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Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant

Program Duration: 70 weeks

Rehabilitation Therapy Assistants, or RTAs, work alongside physiotherapists and occupational therapists to help clients rehabilitate their injuries. RTAs can be found in hospitals, physiotherapy clinics, long-term care facilities and rehabilitation centres.

RTAs need to be cognizant of the best practices in occupational and physiotherapy practices, as well as emerging trends in the healthcare system, and the latest advances in theory and technology in the field. Getting relevant post-secondary training to be an RTA is vital, and the best place to get trained is the Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant diploma program at CDI College.

Become a Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant

As part of your training to become an RTA, you will become familiar with important facets of human anatomy and movement, physiology, human development, therapeutic recreation, gerontology, and more.

In the Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant program at CDI College, you'll also gain a solid understanding of the process of rehabilitation and how to assist people with physical disabilities, mental health difficulties, neurological conditions, and paediatrics.

Hands-on Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant Training

Before graduating from the program, you'll get a chance to test out your new skills in a 500-hour clinical practicum placement, ensuring you'll be job-ready and prepared to move into your new career as a RTA immediately.


Program Courses

PSBE - Pre-Science Basics
This course provides an introduction to the basic principles of chemistry, equations, medical terminology, and human physiology in order to prepare students for the more advanced course of study in this diploma program. Study skills for learning the sciences are also discussed in order to facilitate the student’s learning process. Topics include: major components of the cell, basic concepts of chemistry, matter, mass, weight, volume and density, chemical bonds, calculations and equations, and introduction to the study of the human body.
SSSE - Student Success Strategies

This course will introduce students to skills and concepts that will help them achieve personal, academic, and career success: Personality styles, goal setting, time management, stress management, study skills, and communication skills/conflict management.

IRHE - Introduction to Rehabilitation
This course introduces students to the field of rehabilitation. It addresses the diversity of the roles and relationships of health professionals within the field of rehabilitation and within the health care system. Students will address issues including professionalism, the roles and responsibilities of the physiotherapist assistant and occupational therapist assistant, models of health care, and professional ethics. The course will discuss the Canadian health care system, professional conduct, professional boundaries as well as the importance of confidentiality between the client and the practitioners. Extensive hands-on exercises throughout the course will allow you to practice and reinforce the skills you acquire, while progress check questions at the end of every module will give you the opportunity to test your knowledge of the presented material.
PSKE - Professional Skills
This course is designed to equip students with inter-personal skills identified by employers as essential for success in the professional world. Using a variety of instructional methods including case studies, group exercises and discussion, students learn and practice key communication skills.
ANPE - Anatomy and Physiology
This component of the program is designed to introduce students to the structures and functions of the human body. Emphasis is placed on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems as well as on surface anatomy. This course will provide the foundation for the study of human disorders, the bio-mechanics of human motion, and therapeutic interventions for disabling conditions.
HUDE - Human Development
This course traces human development from conception to death. Topics include the interaction of heredity and environment, age group characteristics, physiological and psychological problems that appear throughout the lifespan. A focus is placed on the appreciation of how human development relates to the disciplines of physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
FMVE - Functional Movement
Students are provided with an understanding of normal human motion. The course addresses topics that include joint mobility, muscle tone, range of motion, normal gait and normal posture. Students are also introduced to skills including palpation and observations skills, limb and patient handling. This provides an emphasis on both theoretical and practical skills. Topics include: goniometry, arthro-kinematics, osteo-kinematics, types of range of motion, basic techniques for limb and patient handling, manual muscle testing techniques, Normal human gait, common gait dysfunctions, measurement and instruction of assistive devices, normal posture, body mechanics for the health care provider, movement changes that occur during the aging process, professional conduct and documentation techniques.
HDOE - Human Disorders
Human Disorders introduces students to a variety of disabling conditions, based on broad diagnostic categories. This course addresses both physical and psycho-social conditions specific to the pediatric, adult and geriatric population. They are addressed within the framework of impairment, disability and handicap. The course provides a brief review of the body systems and disorders related to each of these systems. Topics include: World Health Organization’s definition of ‘health’, ‘Impairment’, ‘disability’, and ‘handicap’, introduction to pathophysiology, infection, inflammation and tissue healing, neoplasms, fluid and electrolyte imbalances, understanding pain, influence of stress on health, cardiovascular system disorders, respiratory disorders, the neurological system and disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems, spinal cord injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, and digestive and urinary systems disorders.
AB-CRTOC - Clinical Rehabilitation Techniques I - Orthopaedic Conditions
The goal of this course is to develop the student's knowledge and skill in therapeutic activities in physical therapy. Topics include therapeutic techniques for orthopedic conditions. An emphasis will be placed on practical skills, as well as the indications, contraindications and precautions for a variety of interventions. Topics include: supervision of patients in a clinical setting, passive ROM exercises – theory and practical skills, active-assisted ROM – theory and practical skills, resistance exercises – theory, types of resistance, practical lab, stretching techniques – theory and practical skills, understanding and correction of postural dysfunctions, repetitive strain injuries, common paediatric disorders, amputation – common causes, levels of amputation, basic treatment skills, and practical skills, hip and knee joint replacements – theory, exercise, ambulation and transfer techniques.
CM1E - Communications 1 - Client Care
This course is designed to increase the students understanding and implementation of effective interpersonal communication behaviors and skills, with particular emphasis on the therapeutic relationship and the professional relationship with clients and colleagues. Throughout the course we will examine basic verbal and nonverbal elements affecting communication between individuals in family, peer group, and most importantly, in work contexts. The course will include a review of interpersonal communication theory (from Success Strategies), including personality style theory and how it impacts personal and professional relationships, conversation management on the health care team (including the job interview), effective listening with patients, therapeutic and interpersonal relationships, conflict management and maintaining professional boundaries. Culture and its relationship to communication and how they affect each other is a major topic covered in this course. Students will explore the effect of culture on health care interventions and the impact of cultural differences in communication style. The course will present trans-cultural communications including it's nature and principles and ways to improve it. Finally, students will study ethics in communicating with patients, interviewing new patients, and public speaking in the health care environment.
AB-CRTTE - Clinical Rehabilitation Techniques II - Therapeutic Exercise
The goal of this course is to develop the student's knowledge and skill in therapeutic activities in physical therapy. Topics include therapeutic exercise techniques for a variety of conditions. An emphasis will be placed on practical skills, as well as the indications, contraindications and precautions for a variety of interventions. As part of this course students will also gain an overview of the area of therapeutic recreation and the role that the physiotherapist assistant and occupational therapy assistant can occupy in this sector.
AB-CM2CR - Communications II - Client Record Management
This course is designed to introduce the Physiotherapist/Occupational Therapist Assistant to Client Record Management in the different practice settings. The ability to provide clear, concise, and accurate documentation is integral to the role of the assistant. Assistants will be required to document the treatment provided under the direction of the registered practitioner, within professional, legal and regulatory guidelines and requirements. This course will provide the student with an overview of commonly used methods of documentation, legal and regulatory guidelines for patient charts and clinical records, confidentiality, and the role of the assistant in the management of both paper based and electronic client records.
GERE - Introduction to Gerontology
The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a bio-psycho social perspective on aging. Individual and group treatments focusing on medications, mobility, fall prevention, vision impairments and communications impairments. The course will focus on working with elders who have: conditions and diseases of the aged and aging, dysphasia, cerebrovascular accidents, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, orthopaedic conditions, cardiovascular conditions, pulmonary conditions, oncological conditions, cognitive impairment/dementia and related conditions.
AB-CR3NC - Clinical Rehabilitation III - Neurological Conditions
The goal of this course is to develop the student's knowledge and skill in therapeutic activities in physical therapy. Topics include therapeutic techniques for neurological conditions. An emphasis will be placed on practical skills, as well as the indications, contraindications and precautions for a variety of interventions. Topics covered include genetic disorders (neurological), Parkinson's disease, cerebrovascular accidents, acquired brain injury, Cerebral palsy, and Multiple Sclerosis.
TRDE - Therapeutic Recreation Program Facilitation
This course will explore the importance of using recreation and leisure activity as therapy and the role of the rehabilitation assistant in the implementation and facilitation of therapeutic recreation services. Students will develop the ability to implement a variety of individual and group techniques, utilize a variety of assistive devices and techniques, apply therapeutic recreation content and services, and apply activity and task analysis in the delivery of therapeutic service. Students will examine the potential benefits in a variety of recreational activities.
AB-PHAPO - Physical Agents in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy
This course covers the theory and application of therapeutic modalities used in physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Emphasis is placed on indications, contraindications and safety considerations in the application of a variety of modalities. Students will learn the practical skills required to safely and effectively apply these modalities. Subjects include: review of pain and inflammation and the role of modalities in their treatment, guidelines for use of electrotherapy modalities in physiotherapy and occupational therapy applications, therapeutic effects of thermal agents in physiotherapy and occupational therapy, practical applications of heat and cold, therapeutic ultrasound – theory and practical application in physiotherapy and occupational therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – theory and practical application in physiotherapy and occupational therapy, neuromuscular electrical stimulation – theory and practical application in physiotherapy and occupational therapy, use of interferential current therapy – theory and practical application in physiotherapy and occupational therapy, care and testing of electrotherapy leads and equipment, treatment of edema using an intermittent compression pump, hydrotherapy – principles and application techniques in physiotherapy and occupational therapy, overview of cervical and lumbar traction in physiotherapy and occupational therapy applications, and an introduction to the theory of therapeutic light.
RBPE - Rehabilitation Processes
Students are provided with the knowledge and practical skills required for basic patient care management. This course provides an overview of patient positioning and draping, wheelchairs, lifts and transfers. The knowledge acquired from the previous Anatomy and Physiology, Human Development, and Human Disorders courses is applied to assist in the determination of the purpose, benefit, functional sequence and safety precautions of movement and positioning procedures. Students are also provided with insight into accessibility issues. First Aid – CPR training is normally scheduled during this module as well.
AB-CCSEI - Clinical Case Studies and Interprofessional Collaboration
The purpose of this course is to provide the student with the opportunity to integrate and consolidate the theory and practice of managing complex patient situations. The student will use critical thinking skills to appropriately implement components of a treatment plan as prescribed by and under the supervision of a physiotherapist. An understanding of the roles of other health care professionals in a patient’s care and their interaction with these services will be explored. The course will focus on the more complex patients who require physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and other disciplines of the health care team. This course will be a combination of small group tutorials and problem solving sessions along with a self-directed study component. The students will have the opportunity to practise their problem-solving skills in complex patient situations.
OT1E - Therapeutic Techniques - Physical Disabilities

This course introduces students to the philosophy and principles of the practice of occupational therapy and provides the opportunity to learn about the scope of service of the OT and OTA. A variety of physical disabilities will be explored and students will be familiarized with intervention strategies and therapeutic activities. Topics include: History of OT and OTA, domain of practice, model of human occupation, Canadian model of occupational performance, neurodevelopmental treatment approach, sensory integration, energy conservation, assistive devices for activities of daily living , activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, activity analysis, splinting techniques, orthotics, wheelchairs and seating considerations, physical dysfunctions, chronic degenerative conditions, and comorbidity / comorbid pathologies.

AB-OTTMH - OTA Therapeutic Techniques - Mental Health

The objective of this course is to introduce students to the field of occupational therapy in mental health, familiarizing them with the theory and therapeutic techniques applied by the occupational therapist working in mental health. Topics include: History of occupational therapy in mental health ‘Mental illness defined Models of mental health Practice models in mental health – cognitive disabilities, role acquisition, social skills training, mental health rehabilitation, development of adaptive skills, sensory integration, Major mental health diagnoses, including DSM-IV criteria, pathophysiology, etiology, signs and symptoms, impact on function, symptoms and behaviours, occupational therapy process, life skills, support groups, group dynamics, and leadership group creation and facilitation.

OT3E - OTA Therapeutic Techniques - Paediatrics
This course will cover the fundamentals of paediatrics that an OTA needs to be familiar with. Paediatric health conditions, the occupational therapy process, paediatric assistive devices, and the scope of practice will be covered.
PTA500 - Clinical Placement
This mandatory 500-hour clinical placement provides students with an opportunity to develop and practice basic competency level skills in observation and treatment techniques under the supervision of either a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist. Based on the student’s area of interest, the clinical placement can be completed in any of these specialty settings. The practicum is also an opportunity for learning new skills specific to the chosen setting.
CESE - Career and Employment Strategies

This course builds on the skills learned in the Student Success Strategies course or its equivalent.  It provides information on how to use the communication skills learned in order to make a successful presentation to a prospective employer.  Students also learn how to uncover the hidden job market and identify employment opportunities.  Self-assessment during this course allows students to identify their personal skills that are transferable to the work place and to describe these skills to a prospective employer.  Students may be videotaped during a mock interview and will participate in the analysis of their performance in the “interview”.

Start Training to Become a Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant!

Start training at CDI College for a rewarding career as a rehabilitation therapy assistant. No waitlists - register now! 

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