury, or illness. The goal of physical therapy is to assist patients in learning and improving life skills such as walking and moving about with braces, artificial limbs, and other assistive devices.
Licensure / Practice
A graduate of the program is allowed to practice as a PTA in Hawaii and is eligible to take the examination for a license in states that require a PTA to be licensed.
Aptitudes and interests that may be helpful include a desire to make a difference in people's lives, interest in science and technology, compassion, sensitivity, problem-solving and communication skills, and the ability to follow instructions.
The PTA Program
The PTA program at Kapiolani Community College is a two-year Associate in Science degree curriculum. The first year consists of support courses which can be completed at any accredited college prior to admission to the program. The second year must be taken at Kapiolani as a PTA major, taking courses that combine classroom studies with hands-on laboratory exercises and include supervised clinical experiences at affiliated health-care facilities.