How to Select a Physical Therapist Program near Alameda 94501
Getting a physical therapist degree near Alameda CA is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back 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 be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are looking at to make certain they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, such as Alameda CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. 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 in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Alameda CA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy field, 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 Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Alameda CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing 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 total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as common as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, 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 near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Alameda CA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may 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 concerning a few of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Alameda CA area and across California, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you choose the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 choose an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call several Alameda CA physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school selections. It might also be a good idea to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Alameda CA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are interested in have associations with Alameda CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Alameda medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Alameda CA residence. Individuals who have decided 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 importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Alameda CA area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Alameda California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Alameda CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Alameda (/ˌæləˈmiːdə/ AL-ə-MEE-də; Spanish: [ala'meða]) is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It is located on Alameda Island and Bay Farm Island, and is adjacent to and south of Oakland and east of San Francisco across the San Francisco Bay. Bay Farm Island, a portion of which is also known as "Harbor Bay Isle", is not actually an island, and is part of the mainland adjacent to the Oakland International Airport. The city's estimated 2017 population was 79,928. Alameda is a charter city, rather than a general law city, allowing the city to provide for any form of government. Alameda became a charter city and adopted a council–manager government in 1916, which it retains to the present.
The island Alameda occupies what was originally a peninsula connected to Oakland. Much of it was low-lying and marshy, but on higher ground than the peninsula and adjacent parts of what is now downtown Oakland were home to one of the largest coastal oak forests in the world. The area was therefore called Encinal, Spanish for "forest of evergreen oak".Alameda is Spanish for "grove of poplar trees" or "tree-lined avenue", and was chosen in 1853 by popular vote.
The inhabitants at the time of the arrival of the Spanish in the late 18th century were a local band of the Ohlone tribe. The peninsula became part of the vast Rancho San Antonio granted in 1820 to Luis Peralta by the Spanish king who claimed California. The grant was later confirmed by the new Republic of Mexico upon its independence from Spain.
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Alameda CA
Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school 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 accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Alameda CA.
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