How to Find the Right Physical Therapy College near Charleston 72933
Earning a physical therapist degree near Charleston AR is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Charleston AR private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Charleston AR medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Charleston AR area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Charleston AR home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you probably have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Charleston AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you enroll in the school that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online college, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Charleston AR physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Charleston AR area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have partnerships with Charleston AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Charleston healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Charleston AR residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Charleston AR area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Charleston Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Charleston AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Charleston is a city in Franklin County, Arkansas, United States, and (along with Ozark) one of the two county seats of Franklin County. It is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,522 at the 2010 census, down from 2,965 in 2000.
In 1954, Charleston was the first school district in the former Confederate States to implement school integration in response to Brown v. Board of Education. On July 27, 1954, the school board, including President Howard Madison Orsburn, George Hairston, Archibald Schaffer, Herbert Shumate, and Homer Keith, unanimously voted to "disband the Colored School and admit the Colored children into the grade and high school when classes open for the fall semester." Accordingly, when the schools opened on August 23, 11 black children were in attendance alongside 480 whites. School Superintendent Woodie Haynes made an agreement with the local press not to cover the event, and stonewalled any outside reporters that asked questions. The decision to integrate had financial benefits, as the district had been paying a considerable sum to transport black high school students to Fort Smith, and were able to close the old Rosenwald school. Charleston suffered some discrimination from other schools and the state; many schools refused to play football against them and the band was denied the opportunity to play in some band competitions. In 1961, the first two black students to graduate from Charleston were Barbara (Williams) Dotson and Joe Ferguson.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Charleston has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.4 km2), of which 4.3 square miles (11.1 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2), or 2.53%, is water.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Charleston AR
Choosing the right physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Charleston AR.
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