How to Pick a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Jacksonville 72076
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Jacksonville AR is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. 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 additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence 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 cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, such as Jacksonville AR hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Jacksonville AR medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about going 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Jacksonville AR area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several 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 available 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 current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
Although not as common as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Jacksonville AR residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may 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, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Jacksonville AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 choose an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact several Jacksonville AR physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college selections. It might 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 colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Jacksonville AR area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select provides both superior training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy programs you are interested in have partnerships with Jacksonville AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional connections in the Jacksonville health care community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student 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 a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Jacksonville AR home. Individuals who have chosen 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. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of help is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AR area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Jacksonville Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Jacksonville AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Jacksonville is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States, and a suburb of Little Rock. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 28,364. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area with 729,135 people as of 2014.
The city is named for Nicholas Jackson, a landowner who deeded the land for the railroad right-of-way to the Cairo & Fulton Railroad in 1870. The community evolved from the settlement surrounding the railroad depot, eventually incorporating in 1941. In 1941, construction began on the Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP), which served as the primary facility for the development of fuses and detonators for World War II. Following the war, AOP ceased operations and the land was sold for commercial interests, including the development of the Little Rock Air Force Base in 1955. Today, portions of AOP still remain, including the Arkansas Ordnance Plant Guard House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Jacksonville Museum of Military History. Despite Pulaski County being an Arkansas county that is not a "dry" county, as it allows the sales of beer and liquor, the municipal limits of Jacksonville are "moist", as it does not allow the sales of alcohol in stores, but allows the sale of alcohol in some restaurants with special permits.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.2 square miles (73.1 km2), of which 28.1 square miles (72.8 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.42%, is water.
Choose the Best Physical Therapist School near Jacksonville AR
Selecting the right physical therapy school is an important initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Jacksonville AR.
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