How to Pick a Physical Therapist Program near Clarksville 72830
Earning a physical therapist degree near Clarksville AR is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will provide 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 closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Clarksville AR private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Clarksville AR medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Clarksville AR area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Clarksville AR residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT colleges within the Clarksville AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to make certain that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 select an online college, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Clarksville 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 advice about your school selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Clarksville AR area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have associations with Clarksville AR clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Clarksville health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Clarksville AR home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Clarksville AR area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Clarksville Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Clarksville AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Clarksville is a city in Johnson County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 9,178, up from 7,719 in 2000. As of 2016, the estimated population was 9,524. The city is the county seat of Johnson County. It is nestled between the Arkansas River and the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, and Interstate 40 and US Highway 64 intersect within the city limits. Clarksville-Johnson County is widely known for its peaches, scenic byways and abundance of natural outdoor recreational activities.
Clarksville is located in south-central Johnson County at 35°27′50″N 93°28′38″W / 35.46389°N 93.47722°W / 35.46389; -93.47722 (35.464006, -93.477089). The city is bordered to the south by the Arkansas River, although the city center is 3 miles (5 km) north of the river and west of Spadra Creek.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Clarksville has a total area of 19.2 square miles (49.7 km2), of which 18.5 square miles (47.9 km2) are land and 0.69 square miles (1.8 km2), or 3.66%, are water.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapy School near Clarksville AR
Picking the ideal physical therapist program is an important first decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Clarksville AR.
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