How to Select a Physical Therapy School near Fordyce 71742
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Fordyce AR is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are considering to make certain they will furnish a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we cover 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’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Fordyce AR hospitals, health clinics, 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 touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement 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.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Fordyce AR medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single 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 preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Fordyce AR area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 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 3 years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some 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 attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so 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 school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Fordyce AR home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Fordyce AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to make sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to 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 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Fordyce AR physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may 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 see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fordyce AR area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have relationships with Fordyce AR clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Fordyce healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Fordyce AR residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of assistance is available. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fordyce AR area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fordyce Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fordyce AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fordyce is located in southeastern Dallas County, with the city's southern border following the Calhoun County line. U.S. Routes 79 and 167 bypass the city center to the north and west, while Arkansas Highway 8 passes through the downtown area. US 79 leads northeast 42 miles (68 km) to Pine Bluff and southwest 31 miles (50 km) to Camden, while US 167 leads north 35 miles (56 km) to Sheridan and south 51 miles (82 km) to El Dorado. AR 8 leads southeast 26 miles (42 km) to Warren and northwest 49 miles (79 km) to Arkadelphia.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 4,300 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 53.3% Black, 42.0% White, 0.5% Native American, 0.2% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from some other race and 1.1% from two or more races. 2.6% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,799 people, 1,737 households, and 1,186 families residing in the city. The population density was 727.8 people per square mile (281.2/km²). There were 2,024 housing units at an average density of 307 square miles (800 km2). The racial makeup of the city was 48.61% White, 49.66% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.75% from other races, and 0.38% from two or more races. 1.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Fordyce AR
Selecting the right physical therapist school is an important initial decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me achieve 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 appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Fordyce AR.
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