PTA Refresher Course – FAQ

Basic Refresher Course for Physical Therapist Assistants

(PTA 2780)

Frequently-Asked Questions

1. The course already started (or is full) and I’d like to join.  What do I do??

There are size limits for the course for a reason, so if the course is full, you may have to wait until the next semester (the course is offered spring and fall semesters).  However, students do occasionally drop the course shortly before or after the start date and so watching the course schedule ( and click on “course schedule”) for openings is always a good idea.

If there are openings and the course started less than a week ago, it is possible you can join in and catch up.  Beyond that, adding the course late is NOT recommend unless you have LOTS of time to devote to the course (i.e., not working, an abundance of free time).   The course is very challenging as it is, and to try to catch up by starting very late, a student will potentially become very overwhelmed and frustrated.   If interested in adding the course after the start date, you will need to complete the appropriate late add LSC Petition Form and print/scan/email it to Heidi Ramsdell at  Please also send an email to Heidi Ramsdell notifying her that you are petitioning for late start.

2.  My computer skills are sketchy and/or I have never taken an online course before.  How can I prepare?

As you might expect, an online course will be more challenging than an on-ground (“live”) course if a student has very little experience with computers.   There are many helpful resources for students who need to update their computer skills, and you can start at

Many students without strong computer skills have taken the course successfully, although they will initially find the course  VERY challenging as a result of the “learning curve” about the technology.  Usually, after the first week or two of the course, most students can figure out how to navigate the course.

3.I’ve failed the NPTE in the past.  Will this course help me?

Many students who have not been successful taking the NPTE in the past have taken this course.  Those who have kept up with the work have commented that the course was helpful in improving their knowledge and their test-taking skills.  A number of students who had unsuccessfully attempted the NPTE exam two or three times with scores above 560 were able to pass the exam after taking this course.  Each student is different, but careful study of course content and attention to test-taking strategy as described in the course will make most students successful on the exam.  It’s also expected that students with lower NPTE scores (below 540) may need additional remediation before or after taking the course.

4.I don’t have access to a computer and/or the internet.  Should I still take the course?

No. The course is offered entirely through the internet.  Discussions occur and assignments are posted online.  It would be possible to take the course if you had access to the internet two to three times per week at a minimum (i.e., through a local library, university, or internet café).  You could complete readings and assignments offline and participate in electronic group discussions when you were online.  However, for the greatest flexibility, regular internet access is suggested.

5. What is this online course like?  Do I have to be online at certain times of the day?

No.  The online format allows you to complete assignments and participate in online discussions at times that work for you.  There is no set time you have to be online.  The system is available to you 24 hours per day except during scheduled downtimes for maintenance (these are infrequent).  Students who have never taken an online course in the past will most likely find the first two weeks challenging as they learn to navigate the course.

6.How much time do I need to devote to this course?

To get the most out of the course, you should SCHEDULE at least 10-12 hours per week to devote to reading, completing assignments, and participating in the online discussion.  If you have been out of the field more ten years or more, you should expect you will need to devote even more time.  While you can break these hours up any way you like, it is advised to spread the hours over several days each week to improve retention of information (rather than trying to do it all in one day).   Every student is different, but to get the most out of the course, there needs to be an ongoing commitment to spending time, on a regular basis, reviewing material and completing assignments.

7.  I’ve been out of the field for many, many years.  Will this course benefit me?

YES!! This course should significantly help clear the cobwebs!  It would especially help if you did spend some time practicing as a PTA after graduation prior to taking time off from the field.  Of course, the longer you have been away from health care the more important it is for you to review basic anatomy and physiology prior to starting the course.  We do not review these concepts in the course.   Students who have been out of the field for almost 20 years have taken the course and reported they found it helpful as a starting point for returning to the field.  However, you will undoubtedly need to put more time into the course than someone who has not been out of the field for a long time.

8.I’ve signed up for the course.  What do I do now??

Here are several things you should do before the class starts, in no particular order.

a.  get your textbook (PTAEXAM: The Complete Guide) from  We will use the 2022  edition.  Do not peek at the exams/tests in the book.  We’ll use them in class and they aren’t valid for you if you look at them in advance. IF YOU’VE ALREADY WORN HOLES IN YOUR SCOREBUILDERS BOOK AND TAKEN ALL THE PRACTICE TESTS, YOU SHOULD GET A DIFFERENT REVIEW BOOK FOR PRACTICE TESTS (readings will still come from the Scorebuilders book).  TherapyEd is the recommended alternative book.

b.  review basic anatomy/physiology concepts for the major systems of the body.  If you don’t already have a good anatomy atlas, it is STRONGLY recommend that you get one (Netter is recommended).

c.  find your PTA school textbooks in the attic, dust them off, and get ready to use them as resources.  If you don’t have them anymore, borrow some from a practicing PT or PTA if possible.  Browse them to start clearing the cobwebs.

d.  consider purchasing a PT reference book such as The Rehabilitation Specialists’s Handbook by Rothstein, Roy, and Wolf.  You can find these used through online stores such as

e.  learn more about online courses at LSC, find out about the technical requirements, and assess your readiness to take an online course

f.  schedule time each week to devote to the course.  Mark it on your calendar (the one on the fridge AND/OR the one on your computer/phone, too!)  You will need to commit AT LEAST 10-12 hours per week to this course.

g.  be sure you have an operational computer with a reliable, high-speed connection to the internet as this is required.   Also, your computer will need to be able to play sound clips.  If you can hear music or other sounds from your computer, you’re probably fine.

9. I’m having trouble registering for or accessing the course.  Who can I contact??

For technical difficulties enrolling in or accessing the course, please contact or Please do not contact the course instructor with these issues.  The help desk phone number is (218) 733-1016, or toll-free (800) 432-2884, extension 1016.  Hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 to 4:30pm CST.  See also the FAQ below which includes step-by-step instructions to register for the course.

10.  How exactly do I register for the course? (these instructions may change – see details about creating an account as a “guest student” if the instructions below do not work.

To register for the Lake Superior College PTA Basic Refresher course:

1.  Go to

2.  Click “course schedule”

3.  Choose the appropriate semester.

4.  For subject, scroll down and select “Physical Therapist Assistant.”

5.  Click “submit.”

6. Find the course, and click the “add to cart” icon on the left. If the course does not come up, it is probably full.

7. Login to Lake Superior College. If you don’t have a login, look for the words “Need an ID? and click on the “Sign up Now” link.

8.  On the next page, you will probably have to click “create an account” again, unless you already have an account at another MinnState school.

9.  Complete the required information to generate an account.  This will give you a username and password.  Save this.  Once you have it, you can register for the course.  You may need to start this process again and repeat steps 1 through 7 as needed.  Continue until you are registered for the course. If you continue to have difficulties, please call the LSC help desk phone number is (218) 733-1016; hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 to 4:30pm CST.

10.   Is there financial aid for this course?

If the PTA Basic Refresher course is not part of a degree, certificate, or diploma, there is NOT financial aid offered by LSC for students who are taking ONLY the refresher course (and not seeking a degree).  Students are encouraged to explore opportunities for financial assistance with their current or future employers.

11. How much does the course cost?  Is the textbook included?

The course is a 2-credit course so costs are based on current tuition rates.  As with most college courses, textbook costs are additional.  Typically the cost to take the course is approximately $400-450 including tuition and fees (again, this does not include the cost of the course textbook).  For current tuition and fees, go to or call the LSC Business Office at (800) 432-2884 (ask for the Business Office).  You will also be able to see exact fees for the course on the course description page as you begin the registration process.

12.  What if I have other questions not covered here?

For specific course questions, please send your questions to Heidi Ramsdell at  If your questions relate to registering for the course or obtaining an LSC ID number, contact