How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Helena 72342
Getting a physical therapy degree near Helena AR is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are looking at to make sure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Helena AR hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Helena AR medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, it is quite 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 Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Helena AR area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Degrees
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Helena AR home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding a few of your initial queries, such as 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 since there are numerous PT schools within the Helena AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously 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 may also receive 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. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact several Helena AR physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program options. It may also be a good idea to check with the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Helena AR area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Arkansas or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Helena AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to receive practical experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional connections in the Helena healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Helena AR home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program 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 to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is obtainable. 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 school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Helena AR area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Helena Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Helena AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Helena–West Helena, Arkansas
Helena–West Helena is the county seat of and the largest city within Phillips County, Arkansas, United States. The current city was consolidated, effective January 1, 2006, from the two Arkansas cities of Helena and West Helena. Helena is sited on lowlands between the Mississippi River and the eastern side of Crowley's Ridge. West Helena is located on the western side of Crowley's Ridge, a geographic anomaly in the typically flat Arkansas Delta. The Helena Bridge, one of Arkansas' four Mississippi River bridges, carries U.S. Route 49 across to Mississippi. The combined population of the two cities was 15,012 at the 2000 census and at the 2010 census, the official population was 12,282.
The municipality traces its historical roots to the founding of the port town of Helena on the Mississippi River by European Americans in 1833. As the county seat, Helena was the center of a prosperous cotton plantation region in the antebellum years. Helena was occupied by the Union Army early in the American Civil War. The city was the site of the Battle of Helena fought in 1863. Confederate forces unsuccessfully tried to expel Union forces from Helena in order to help relieve pressure on the strategic river town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later in the year, Helena served as the launching point for the Union Army in the capture of Little Rock, the state capital.
A thriving blues community developed here in the 1940s and 1950s as rural musicians relocated for city jobs. Mechanization had reduced the need for farm workers. The city continued to grow until the closing of the Mohawk Rubber Company, a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Company, in the 1970s. Unemployment surged shortly after.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Helena AR
Choosing the right physical therapist school is an important first decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit different campuses to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Helena AR.
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