How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Salem 72576
Getting a physical therapist degree near Salem AR is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to make sure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, 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 settings, such as Salem AR private practices, hospitals, 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 individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Salem AR medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are available in the Salem AR area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion 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 eliminated and is no longer offered 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 existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Salem AR home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Salem AR area and throughout Arkansas, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you select the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 enroll in an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Salem AR physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students left because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Salem AR area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum 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 therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing have associations with Salem AR clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional connections in the Salem medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Salem AR residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Salem AR area, confirm 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Salem Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Salem AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Salem AR
Deciding on the best physical therapy program is an important first decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to view their facilities and speak to active 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 best selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Salem AR.
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