How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Farmington 72730
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Farmington AR is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant 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 cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Farmington AR hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Farmington AR health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several 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 regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long 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 graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degree levels that are available in the Farmington AR area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Farmington AR residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you probably have made a decision regarding a few of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Farmington AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you enroll in the school that is ideal 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 considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting 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 organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Farmington AR physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your program selections. It might also be prudent to check with the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, 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 Farmington AR area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with Farmington AR clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Farmington health care community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher 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 a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Farmington AR residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Farmington AR area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Farmington Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Farmington AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Farmington is a city in Washington County, Arkansas, United States. The community is nestled in a valley among the Boston Mountains, a subset of the Ozark Mountains. Although the first settlers came from the Deep South in 1828, the community did not incorporate until 1946. Located immediately west of Fayetteville in the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan statistical area, Farmington has been experiencing a population boom in recent years, as indicated by a 66% growth in population between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. It has been characterized as a bedroom community by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center.
The first settlers came from the Deep South in 1828, and the area was known as Engel's Mill until a post office was built in 1868 and the village was renamed. The Civil War had a great impact on the community, as many residents were Confederate sympathizers despite most of northwest Arkansas supporting the Union. The Battle of Prairie Grove occurred not far from Farmington, and the city was subject to raids by both armies as well as unaffiliated guerrillas and roughnecks.
Around the 1890s, residents found prosperity by growing strawberries and grapes and shipping them on the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway. The tracks were pulled up during World War II, something the company had wanted to do for years, under the guise of the war effort. Farmington was incorporated on October 15, 1946.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy College near Farmington AR
Picking the best physical therapist school is an important initial decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important 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 have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Farmington AR.
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