PTA 101 Basic Techniques

Campus Location:
Georgetown, Wilmington
Effective Date:
PTA 100, SSC 100 or concurrent


Course Credits and Hours:
4.00 credits
2.00 lecture hours/week
5.00 lab hours/week
Course Description:

In this course, students focus on theory and skill development in body mechanics, transfers, gait training, assessment techniques, therapeutic exercise, and massage. This course includes didactic, laboratory, and clinical experiences.

Required Text(s):

Obtain current textbook information by viewing the campus bookstore online or visit a campus bookstore. Check your course schedule for the course number and section.

Additional Materials:


Schedule Type:
Classroom Course


Core Course Performance Objectives (CCPOs):
  1. Use professional behaviors in the classroom and clinic settings. (CCC 3, 4; PGC 6)
  2. Identify and perform critical components in transfer techniques and the use of proper body mechanics. (CCC 2; PGC 2, 3, 5)
  3. Identify and perform critical components in wheelchair management and in the use of assistive devices for ambulation. (CCC 2; PGC 2, 3, 5)
  4. Identify and perform critical components in the application of therapeutic exercise as a treatment intervention. (CCC 2; PGC 2, 3, 5)
  5. Identify and perform critical components in physical therapy tests and measurements for data collection. (CCC 2; PGC 3, 4, 5, 6)
  6. Describe and perform essential components in the application of therapeutic massage techniques. (CCC 2; PGC 2, 3, 5)
  7. Apply classroom and laboratory skills in a physical therapy clinical setting. (CCC 2, 3; PGC 1, 2, 3, 5)

See Core Curriculum Competencies and Program Graduate Competencies at the end of the syllabus. CCPOs are linked to every competency they develop.

Measurable Performance Objectives (MPOs):

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Use professional behaviors in the classroom and clinic setting.
    1. Practice beginning level professional behaviors. These include but are not limited to adhering to designated times for each educational experience, following a dress code, being adequately prepared, participating in class discussions, following laboratory rules displaying appropriate interpersonal dynamics, and communication skills.
  2. Identify and perform critical components in transfer techniques and the use of proper body mechanics.
    1. Apply proper body mechanics during therapeutic interventions.
    2. Discuss with patients and caregivers the most common mistakes made when lifting.
    3. Explain to an individual how to use appropriate body mechanics.
    4. Position and properly drape an individual for specific treatment procedures.
    5. Perform positioning and transfer techniques using proper body mechanics.
    6. Explain to an individual positioning and transfer techniques.
    7. Assess a patient’s response to positioning and transfers, identify appropriate modifications within the plan of care, and report this to the supervising physical therapist.
    8. Predict the initial and advanced changes in the musculoskeletal system associated with prolonged bed rest and activities or positions that relieve symptoms.
    9. List the signs and symptoms associated with complications of prolonged bed rest.
    10. Recognize the level of functional status, and safely demonstrate competency in transfer training.
    11. Define and discuss activities of daily living.
    12. Describe indications, contraindications, and procedures for using mechanical lift devices.
    13. Select the proper patient transfer based on patient limitations, weight, and function.
  3. Identify and perform critical components in wheelchair management and in the use of assistive devices for ambulation.
    1. Define and describe in general terms the components of the gait cycle using assistive devices.
    2. Define the different weight bearing statuses, and demonstrate with using various pieces of appropriate equipment.
    3.  Instruct others and operate wheelchairs using appropriate locks and components.
    4. Identify and measure the assistive devices used in gait training, including understanding the weight limitations of the equipment.
    5. Describe the rationale for use of various assistive devices.
    6. Describe and recognize common safety errors incurred during gait training.
    7. Explain gait training using varied equipment, surfaces and weight bearing statuses within the physical therapist’s plan of care.
    8. Assess a patient’s response to mobility training procedures, identify appropriate modifications within the plan of care, and report findings.
    9.  Describe how to appropriately measure a client for a wheelchair.
    10. Describe the components of a wheelchair, and demonstrate the ability to manage each part.
    11. Safely demonstrate competency in gait training and in management of wheelchair parts.
  4. Identify and perform critical components in the application of therapeutic exercise as a treatment intervention.
    1. State the purpose, indications, contraindications, and limitations in the use of active range of motion (AROM), passive range of motion (PROM), active assistive range of motion (AAROM), and resisted range of motion (ROM).
    2. Perform PROM, AROM, AAROM, and selected resisted exercises on an individual.
    3. Identify and perform various relaxation exercises.
    4. Describe the purpose of stretching and indications/contraindications for its use.
    5. Perform selected general stretching procedures.
    6. Describe and identify limited motion of specific muscles that are frequently shortened.
    7. Identify the correct muscle action (concentric and eccentric) of a specific therapeutic exercise.
    8. Set up equipment, and explain to a person how to perform a specific exercise.
    9. Assess a patient’s response to exercise and identify appropriate modifications within the plan of care, and report findings to supervising physical therapist.
    10. Define strength, power, and endurance.
    11. Describe and apply the DeLorme and Oxford techniques of progressive resistive exercise.
    12. Define isokinetic exercise, and explain its indications, contraindications, purpose, advantages, and disadvantages.
    13.  Identify which muscle groups are working and which actions are occurring, given a therapeutic exercise program from a physical therapist.
    14. Implement an exercise program for patients with various conditions within the physical therapist’s plan of care (POC), on the basis of ROM and manual muscle test (MMT) results.
    15. Explain to patients and caregivers exercises for specific muscle groups within the physical therapist plan of care.
    16. Explain a patient’s exercise program with their family member using sensitivity to diverse issues.
    17. Describe considerations for special pathological condition for gait training and therapeutic exercise.
    18. Compute maximal heart rate, and target heart rate for a given patient.
    19. Explain the benefits, limitations, indications, and contraindications of aerobic exercise.
    20.  Identify cardiopulmonary signs during aerobic conditioning such as heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and skin color.
    21. During aerobic conditioning, recognize signs of distress such as dyspnea, excessive sweating, angina, claudication, decreased level of alertness, cyanosis, using observation and / or vital sign assessment.
    22. Administer standardized questionnaires to patients regarding rate of perceived exertion (Borg Scale).
    23. Perform a physical therapy program to include stretching, aerobic exercise, and strengthening exercises within the physical therapist POC for a given patient.
    24.  Administer safe therapeutic exercise.
    25. Recognize activities that aggravate or relieve edema, pain or other symptoms, and modify intervention based on patient response.
    26. Recognize between static and dynamic balance.
  5. Identify and perform critical components in physical therapy tests and measures for data collection.
    1. Goniometry (G): Identify and name appropriate landmarks for measuring ROM of all joints accurately.
    2. G: Identify specific ROM degrees for all joints during normal and functional ROM.
    3. G: Position goniometer correctly on an individual to measure ROM of all joints, and demonstrate competence in a competency test.
    4. G: Chart goniometric results.
    5. G: Describe and recognize common errors incurred during ROM testing.
    6. Manual Muscle Testing (MMT): Describe and define criteria for muscle testing.
    7. MMT: Perform MMT for specific muscle groups using correct techniques, including but not limited to joint positioning and hand placement.
    8. MMT: Chart muscle strength.
    9. MMT: Describe and recognize common errors incurred during MMT.
    10. Assessment Techniques (AT): Describe appropriate characteristics to assess during skin inspection.
    11. AT: Monitor skin sensation, and describe complications of sensory deficits.
    12. AT: Describe the procedures for assessing muscle tone.
    13. AT: Describe the technique used to assess the deep tendon reflex, and determine the indications for its use.
    14. AT: Examine coordination using appropriate screening techniques.
    15. AT: Measure and record a patient’s height, weight, limb length, and limb girth.
    16. AT: Identify and palpate selected anatomical sites.
    17. AT: Chart collected data in a medical record, and communicate with the physical therapist regarding possible progression, modifications, or discontinuation of physical therapy interventions based on data collection information.
    18. AT: Recognize changes in the direction and magnitude of a patient’s state of arousal, mentation, and cognition by assessing orientation to person, place, and time in a competency / practical.
    19. AT: Monitor pain using a pain rating scale prior to and after performing physical therapy techniques.
  6. Describe and perform essential components in the application of therapeutic massage techniques.
    1. List and define the components of massage technique.
    2. List indications and contraindications for massage.
    3. Describe the physiological and psychological effects of therapeutic massage.
    4. Describe the massage movements of pétrissage, kneading, friction, stroking, and effleurage.
    5. Perform therapeutic massage safely and appropriately to arm, leg, neck, back, or face, and complete a competency test.
    6. Assess a patient’s response to massage, and identify appropriate modifications within the POC.
  7. Apply classroom and laboratory skills in a physical therapy clinical setting.
    1. Integrate previous classroom and laboratory knowledge and competency-tested skills (including but not limited to palpation, vital signs, documentation, and  patient interaction skills) in an assigned clinical setting.
    2. Describe the initial exposure to a physical therapy setting and interaction with healthcare professionals.
    3. Perform a chart review to identify a patient’s goals and intended outcomes.
    4. Describe the initial experience with patients who have a variety of diagnoses.
    5. Perform a self-assessment of knowledge and skills based on the clinical experience and feedback from the clinical instructor.
Evaluation Criteria/Policies:

The grade will be determined using the Delaware Tech grading system:

90 100 = A
80 89 = B
70 79 = C
0 69 = F

Students should refer to the Student Handbook for information on the Academic Standing Policy, the Academic Integrity Policy, Student Rights and Responsibilities, and other policies relevant to their academic progress.

Final Course Grade:

Calculated using the following weighted average

Evaluation Measure

Percentage of final grade

4 Modular Exams (summative, equally weighted)


Final Written Exam (summative)


Psychomotor Assessment (summative)

Owens: 5 competencies equally weighted

Wilmington: 4 competencies equally weighted (7%) + Final Practical (12%)


Clinical Grade (summative)


Journal Review/Clinical Report (summative)


Quiz/Skill Checks (formative, equally weighted)


Generic Abilities Tool for Professional Behaviors (summative)




Core Curriculum Competencies (CCCs are the competencies every graduate will develop):
  1. Apply clear and effective communication skills.
  2. Use critical thinking to solve problems.
  3. Collaborate to achieve a common goal.
  4. Demonstrate professional and ethical conduct.
  5. Use information literacy for effective vocational and/or academic research.
  6. Apply quantitative reasoning and/or scientific inquiry to solve practical problems.
Program Graduate Competencies (PGCs are the competencies every graduate will develop specific to his or her major):


  1. Work under the supervision of a physical therapist in an ethical, legal, safe and effective manner.
  2. Implement PT interventions within the plan of care.
  3. Perform specific data collection techniques related to the plan of care.
  4. Demonstrate effective communication in the physical therapy environment.
  5. Formulate appropriate judgments and modification to the program within the patient’s plan of care.
  6. Demonstrate effective interactions and professional behaviors.
  7. Participate in career development activities.
  8. Exhibit a commitment to the physical therapy profession, physical therapy patients, and the community.
Disabilities Support Statement:

The College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the campus Disabilities Support Counselor to request an accommodation needed due to a disability. A listing of campus Disabilities Support Counselors and contact information can be found at the disabilities services web page or visit the campus Advising Center.

Minimum Technology Requirements:
Minimum technology requirements for online, hybrid, video conferencing and web conferencing courses.