Physical Therapy Technician (PTT) are allied health professionals who assist the Physical Therapist in treating patients of all ages specifically focused on the diagnostic and interventional treatment of patients with musculoskeletal, neurological, and certain general medical disorders under the care of the Physical Therapist.
The PTT Program is a consolidated program with three military services that has a two stage, field of study schedule. Formal didactic training is conducted within METC’s facilities and then hands-on clinical training is conducted at military and/or civilian medical treatment facilities (MTF).
Upon initial entry to METC, students are provided formal education and training that develops them into entry-level Physical Medicine Apprentices/Physical Therapy Specialists/Physical Therapy Technicians within fixed and deployable medical facilities.
Students will learn the physical therapy mission and scope of practice, duties and responsibilities of a Physical Therapy Technician.
The PTT Program provides simulated and live training in all aspects of Physical Therapy medicine to include functional human anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, clinical pathophysiology, and musculoskeletal physical therapy assessment and management. Students receive an introduction to therapeutic exercises, procedures, modalities (Physical Agents: Spinal Traction, Ultrasound, Electrotherapy, Theory and application of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), and iontophoresis), neurological and medical disorders, physical therapy assessments, clinical management, professional communication, psychosocial issues in health care, and clinical experiences.
2017 METC Physical Therapy Instructors and staff.
Quality control and safety techniques are emphasized throughout the program. Instruction and practice in medical ethics, patient care, and a comprehensive pre-clinical review prepare students to transition to a clinical setting. Lecture, demonstration, online materials, simulations, and laboratory practice are utilized during their pre-clinical training.
The courses for the PTT Program are taught using a regional approach. During the first four weeks, the basics of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology are taught. After week four, detailed anatomy, kinesiology, clinical disorders, clinical screening, manual therapy, and therapeutic exercises are taught as they pertain to the anatomical region being studied.
These regions include spine; hip and pelvis; knee; foot and ankle; shoulder, and elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. With this regional approach, a complete course is not taught at one time during the program. Instead, courses are taught in separate units and lessons throughout the duration of the program. The training consists of lectures, group activities, demonstrations, hands-on instruction and clinical practice. Performance exercises, presentations, written examinations, and clinical/practicum are used to assess accumulation and retention of knowledge and skills.
Clinical training provides students with clinical knowledge and hands-on experiential training which consists of clinical practicum in a MTF. Students will train in the areas of: professional behavior, communication skills (written and verbal), examination skills (goniometry, manual muscle testing, and gait assessment), treatment skills, and general skills (safety, record reviews, critical thinking, patient assessment, infection control, body mechanics, and patient positioning). Such training will include training in outpatient orthopedics, inpatient acute care, and neuromusculoskeletal rehabilitation. Students will also carry out prescribed physical therapy treatment programs to include the following: transfer training, gait training, bed mobility, therapeutic exercise instruction, patient and family education, and application of physical modalities such as ultrasound, traction, iontophoresis, electrical stimulation, head, and cold.
As available, students will also receive training specific to geriatrics, pediatrics, wound and burn care, and amputee care. Additionally, students will receive training with evidence-based clinical case studies. Proficiency advancement in clinical applications is determined by the program director and clinical advisor/coordinator on a case-by-case basis.
Program graduates ARE NOT eligible for professional licensure upon completion of the military training program. There are bridge program opportunities to complete a Physical Therapist Assistant associates degree and sit for the licensure exam.
PTT 101: Principles and Practices of Physical Therapy
This course introduces the fundamental principles of physical therapy and the role of the Physical Therapy Technician (PTT) in the health care delivery system, defines the relationship between the Physical Therapist, PTT, and other health care professionals.
PTT 102: Professional Communication
This course develops skills in verbal and non-verbal communication, conducting self-critiques and peer reviews, research of professional literature, medical documentation, and professional presentations.
PTT 103: Fundamentals of Physical Therapy
This combination lecture and lab course provides students with basic patient care skills for the Physical Therapy Technician and the fundamentals of physical therapy to include: Patient positioning and transfers, body mechanics, mobility aids, wheelchair management, and activities of daily living.
PTT 104: Functional Anatomy, Physiology, and Kinesiology I
This course focuses on the science of human motion, theories of biomechanics and muscle/joint structure and function. Emphasis on basic principles of therapeutic exercise and their application to specific body regions are introduced. A laboratory experience that includes the application of kinesiology and exercise principles is integrated in the learning experience.
PTT 105: Functional Anatomy, Physiology, and Kinesiology II
This course is a combination of class lecture, cadaver study, and lab experience. Students are provided with foundational knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology of the spine, hip, pelvis, knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand body regions.
PTT 106: Clinical Pathophysiology I
This course is a combination of class lecture and lab experience. This course introduces the student to common musculoskeletal diseases and injuries to include the etiology, risk factors, signs and symptoms, physical therapy treatment options and treatment precautions for each disorder. Knowledge for each disorder includes their etiology, risk factors, signs and symptoms, physical therapy treatment options and treatment precautions.
PTT 107: Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy Clinical Screening and Management Techniques
This course is a combination of class lecture and lab experience. This course develops entry-level skills within the PTT scope of practice for the clinical screening of patients with musculoskeletal disorders; to include patient interviewing/history taking, observation/gait analysis, range of motion measurement, strength screening, neurovascular status screening, appropriate special tests and palpation.
PTT 108: Introduction to Therapeutic Exercises and Procedures
This course is a combination of class lecture and lab experience. This course is designed to provide the PTT student with an entry level understanding of the theory and clinical application of various types of therapeutic exercises, and introduces the didactic knowledge necessary to apply the clinical skills for proper instruction and supervision of therapeutic exercises for patients with musculoskeletal and/or medical disorders. This course introduces the performance of all types of range of motion, flexibility, and strengthening exercises.
PTT 109: Therapeutic Exercises (Manual) Regional
This course is a combination of class lecture and lab experience. This course develops the didactic knowledge necessary to apply the clinical skills for proper instruction and supervision of therapeutic exercise for patients with musculoskeletal and/or medical disorders. This course introduces the performance of all types of range of motion, flexibility, and strengthening exercises; and includes the indications, contraindications, and correction of faulty substitution patterns for each exercise.
PTT 110: Principles of Manual Therapy
This course is a combination of class lecture and lab experience. This course develops the didactic knowledge necessary to apply basic clinical skills for proper application of soft tissue mobilization and an introductory understanding of joint mobilization techniques for patients with musculoskeletal disorders.
PTT 111: Physical Therapy Procedural Interventions
This course is a combination of class lecture and lab experience. This course develops the didactic knowledge necessary to apply the clinical skills for procedural interventions to include: postural alignment and deviations; spinal, lower and upper extremity orthotics; human locomotion and abnormal gait patterns; running shoe prescription, and wound care.
PTT 112: Therapeutic Modalities and Procedures
This course is a combination of class lecture and lab experience. This course introduces the fundamental principles of therapeutic modalities for patients with musculoskeletal and/or medical disorders to include: Theory and application of hot and cold; Theory and application of Ultrasound; Theory and application of Electrotherapy; Theory and application of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS); Theory and application of Biofeedback; Theory and application of Iontophoresis, and Theory and application of Spinal Traction.
PTT 113: Integrated Clinical Screening and Treatment Procedures
This course is a combination of class lecture and lab experience. This course encompasses the didactic and practical knowledge previously instructed during clinical screening, therapeutic exercise and therapeutic modalities to develop entry-level skills within the Physical Therapy Technicians scope of practice for the clinical screening of patients with musculoskeletal disorders. Clinical screening may include patient interviewing / history taking, observation / gait analysis, range of motion measurement, strength assessment, neurovascular status assessment, appropriate special tests and palpation. Students may also provide instruction and supervision of therapeutic exercise. Therapeutic exercise may include the performance of all types of range of motion, flexibility, and strengthening exercises; while considering all indications, contraindications, and correcting any faulty substitution patterns during each exercise. Students may also perform therapeutic modalities and/or mobility aid instruction for patients with musculoskeletal and/or medical disorders. Therapeutic Modalities may include electrical stimulation, ultrasound, TENS, spinal traction and hot and cold packs.
PTT 114: Clinical Pathophysiology II
This course is a combination of class lecture and lab experience. Students are introduced to common neurological disorders and medical disease processes to include the Pathophysiology of: Arthritic, Diabetic Oncological, Prenatal, Postpartum, Pediatric and Neurological disorders, and Cardiovascular and Respiratory diseases. Knowledge for each disorder includes their etiology, risk factors, signs and symptoms, physical therapy treatment options and treatment precautions.
PTT 115: Neurological and Medical Disorder Rehabilitation
This course introduces students to entry-level didactic knowledge and clinical skills within the PTT scope of practice for the clinical screening and management of patients with neurological disorders, upper or lower extremity amputations, and medical disease processes. Hands-on performance training is emphasized for neuro-rehabilitation, wound and burn care, edema control, amputee care and rehabilitation.
PTT 116: Psychosocial Issues in Health Care
This combination lecture and lab course explores the psychosocial aspects of the patient/client and health care practitioner. Investigation of the recognition and adjustment for psychological, sociological, educational, cultural, economic and political concerns on the delivery of health care services is introduced.
PTT 117: Clinical Experience I
This is an observation and practical application course performed in local clinics. Students rotate through various clinical areas to include: physical therapy inpatient and outpatient clinics, amputee rehabilitation, occupational therapy clinic, burn rehabilitation center, and the prosthetics/brace clinic. Each student receives 28 hours of practical experience in this clinical setting.
PTT 201: Advanced Clinical Integration (Army/Navy Specific)
This course is a combination of lecture and lab with a primary emphasis on outpatient clinical skills that a PTT must have to be successful in Army and Navy. Topics covered include management of acute and chronic neuromusculoskeletal injuries using established clinical practice guidelines, post operative rehabilitation, and entry level courses in strength and conditioning, running mechanics, movement screening, taping, nutrition, and functional rehabilitation programs.
PTT 203: Advanced Integrated Clinical Screening: Return to Duty (Army Specific Training)
This course offers both didactic and lab-based training to increase the students understanding of the entire rehabilitation process from early evaluation and treatment to safe return to duty assessment. Students will gain a better understanding on how the PTT clinical practice guidelines for early screening and treatment are utilized in an Army setting. Students will also receive in-depth knowledge on the Army’s Physical Readiness Training program in order to gain a better understanding of the projected level of function after discharge from a physical therapy treatment/rehabilitation program.
PTT 202: Clinical Rotation/Internship/OJT
This course is 8 weeks long for Navy students and 10 weeks long for Army and Coast Guard students. Students work in both inpatient and outpatient physical therapy clinics under a Physical Therapist and alongside Physical Therapist Specialists, Physical Therapy Technicians, or Physical Medicine Apprentice Technicians at designated military or civilian treatment facilities. Students will follow the Physical Therapist’s treatment plan and apply physical therapy knowledge and skills learned during Phase I classroom instruction. Students must demonstrate proficiency of clinical skills that a new Physical Therapist Specialist, Physical Therapy Technician, or Physical Medicine Apprentice need in order to engage in safe and effective clinical practice as outlined in the Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI). Clinical skills include, but are not limited to, the following categories: professional behavior, communication skills, general program implementation, examination skills, and treatment skills.
Air Force Technical Training (equivalent to Army/Navy Phase I) is followed by Upgrade Training, which consists of 15 months of on the job training (OJT). Air Force students work under a Physical Therapist and alongside 5 Level (or higher) Physical Medicine Apprentice Technicians at designated at Air Force inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities. Students will follow the Physical Therapist’s treatment plan and apply physical therapy knowledge and skills learned in classroom instruction during Technical Training at their respective treatment facilities. Students must demonstrate proficiency of clinical skills that a new Physical Medicine Apprentice Technician needs to engage in safe and effective clinical practice as outlined in the Job Qualification Standards (JQS). Required clinical tasks to be mastered are divided into 22 categories, including those mentioned for Phase II training above. (See JQS for detailed list of required skills.) Additionally, Air Force students must complete seven volumes of a Career Development Course (CDC) and must successfully pass two computerized exams during the 15 months of Upgrade Training.