How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy Program near Walnut Ridge 72476
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Walnut Ridge AR is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled 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 obtain the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to 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 what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Walnut Ridge AR hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Walnut Ridge AR medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Walnut Ridge AR area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing 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 complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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. A number of practicing physical therapists holding 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 Degrees
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Walnut Ridge AR residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than similar on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, 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 Walnut Ridge AR area and across Arkansas, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with 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 school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’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 agencies for their reviews also. Contact a few Walnut Ridge AR physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program options. It might also be prudent to check with the Arkansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might indicate that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Walnut Ridge AR area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For 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 practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have relationships with Walnut Ridge AR hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Walnut Ridge healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Walnut Ridge AR residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Walnut Ridge AR area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses 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 illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Walnut Ridge Arkansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Walnut Ridge AR area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
Walnut Ridge is a town in Lawrence County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 4,925 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Lawrence County. Walnut Ridge lies immediately north of Hoxie. The two towns form a contiguous urban area with approximately 8,000 residents. Williams Baptist College is in College City, a formerly separate community that merged into Walnut Ridge in 2017.
Walnut Ridge was formally established in 1875 as a result of the railroad coming through the area. Previously there had been settlement in the area known as Old Walnut Ridge not far from the current city since about 1860.
Climate is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfa" (Humid Subtropical Climate).
Select the Best Physical Therapist Training Program near Walnut Ridge AR
Choosing the best physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that many variables will lead you to your final decision. You may want to visit different colleges to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Walnut Ridge AR.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Arkansas