How to Select a Physical Therapy School near Azusa 91702
Getting a physical therapist degree near Azusa CA is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to ensure they will furnish a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select 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 need to be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss 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’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Azusa CA private practices, hospitals, 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 previously stated, physical therapists help people 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 deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Azusa CA medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Azusa CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an important element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in several 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 practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Azusa CA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Azusa CA area and across California, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to be sure that you select the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact several Azusa CA physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact 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 Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Azusa CA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have relationships with Azusa CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Azusa healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Azusa CA home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are examining have a financial aid department and see what kind of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Azusa CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Azusa California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Azusa CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The A on the San Gabriel Mountains represents the city of Azusa, and can be seen within a 30-mile radius. The population was 46,361 at the 2010 census, up from 44,712 at the 2000 census. Azusa is located along historic Route 66, which passes through the city on Foothill Boulevard and Alosta Avenue.
"Azusa stands for everything from A to Z in the U.S.A." has been a phrase used to promote the town by boosters such as the Chamber of Commerce for many years. The place name "Azusa" dates to the Mexican Alta California era in the 19th century when Azusa was used to refer to the San Gabriel Valley and the San Gabriel River. It appears to have been derived from the Tongva place name Asuksagna. The area was part of the Tongva peoples (Gabrieleño Indians) homeland since at least 55 BC.
The first Mexican settlement in Azusa was at the Rancho el Susa in 1841, a Mexican land grant from the Alta California Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to Luis Arenas. In 1844 Arenas sold the rancho's land to Henry Dalton, an English immigrant and wealthy merchant from the Pueblo of Los Angeles, for $7,000. He renamed it Rancho Azusa de Dalton, and had built a winery, distillery, vinegar house, meat smokehouse, and flour mill. Also, a vineyard was planted. Dalton built a house here on a place known as Dalton Hill, near 6th Street and Cerritos Avenue in Azusa.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Azusa CA
Selecting the right physical therapy college is an important initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me accomplish 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 field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Azusa CA.
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