How to Choose a Physical Therapy College near Decatur 72722
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Decatur AR is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, such as Decatur AR hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment 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 in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Decatur AR health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting 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 extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Decatur AR area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and commonly 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 three years to complete, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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 USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Decatur AR home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want 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 Decatur AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you select the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Decatur AR physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once 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 Decatur AR area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Decatur AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to receive hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Decatur medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Decatur AR residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and find out what type of help is obtainable. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school 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 program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Decatur AR area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Decatur Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Decatur AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Decatur is a city, in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 1,699 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area. This town is named after Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr.
Decatur is located in western Benton County at 36°20′15″N 94°27′24″W / 36.33750°N 94.45667°W / 36.33750; -94.45667 (36.337541, -94.456721).Arkansas Highway 59 passes through the city, leading north 6 miles (10 km) to Gravette and 13 miles (21 km) to the Missouri border, and south 13 miles (21 km) to Siloam Springs. Arkansas Highway 102 leads east 16 miles (26 km) to Bentonville and west 10 miles (16 km) to the Oklahoma border.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Decatur has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.7 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11.5 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.21%, is water.
Select the Best Physical Therapist School near Decatur AR
Selecting the best physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different schools to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Decatur AR.
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