Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Arcata CA

How to Find the Right Physical Therapist College near Arcata 95518

Arcata CA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Arcata CA is an essential first step to launching a fulfilling career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss 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?

Arcata CA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in a variety of settings, such as Arcata CA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all have 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 frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Arcata CA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Arcata CA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Arcata CA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as 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 degrees are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 complete, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing also.

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. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Programs

woman attending physical therapy school online in Arcata CAAlthough not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Arcata CA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Arcata CA area and across California, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you choose the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited?  Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 enroll in an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting 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 as well. Get in touch with some Arcata CA physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It may also be prudent 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 couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Arcata CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapy schools you are assessing have partnerships with Arcata CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Arcata health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average teacher to student 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 a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Arcata CA home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Arcata CA area, make certain 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Arcata California?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Arcata CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Arcata, California

Arcata, originally Union Town or Union, is a city adjacent to the Arcata Bay (northern) portion of Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County, California, United States. At the 2010 census, Arcata's population was 17,231. Arcata, located 280 miles (450 km) north of San Francisco (via Highway 101), is home to Humboldt State University. Arcata is also the location of the Arcata Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which is responsible for the administration of natural resources, lands and mineral programs, including the Headwaters Forest, on approximately 200,000 acres of public land in Northwestern California.

Arcata has been notably progressive in its political makeup, and was the first city in the United States to elect a majority of its city council members from the Green Party. As a result of the progressive majority, Arcata capped the number of chain restaurants allowed in the city.[9] Arcata was also the first municipality to ban the growth of any type of Genetically Modified Organism within city limits, with exceptions for research and educational purposes.[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28.5 km2), of which 9.1 square miles (23.6 km2) is land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) (17.25%) is water.

Select the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Arcata CA

Picking the ideal physical therapy college is an important initial 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 decide on should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many factors will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Arcata CA.

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