Primary Care Physical Therapy Online

Direct Access & Primary Care Physical Therapy Course

As PTs become primary care providers and gain further patients through direct access, we as a profession will need to gain a broader understanding of our role within the medical system in order to better serve our patients. This course is especially helpful for clinicians working in rural areas, with underserved populations, or medically complicated patients.

More and more often patients are referring themselves to physical therapy, aware of our services, skill sets, and general knowledge of the body. With these new patients comes a new level of responsibility within the healthcare system. Physical therapists will need to gain further general medical knowledge, appropriate screening techniques, and an understanding of how different medical conditions can change the safety of our practice and the specifics of our exercise prescription.

The online Primary Care PT course offers students a systems based approach to understanding the most common medical maladies and how they will affect patient care. We dive into multiple components of each disease process, from common symptom presentation and risk factors to specific testing and referral. This course educates participants not only on how to identify underlying medical issues, but also how to educate your patient on their best options and get your patient to the most specific provider when necessary. Additionally, PTs will gain a better understanding of preventative screening techniques, including vitals, in order to play a larger role in patients’ general wellness and implement preventative strategies.

This course is not just an upgrade to any differential diagnosis class you’ve ever taken, it provides ACTIONABLE elements to what you as a PT can do to help your patients through their course of care. The population is growing much faster than the physician count, with greater and greater prevalence of underlying metabolic disease. As physical therapists we are perfectly placed to play a larger role in helping patients to lead healthier and happier lives and receive more effective care. In order to do that, we need more information and greater confidence in our understanding of these aspects. This course strives to reach that goal.


  • 8 weeks long with two video lectures each week, 1-2 lab videos each week, and a case study example
  • Online live meeting to answer questions and discuss application of new ideas into patient care once every two weeks. These will be recorded for those who cannot attend during the set time.
  • Short weekly assignments and final project
  • Lifetime access to course & online community

Our online courses require active participation to be awarded credit which may include reading, homework assignments, and quizzes. We do not allow students to “drop back” to preceding cohorts due to inability to complete work assigned except under extraordinary circumstances. ICE faculty have the final decision in allowing a “drop back” but students are only allowed one “drop back” per course. Failure to complete the course on your 2nd attempt will not yield CEU credit. All courses allow for a 7 day grace period after course conclusion to receive CEU credit.


* = Online Discussion That Week

Week 0 (Course Start Date) *

  • Introductory Online Meeting (No prep needed)

Week 1

  • Blood Pressure & Cardiovascular

Week 2 *

  • Blood Sugar & Immunology

Week 3

  • Ears & Eyes

Week 4 *

  • Mental health & Integumentary

Week 5

  • Urogenital - female & male

Week 6 *

  • Hematology & Pulmonary

Week 7

  • Gastrointestinal & Hernias

Week 8 *

  • Wellness & Case studies

Course Objectives

  • Gain an understanding of common medical conditions, including comorbidities, and how they can affect patient care, as well as change the clinician’s priorities and treatment strategies.
  • Gain an understanding of screening tools and tests for each system; learn how to perform them for different body types.
  • Learn further screening and assessment tools in order to increase or decrease likelihood of clinical hypotheses.
  • Gain an increased understanding of systemic and preventable medical conditions, appropriate evaluative techniques, and what role physical therapists can play in prevention and education of these diseases.
  • Gain additional information regarding each system which is addressed in this course in order to understand relationships between each and how they can affect therapeutic treatment, safety of treatment, and healing times.
  • Learn further evaluative questions and patterns of disease in order to more effectively and efficiently refer patients to another provider when appropriate.
  • Demonstrate clinical reasoning process through participation in assignments, online meetings, and case studies.


  • Physical therapists
  • Physical therapy assistants 
  • Occupational therapists
  • Occupational therapy assistants
  • Chiropractors
  • Physicians
  • Athletic trainers


  • NONE


  • Entry-level

Upcoming Primary Care Physical Therapy Online Courses