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

How to Choose a Physical Therapy Program near Atherton 94027

Atherton CA physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Atherton CA is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to make certain they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Atherton CA physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Atherton CA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Atherton CA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degree Options

Atherton CA physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Atherton CA area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Online Schools

woman attending physical therapy school online in Atherton CAWhile not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of 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 college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Atherton CA residence. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Atherton CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you select the college that is best for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.

Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have received 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 school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call several Atherton CA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your program options. It might also be prudent to check with 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 useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Atherton CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.

Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ 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 Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have relationships with Atherton CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Atherton healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Atherton CA home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Atherton CA area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Atherton California?

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

Atherton, California

Atherton is an incorporated town in San Mateo County, California, United States. Its population was 7,159 as of 2013. In 1990, Atherton was ranked as having the highest per capita income among U.S. towns with a population between 2,500 and 9,999,[11] and it is regularly ranked among the most expensive ZIP Codes in the country.[12][13][14]

In 1866, Atherton was known as Fair Oaks, and was a flag stop on the California Coast Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad between San Francisco and San Jose for the convenience of the owners of the large estates who lived north of Menlo Park. The entire area was called Menlo Park. It had been part of the Rancho de las Pulgas that had covered most of the area, which is now southern San Mateo County. There were several attempts to incorporate Fair Oaks, one in 1874 and another in 1911.

In 1923, Menlo Park wished to incorporate its lands to include the Fair Oaks lands. During a meeting of the representatives of the two communities, it became clear to the Fair Oaks property owners that in order to maintain their community as a strictly residential area, they would have to incorporate separately. Both groups rushed to Sacramento but the Fair Oaks committee arrived first. It was at that time they realized that they could not keep the name Fair Oaks, as it was already the name of a town near Sacramento. It was decided to honor Faxon Dean Atherton who had been one of the first property owners in the south peninsula and name the town for him. Atherton was incorporated on September 12, 1923. That same year, in 1923, the Menlo Polo Club was founded in Atherton.[15][16]

Select the Right Physical Therapy College near Atherton CA

Deciding on the right physical therapy school is an important first decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Atherton CA.

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