How to Choose a Physical Therapist Program near Paragould 72450
Getting a physical therapist degree near Paragould AR is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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 work in a variety of locations, including Paragould AR hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Paragould AR medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather 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 Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, 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 advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are offered in the Paragould 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 be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often made available by community colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and often 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 also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of 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 even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Paragould AR home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses 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 best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Paragould AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll have to research additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier mentioned, 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 college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Paragould AR physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college selections. It might also be prudent 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Paragould AR area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select 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 therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have associations with Paragould AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent means to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Paragould medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Paragould AR home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously 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 choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Paragould AR area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Paragould Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Paragould AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Paragould is the county seat of Greene County, and the 19th-largest city in Arkansas, in the United States. The city is located in northeastern Arkansas on the eastern edge of Crowley's Ridge, a geologic anomaly contained within the Arkansas delta.
Paragould is the principal city of the Paragould, Arkansas Micropolitan Statistical Area and is also a part of the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area. The Paragould micropolitan area's population was 42,090 at the 2010 census, and the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area's population was 163,116.
The city's name is a blend combining the last names of competing railroad magnates J. W. Paramore and Jay Gould. Paramore's Texas & St. Louis Railway (later the Cotton Belt) and Gould's St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway (later the Missouri Pacific) intersected here in 1882. A group of citizens chose the name, and it is believed to be the only city in the world with this name. Gould objected to his name's being second and refused to list the new town on his schedules.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Paragould AR
Picking the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that numerous variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach 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 field so you can make the best choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Paragould AR.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Arkansas