How to Pick a Physical Therapist Training Program near Fayetteville 72701
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Fayetteville AR is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are looking at to make certain they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Fayetteville AR hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create 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. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Fayetteville AR health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Fayetteville AR area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, 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 school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fayetteville AR residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can 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 may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Fayetteville AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you enroll in 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 colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain 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? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Fayetteville AR physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fayetteville AR area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have partnerships with Fayetteville AR clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Fayetteville health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Fayetteville AR residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fayetteville AR area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fayetteville Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fayetteville AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and county seat of Washington County. The city is centrally located within the county and has been home of the University of Arkansas since the institution's founding in 1871. Fayetteville is on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains, deep within the Ozarks. Known as Washington until 1829, the city was named after Fayetteville, Tennessee, from which many of the settlers had come. It was incorporated on November 3, 1836 and was rechartered in 1867. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 105th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 73,580 at the 2010 Census.
Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas, the state's largest university. When classes are in session, thousands of students on campus dramatically change the city's demographics. Thousands of Arkansas Razorbacks alumni and fans travel to Fayetteville to attend football, basketball, and baseball games. The University's men's track and field program has won 41 national championships to date. Fayetteville was named the third best place to live in the United States in the 2016 U.S. News Best Places To Live Rankings, and one of the best places to retire in the South.Forbes also ranked Fayetteville as the 24th-best city for business and careers in 2016. Lonely Planet named Fayetteville among its top 20 places to visit in the South in 2016. The city hosts the Walmart Shareholders Meetings each year at the Bud Walton Arena.
In 1828, George McGarrah settled at Big Spring with his family on the modern day corner of Spring and Willow, founding the town of Washington, and starting work on the courthouse. On October 17, Washington County was established, Washington chosen as the county seat. The Washington Courthouse was finished in 1829, and also contained the post office. Later in the year Postmaster Larkin Newton changed the name to the Fayetteville Courthouse, to avoid confusing with Washington, Hempstead County. Two councilmen selected to name the city were from Fayetteville, Tennessee, which was itself named for Fayetteville, North Carolina (where some of its earliest residents had lived before moving to Tennessee). That original Fayetteville was named for General Lafayette, a French general who helped the colonies gain independence in the American Revolutionary War.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist College near Fayetteville AR
Picking the best physical therapy program is an important first decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school 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 ideal selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Fayetteville AR.
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