How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Arroyo Grande 93420
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Arroyo Grande CA is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to make sure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Arroyo Grande CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Arroyo Grande CA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Arroyo Grande CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
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 USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more 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 near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Arroyo Grande CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapist 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 so many PT colleges within the Arroyo Grande CA area and across California, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make certain that you select the college that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, 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 school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Arroyo Grande CA physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Arroyo Grande CA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have relationships with Arroyo Grande CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific means to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Arroyo Grande medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Arroyo Grande CA home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Arroyo Grande CA area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. 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 Arroyo Grande California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Arroyo Grande CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Arroyo Grande, California
The first Europeans to see this stretch of coast were the crew of Portuguese explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, working in the service of Spain. The Spanish Portolá expedition was the first European visit by land, passing through the area on September 4, 1769. When Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was established nearby, the Portolà trail became part of the road connecting the 21 Spanish missions (today called El Camino Real). Later, agricultural activities expanded into the area. The Arroyo Grande Valley was found to have particularly fertile ground and was given the name meaning "wide riverbed" in Spanish.
Francis Ziba Branch, originally from New York, saw the area on a hunting expedition during the period when California was part of Mexico. Branch married María Manuela Carlón, and this marriage entitled Branch to file a claim for a Mexican land grant. In 1836 he, his wife, and baby son moved onto Rancho Santa Manuela. They were managing a successful cattle ranching operation when California became a U.S. territory, and then a U.S. state. But some years later they suffered financial difficulties during a drought when many cattle died. They sold off smaller parcels of land to settlers.
In 1862, the San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors established the township of Arroyo Grande. Businesses developed along a road called Branch Street to serve local agriculture. A railroad depot was built in 1882. The city of Arroyo Grande was incorporated on July 10, 1911.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy School near Arroyo Grande CA
Choosing the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You might want to visit different schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to 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 achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Arroyo Grande CA.
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