How to Find the Right Physical Therapy School near Conway 72032
Earning a physical therapist degree near Conway AR is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are thinking about to make certain they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Conway AR private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Conway AR medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Conway AR area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may 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 offered by community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Conway AR home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Conway AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll need to look into other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the college that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online school, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call a few Conway AR physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Conway AR area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for Arkansas or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have partnerships with Conway AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Conway healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Conway AR residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Conway AR area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Conway Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Conway AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Conway is a city in the American state of Arkansas and the county seat of Faulkner County, located in the state's most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area, Central Arkansas. Conway is unique in that the majority of its residents do not commute out of the city to work. The city also serves as a regional shopping, educational, work, healthcare, sports, and cultural hub for Faulkner County and surrounding areas. Conway's growth can be attributed to its jobs in technology and higher education with its largest employers being Acxiom, the University of Central Arkansas, Hewlett Packard, Hendrix College, Insight Enterprises, and many technology start up companies. Conway is home to three post-secondary educational institutions, earning it the nickname "The City of Colleges".
As of the 2017 Census Estimate, the city proper had a total population of 65,782, making Conway the eighth-largest city in Arkansas. Central Arkansas, the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area, is ranked 75th largest in the United States with 734,622 people in 2016. Conway is part of the larger Little Rock–North Little Rock, AR Combined Statistical Area, which in 2016 had a population of 905,847, and ranked the country's 60th largest CSA.
The city of Conway was founded by Asa P. Robinson, who came to the area shortly after the Civil War. Robinson was the chief engineer for the Little Rock-Fort Smith Railroad (now the Union Pacific). Part of his compensation was the deed to a tract of land, one square mile, located near the old settlement of Cadron. When the railroad came through, Robinson deeded a small tract of his land back to the railroad for a depot site. He laid off a town site around the depot and named it "Conway Station", in honor of a famous Arkansas family. Conway Station contained two small stores, two saloons, a depot, some temporary housing and a post office. Despite being founded as a railroad town, there currently exists no passenger service. The disappearance of passenger rail service in the region is attributed to the emphasis placed on the automobile.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Conway AR
Selecting the ideal physical therapy program is an important first decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You might want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Conway AR.
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