Students and Volunteers

Interested In a Career In Physical Therapy?

Tracey and patientThe Clinical and Administrative staff at Mountain Valley Therapy always welcome aspiring students and community members of all ages and desires. Volunteers have the opportunity to observe Physical and Occupational Therapy evaluation and treatments. They are also exposed to the business operations and organizational structure for a successful outpatient clinic. As a whole, volunteers are provided with an understanding of the full cycle of treatment and flow of patients through a clinic.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Physical Therapists (PTs) are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles. Physical Therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.

How do I become a Physical Therapist?

After completing a Bachelor’s Degree in any major area of study, students can apply to the Physical Therapy Program of their choice. Each Physical Therapy School has specific prerequisite courses. These may include anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, biology, statistics, psychology, english, and writing, humanities, and social sciences. The average undergraduate GPA of those admitted to PT school is 3.5. Each school requires observation of a Physical Therapist and an interview. Most schools require applicants take the GRE. Check each Physical Therapy School for specific requirements.

Academic programs offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (DPT). Upon graduation, candidates must pass a state-administered National exam. Other requirements for Physical Therapy practice vary from state to state according to Physical Therapy Practice Acts or State regulations governing Physical Therapy. For more information on a career as a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant, go to The American Physical Therapy Association website at

What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) provide Physical Therapy services under the direction and supervision of a Physical Therapist. PTAs help people of all ages who have medical programs, or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and more. Care provided by a PTA may including teaching patients/clients exercise for mobility, strength, and coordination, training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers, massage, and the application of various modalities such as Electrotherapy; this including ultrasound and electrical stimulation.

How do I become a PTA?

Physical Therapist Assistants must complete a two-year Associates Degree, typically offered through a Community College. The course of study usually includes one year of general education and one year of technical courses on Physical Therapy procedures and clinical experience.

What is an Occupational Therapist?

The term “occupation” means all the activities that occupy meaningful day-to-day living, including work, self-care, and leisure. Occupational Therapy is a health profession that helps people who have been affected by accident or injury, disease, aging, developmental delay, or psychological disability to make the necessary lifestyle changes to become more self-sufficient and independent. An Occupational Therapist is a member of the rehabilitation team whose focus is to facilitate optimal independence and safety in activities of daily living (ADLs). Anyone who has a temporary or permanent deficit in functional independence or safety, can benefit from Occupational Therapy. Deficits are caused by any disease, injury, or birth defect that causes physical or cognitive impairment and which then impacts a person’s ability to be independent and safe in carrying out personal care or domestic tasks, work, school, or recreational activities.

Occupational Therapy is a field in which one can bring together a variety of interests including medicine, psychology, psychiatry, work activities, music, art, dance, and crafts. Occupational Therapists can specialize in pediatrics, geriatrics, hand therapy, work rehabilitation, and ergonomics. Occupational Therapists work in a variety of settings including  hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, schools, work sites, and home health. Occupational Therapists may work with assistants called Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants or COTAs, who assist in the treatment of patients.

How do I become an Occupational Therapist?

After completing a Bachelor’s Degree in any major area of study, students can apply to the Occupational Therapy Program of their choice. Each Occupational Therapy School has specific prerequisite courses. After completing a Master’s or Doctorate Degree in Occupational Therapy, a candidate must pass an American Occupational Therapy Association Board Certification Exam and obtain a license in each state he/she wishes to work. Each state has different licensing and continuing education requirements. For more information please visit the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. website at

What is a Certified Athletic Trainer?

A Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) has specialized knowledge in exercise, sports performance enhancement, as well as sports injury prevention and treatment. ATCs are employed in numerous settings including secondary schools, colleges, and universities, professional sports teams and sports medicine clinics. The ATC may work in the training room taping or bracing to prevent injury. The ATC is often the first health care professional to assess and treat a sports injury. Once an athlete is injured, the ATC may refer the athlete to a Physician or treat the injury with modalities or hands-on techniques. Often, ATCs work closely with other health care professionals to provide care for the patient. ATCs also provide instruction on exercises to rehabilitate an injury or to prevent injuries. Many ATCs work in Physical Therapy Clinics with many types of clients, young and old.

How do I become a Certified Athletic Trainer?

Certified Athletic Trainers have a Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Athletic Training from an Accredited program. During the course of the athletic training education, students develop their knowledge and skills in a wide range of settings, including scholastic sports, interscholastic sports, sports medicine clinics, and other venues where Certified Athletic Trainers work. To become certified, you must pass a three-part test administered by the Board of Certification, which certifies that ATCs have the highest standards of professional practice. Many schools offer degrees in Athletic Training. Check with each school to see if a program in Athletic Training if offered. For more information, visit the National Athletic Training Association website at

Volunteering at Mountain Valley therapy

Mountain Valley Therapy is proud to give back our professions! We welcome student observers who wish to gain exposure and experience in Physical and Occupational Therapy or Athletic Training.

PT/PTA Program Students: Please contact Royce Woosley (Human Resources), for additional internship information. She may be reached by phone at (541) 962-0830 or by email at

All Other Observation/Volunteer Inquires: Please contact our  Student Volunteer Coordinator/Angela Cain, to arrange for observation/volunteer times. Angela can be reached by phone at (541) 962-0830 or by email at Angela will provide you with a volunteer registration form and an appropriate schedule to accommodate both you and the Clinic Staff.

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Monday - Thursday: 7:00 am - 5:30 pm
Friday: 7:00 am - 4:00 pm
2519 Cove Avenue
La Grande, OR 97850
(541) 962-0830 - Office
(541) 975-2720 - Fax

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