How to Find the Right Physical Therapist School near Jonesboro 72401
Getting a physical therapist degree near Jonesboro AR is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate those you are considering to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. 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 work in varying locations, such as Jonesboro AR hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Jonesboro AR health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Jonesboro AR area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
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 USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so 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 requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Jonesboro AR residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Jonesboro AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you need to make sure that you enroll in the college that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the programs 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 enroll in an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call some Jonesboro AR physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school selections. It might also be a good idea 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 couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Jonesboro AR area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapy schools you are evaluating have partnerships with Jonesboro AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Jonesboro healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Jonesboro AR home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form 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 assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Jonesboro AR area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Jonesboro Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Jonesboro AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Jonesboro is a city in Craighead County, Arkansas, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city was 71,551. A college town, home of the Arkansas State Red Wolves, Jonesboro is the largest city in northeastern Arkansas and the Arkansas Delta; it is the fifth-most populous city in the state.
It is the principal city of and is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2010, the Jonesboro metropolitan area had a population of 121,026 and a population of 163,116 in the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area.
Jonesboro is home to Arkansas State University and New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine's A-State campus. It is a regional center for manufacturing, agriculture, medicine, education, and trade.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist College near Jonesboro AR
Selecting the right physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical 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 be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Jonesboro AR.
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