Health Care FAQ

Choosing a career in the health care profession is a noble pursuit. We know you've worked hard to get into your program of choice. Still, there's a lot to keep up with as you prepare your application materials and you likely have a few questions.

We've completed the following list of frequently asked questions to help you navigate this process. 

What is the difference between the Health Care Certificate and the health care major?

The Health Care Certificate is designed for students interested in exploring career options in health care. Students completing the certificate will gain a skillset allowing them to work in a number of health care related occupations. Students also have the option of transitioning to other health care programs. Some of these programs required a secondary application process.

Which programs in the Health Care division require a secondary application process?


The following programs are direct-admit programs and do not require a secondary application:

  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician
Are there space limitations for each program?

Yes, each Health Care program has limited enrollment. Please refer to the program fact sheets for more information about the number of seats in each program, and program entrance (Program Ready) requirements. 

What is the age requirement?

Students must be 18 years of age by the date of the first clinical course.

Is a criminal background check required for acceptance to a Health Care program?

As required by clinical agencies, students in specific programs are required to have a criminal background check. Refer to the Health Care Division Handbook for specific policy details. Students with prior convictions may not be accepted at a clinical facility.

Is drug testing required for acceptance to a Health Care program?

Students are required to submit to a drug test on an unannounced basis. Refer to the Health Care Division Handbook for specific policy details. 

Are there limited attempts in Health Care programs?

Yes. Admission to a Health Care program will be limited to two attempts. An unsuccessful attempt means you are unsuccessful in any course(s) during a semester. Attempts from previous colleges count in your total number of attempts. Starting Fall 2024, an attempt for Health Care programs will be a C, D, W, F, or U. Nursing will continue to be D, W, F, or U until Fall 2025. Any student who has used the maximum allowable attempts may be granted one additional Health Care program attempt after a minimum of 5 years from the last Health Care program course.

Is transportation or a driver’s license required?

Reliable transportation is required. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from clinical agencies.

What hours are required in Health Care programs?

Health Care programs may require evening or weekend clinical rotations, in addition to daytime hours. While completing general education coursework, students may take courses in the day, evening, or online, depending on course offerings.

Does the Health Care Division have an attendance policy?

Health Care programs have specific, regulated hours that must be completed by students. Therefore, strict clinical and lab attendance is required. Refer to the Health Care Division Handbook for specific policy details. 

Is there a separate program orientation?

Upon acceptance to a Health Care program, students must attend a mandatory program orientation for their major. Failure to attend may result in losing the spot in the program. 

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Required?

While Piedmont Technical College (PTC) Health Care Division has no specific policy mandating the COVID-19 vaccines for employees or students, the PTC Health Care Division requires that students must be eligible and able to attend all clinical rotations at sites the program utilizes for clinical practice. 

We are not able to provide substitute or alternate clinical experiences based on students’ request or vaccine preference. Just as the Health Care Division and our affiliated clinical facilities require other vaccines, the facilities have the option to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Health Care Division cannot customize student schedules for any reason, due to the regulations and requirements set forth by our clinical facilities, State Boards, and accreditors. Again, this is not a PTC initiative or mandate, but a requirement by our affiliated clinical facilities, State Boards, and accreditors for programs specific to the Health Care Division.

After Program Acceptance, What Other Steps Do I Take to be Eligible for Clinicals?

An integral part of your health care education will be your clinical experiences. The college has affiliation agreements with the facilities where you will be doing your direct and/or indirect clinical hours. These facility affiliation agreements require records of your background check, drug screen results, health assessment forms, immunizations, CPR certification, certificate of professional liability insurance, and any other site-specific requirements in order to gain clearance from the clinical facility. Records are to be submitted to and held by our compliance vendor, Castlebranch©.

Note that the Influenza vaccine, Tuberculosis test, Fit Testing as well as Care Learning (HIPPA and OSHA) must be completed and submitted every year. In addition, most of our clinical sites are now requiring the COVID-19 vaccine. Please see the information listed below regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine/Booster.

* Veterinary Technology Program requirements may differ. See programmatic policies for VET in regards to this policy.

Failure to complete requirements by the designated deadline or update them before they expire may impact continued enrollment. 

What are the physical requirements for participation?


Standing and walking is required for the majority of time spent in the clinical area (4-8 hours). Standing in one position is required while performing certain aspects of patient care. Walking occurs on vinyl, tile, linoleum, or carpeted floors.


Sitting may occur while charting or entering data into a computer. One may also sit while receiving/giving verbal reports at the start/end of one's shift. It is also possible that sitting may occur during breaks and meal periods. Total sitting is less than two hours for each 8-12 hour shift, depending on clinical assignment.


Regular lifting of medical supplies, medications, patient supplies, and patient charts, all weighing up to 10 pounds is required. Also lifting CPR equipment and other medical equipment weighing up to 45 pounds is required. One is required to assist in lifting and transferring patients of varying weights and is expected to request assistance when lifting, ambulating, and repositioning patients. One must be able to support at least 75 pounds to reposition, transfer, and ambulate patients safely.


Frequent carrying of medical supplies and other items weighing up to 45 pounds is required, along with occasional carrying of certain medical equipment weighing up to 50 pounds.


Pushing/pulling 70-100 pounds is required when administering patient therapy and care, as well as when pushing equipment such as oxygen tanks and monitors, and when transporting patients in wheelchairs, beds, or gurneys. Pushing is required at 3.5 pounds of pressure when administering CPR. Full manual dexterity of both upper extremities is required.


No significant climbing is required; one may be required to climb a step stool.


Bending is required when administering patient care. One must be able to bend to touch the floor to remove environmental hazards. 


Reaching above one's head is required when performing aspects of care such as hanging and adjusting IV bags or reaching various equipment. 


Squatting or kneeling is required when operating medical equipment and performing aspects of patient care, such as CPR.


Twisting at the waist is required when bathing patients and performing other procedures.


Must be able to clearly speak English to communicate, assess, and educate patients and families. One must also be able to communicate verbally with physicians and other professionals involved in patient care.


One must have normal hearing (aids permitted) in order to perform physical assessments, including listening with a stethoscope for bowel, heart, and lung sounds. One must also be able to hear to detect subtle, yet critical information regarding patient conditions including alarms and to communicate with physicians and other professionals involved in patient care.

Visual Acuity

Vision is required within normal limits (glasses or contacts permitted) for monitoring equipment, reading medical data, preparing and administering medications and injections, and performing physical assessments of patients including subtle changes in color.

Depth Perception

Required for fine tasks such as administering injections, sterile catheter insertions (urinary, IV), nasogastric tube insertions, ET Tubes, etc.  

Fine Motor Skills

One must have fine motor skills of all fingers and be able to grasp and control medical equipment and to perform precise procedures such as sterile dressing changes. Ability to grasp objects such as a pen to prepare handwritten reports is also required.

Tactile Sensation

Students must be able to assess patients through palpation with fingers and hands and must be able to distinguish between warm/cold and be able to feel vibrations.


One must have a normal sense of smell to detect odors indicating unsafe conditions or changing patient status.