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Physical therapy technicians (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 licensed physical therapist. Students will learn the physical therapy mission, 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, and 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. Quality control and safety techniques are emphasized throughout the program. Lecture, demonstration, online materials, simulations, and laboratory practice are utilized during their pre-clinical training. Instruction and practice in medical ethics, patient care, and a comprehensive pre-clinical review prepare students to transition to a clinical setting.
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 be provided in outpatient orthopedics, inpatient acute care, and/or 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 the clinical instructor/coordinator on a case-by-case basis.
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 typically at military medical treatment facilities. 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.
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 (PTA) associate degree and sit for the PTA licensure exam.