How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Atwater 95301
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Atwater CA is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we cover 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Atwater CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Atwater CA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Atwater CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to finish and commonly include 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 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 seven years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to 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 part of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Atwater CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, 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 disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Atwater CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of college options. Moreover, you want to make certain that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously 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 can also obtain 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, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Atwater CA physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school options. It might also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two significant statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Atwater CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have relationships with Atwater CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to get hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Atwater healthcare community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Atwater CA home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what type of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Atwater CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Atwater California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Atwater CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Atwater is a city on State Route 99 in Merced County, California, United States. Atwater is 8 miles (13 km) west-northwest of Merced, at an elevation of 151 feet (46 m). The population as of the 2010 census was 28,168.
The railroad reached Atwater in the 1870s, and a town grew up. The first post office opened in 1880. Atwater incorporated in 1922. The name honors Marshall D. Atwater, a wheat farmer whose land was used by the railroad for its station.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Atwater had a population of 28,168. The population density was 4,620.8 people per square mile (1,784.1/km²). The racial makeup of Atwater was 18,410 (65.4%) White, 14,808 (52.6%) Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1,225 (4.3%) African American, 364 (1.3%) Native American, 1,416 (5.0%) Asian, 76 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 5,300 (18.8%) from other races, and 1,377 (4.9%) from two or more races.
Enroll in the Best Physical Therapist College near Atwater CA
Selecting the best physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Atwater CA.
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