How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near Baldwin Park 91706
Earning a physical therapist degree near Baldwin Park CA is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to make sure they will deliver a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to 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 address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, such as Baldwin Park CA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Baldwin Park CA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating 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 heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Baldwin Park CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 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 complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Baldwin Park CA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist 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 so many PT colleges within the Baldwin Park CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make sure that you select the college that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate 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 imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school’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 organizations for their reviews as well. Call some Baldwin Park CA physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program selections. 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 schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out due to 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 Baldwin Park CA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you select furnishes both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. 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 Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have relationships with Baldwin Park CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the Baldwin Park health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Baldwin Park CA residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of aid is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapist program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Baldwin Park CA area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Baldwin Park California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Baldwin Park CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Baldwin Park, California
Baldwin Park is a city located in the central San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,390, down from 75,837 at the 2000 census.
Baldwin Park began as part of cattle grazing land belonging to the San Gabriel Mission. It eventually became part of the Rancho Azusa de Dalton and the Rancho La Puente properties. The community became known as Vineland in 1860. By 1906 it changed to Baldwin Park. It was named after Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin. In 1956 Baldwin Park became the 47th incorporated city in the State of California. Currently the city is pushing to revitalize its economic base. There are six active Project Redevelopment Areas located in strategic areas of the city.
Projects within these redevelopment areas are as diverse, including high-quality senior housing, Home Depot, Starbucks, Harley Davidson, a transit oriented district (TOD) near the Metrolink Train Station and various other thriving businesses.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapist Degree Program near Baldwin Park CA
Selecting the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you must make to begin a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many factors will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to view their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to 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 proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Baldwin Park CA.
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