How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Mansfield 72944
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Mansfield AR is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people 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 receive the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school 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 evaluated along with 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 the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Mansfield AR hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Mansfield AR health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degree options offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degree levels that are available in the Mansfield AR area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently 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 phased out 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 before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Mansfield AR residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures 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 ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Mansfield AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you pick the program that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier 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 program, it may 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 simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Mansfield AR physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college options. It might also be prudent to contact the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Mansfield AR area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have relationships with Mansfield AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Mansfield medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Mansfield AR residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mansfield AR area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Mansfield Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Mansfield AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Mansfield is a city in Scott and Sebastian counties in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The Sebastian County portion of the city is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 1,139. The population was 1,097 at the 2000 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2), of which 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.89%) is water.
As of the census of 2013, there were 1,121 people, 440 households, and 289 families residing in the city. The population density was 493.2 people per square mile (190.8/km²). There were 505 housing units at an average density of 227.1 per square mile (87.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.81% White, 0.09% Black or African American, 1.09% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 0.91% from other races, and 1.64% from two or more races. 3.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Mansfield AR
Picking the best physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Mansfield AR.
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