Sometimes icing down an injury at home isn't enough—and that's where physical therapy comes in to save the day. Physical therapy technicians and aides (oftentimes referred to as ‘PTs’ or ‘PT techs’) work alongside other healthcare professionals to help patients relieve pain and improve mobility.
The career outlook for PT techs is promising—we're talking about a projected job growth of up to 29% by 2026, with a whopping 38,800 clinics and healthcare settings all across America offering these services. And with the baby boomer generation entering retirement age, the demand for physical therapy techs in the healthcare industry will likely skyrocket.
If you're ready to transition to a career as a physical therapy tech and make a real difference in peoples’ lives, here's what you need to know to get your Physical Therapy Technician Certification (PTTC) credentials.
Physical therapy technicians and physical therapist aides help ensure that patients receive necessary care and assistance after accidents, major surgeries, or minor procedures. Their primary responsibilities revolve around preparing the patient, therapy equipment, and the treatment area for physical therapeutic exercise sessions.
PT technicians may also play a pivotal role in tasks, such as:
Evaluating patients' conditions
Taking medical histories
Assisting with patient intake
Organizing treatment schedules
Coordinating patient transfers
Maintaining comprehensive records for tracking patient progress
Administrative support & clerical duties
Managing supply orders
Participating in training sessions & therapeutic interventions
A physical therapy technician certification is highly recommended if you aspire to pursue a career in physical therapy, sports medicine, or rehabilitation. It serves as an ideal pathway for pre-health students and professionals hoping to eventually become physical therapists or physical therapist assistants.
Completing a PTTC certification program and earning your credentials helps you demonstrate your commitment to quality care and enables you to stand out as a qualified candidate in the field. Employers prefer candidates who hold certification when hiring in clinical settings, such as physical therapy offices.
To earn your PTTC certification, you must first meet the prerequisites and then pass the physical therapy technician certification exam.
The American Medical Certification Association (AMCA) is the issuing authority that sets the standards for the PTTC. Their only physical therapy technician education requirements are that you must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Candidates must be 18 years of age or older.
The PTTC exam evaluates a candidate's understanding of key concepts and principles. The PTTC exam lasts 2 hours and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions.
To succeed on the exam, you'll need to know everything from the anatomy of the human body and therapeutic techniques to medical terms and specimen collection techniques.
Here's a quick overview of each domain and some topics covered. You can find a complete PTTC exam blueprint here.
Describing the basic functions of each of the main body systems.
Demonstrating knowledge of vital signs
Demonstrating knowledge of proper wound care
Demonstrating knowledge of First Aid
Demonstrating knowledge of CPR
Maintaining confidentiality of privileged information on individuals
Valued diversity in the workplace
Interacting appropriately and professionally with other individuals
Discussing the major points of the Patient's Bill of Rights
Modeling professional appearance and appropriate behavior
Identifying policies and procedures for maintaining laboratory safety
Identifying the modes of transmission and methods of prevention
Identifying and properly labeling biohazard specimens
Defining and discussing the term nosocomial infections
Complying with regulations regarding safety practices
Describing different body positioning
Defining the steps of patient preparation
Defining the different steps of patient examination
Demonstrate knowledge of proper use of heat in treatment
Demonstrate knowledge of proper use of crutches
Demonstrate knowledge of proper use of walkers
Demonstrate knowledge of proper use of parallel bars
Cardiac and circulatory terminology
To register for the PTTC (Physical Therapy Training and Certification) exam, you will need to visit the AMCA (American Medical Certification Association) website. There, you can create an account and access the registration process.
The exam is available in both online and paper/pencil modalities, so you have the flexibility to choose the format that suits you best.
As of September 1st, 2023, the cost of the exam is $119.00. However, MedCerts students don't have to pay the fee, as it's included in the price of tuition.
Passing the exam and earning your certification validates your knowledge and skills and enhances your professional credibility and employability.
It serves as a recognized credential that demonstrates your commitment to providing quality care and your readiness to assist physical therapists in delivering effective rehabilitation and treatment to patients.
The PTTC exam has a 63% pass rate. So if you hope to succeed on your first try, it's recommended that you complete an accredited preparatory course.
The best part of these courses is that they require no prior experience or associate's degree, thus making them accessible to anyone. Upon completion of MedCerts' Physical Therapy Technician program, graduates will be fully equipped to tackle the Physical Therapy Technician/Aide Certification (PTTC) exam.
They will also be prepared to take the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam, sponsored by the National Healthcareer Association. These comprehensive courses ensure that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in both the clinical and administrative aspects of the physical therapy field.
In MedCerts’ program, you'll gain a comprehensive skill set that is crucial for success as a physical therapy technician, which includes:
Basic human anatomy and medical terminology
Healthcare regulations and laws, including HIPAA/HITECH, OSHA, CMS
Diagnosis and procedure codes, as well as Electronic Health Records (EHR) and related Practice Management systems
Best practices for maintaining a safe and sterile environment
To enroll in the certified physical therapy technician program, you will need to meet the following requirements, which include having:
Attained a high school diploma or its equivalent
Access to a reliable web browser and a stable internet connection
Completed the registration process and payment
Suitable psychomotor skills, hand-eye coordination, and finger agility
The ability to stand for extended periods
MedCerts offers on-demand, virtual learning. Accessible 24/7 through student portals, you can study and progress at your own pace. Enjoy the convenience of learning whenever and wherever it suits you best.
The field offers promising opportunities and competitive physical therapy tech pay, allowing you to build a rewarding and financially stable career.
Physical therapy assistants are valuable members of the healthcare team who support physical therapists in helping patients improve their range of motion and manage pain. They assist patients in learning exercises and teach them how to use therapeutic equipment. Physical therapy assistants work in the office of a physical therapist or healthcare facilities.
Physical therapy aides are essential members of physical therapy support teams. As allied professionals, they assist physical therapists and technicians in aiding patients with disabling injuries or conditions. Their responsibilities include setting up treatment areas and equipment, performing clerical tasks, and assisting with patient movement.
Rehabilitation aides are vital in assisting physical therapists and ensuring patients receive the best therapy experience. Their primary responsibilities include preparing and maintaining the work area and ensuring that equipment is clean and disinfected after each use in preparation for the next patient.
Designed to provide you with all the knowledge and skills you need to succeed, our 18-week program will prepare you to achieve your PTTC (Physical Therapy Technician Certification).
Take the first step towards a rewarding career as a Physical Therapy Technician by enrolling today in our comprehensive online PTCC certification course.