This fall, College of the Mainland will offer two new programs to train workers for rapidly growing branches of the medical field.

The new physical therapy aide program will prepare students to work closely with physical therapists to assist patients with exercises and treatment, observe patients and document their progress. The patient care technician program will train health care workers who want to advance to the next level of providing patient care.

The physical therapy aide program is a one-semester, stepping-stone course to assist those who want to enter the physical therapy field.

“We’re using these courses as a crosswalk,” said program coordinator Vera Schoppe. “It’s perfect for those who want to become physical therapy assistants eventually or for certified nurse assistants who want to work in restorative care.”

COM’s physical therapy aide program will offer hands-on training and labs in patient care, communication and data collection techniques. Students will receive a certificate after completing the continuing education course.  

Preparing students to enter another field with rapid growth, the patient care technician program trains students for in-demand positions in hospitals and long-term care facilities.

“Employers know that patient care technicians are coming in with more skills. It gives them more job opportunities,” said Schoppe.

Patient care technician program instructors with years of job experience provide hands-on coaching in a wide variety of areas, including daily care, communication and measuring vital signs.

Prior to entering the patient care technician program, students must have completed certified nurse assistant, phlebotomy and ECG technician certificates. Students successfully completing the program will be prepared to take the national Patient Care Technician Exam, administered by the National Healthcareers Association.
Patient care technician training begins Sept. 6; physical therapy aide training begins Oct. 1. View the continuing education schedule online at