How to Choose a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Bell Gardens 90202
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Bell Gardens CA is an important first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. 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 also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will deliver a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Bell Gardens CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Bell Gardens 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. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are available in the Bell Gardens CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several 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 phased out and is no longer available in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature 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. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Bell Gardens CA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as 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 numerous PT colleges within the Bell Gardens CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Moreover, you need to be sure that you enroll in the college that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 select an online college, it may also earn 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. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Call some Bell Gardens CA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It may also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Bell Gardens CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you select furnishes both exceptional 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy colleges you are interested in have associations with Bell Gardens CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Bell Gardens medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Bell Gardens CA home. Individuals 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 concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bell Gardens CA area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Bell Gardens California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Bell Gardens CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Bell Gardens, California
Bell Gardens is notable for being one of only six Los Angeles County cities (out of 88 total) to permit casino gambling (the others being Inglewood, Gardena, Commerce, Compton, and Hawaiian Gardens). Dice games and slot machines are forbidden by state law.
The city of Bell Gardens has a Native American history dating back thousands of years. In the late 18th century, when the area was associated with a large amount of land situated along the lower basin of the Rio Hondo area in Los Angeles County, Bell Gardens was once a bustling agricultural center for Californios during the Spanish Empire, 1509–1823, the Mexican government, 1823–1848, and the United States, after the Mexican-American war concluded in 1848.
Among those early Spanish settlers was one of California's first families, the Lugos. While stationed at Mission San Antonio de Padua near Salinas, California, Francisco Lugo's son Antonio Maria Lugo was born in 1783. In 1810 Antonio Lugo, a 35-year-old corporal in the Spanish army, was given the 29,514-acre (119.44 km2) Rancho San Antonio land grant. The land grant was a reward for his military service during the establishment of the Franciscan Missions in California while being the attendant of colonization for the area. Today the grant includes the cities of Bell Gardens, Bell, Maywood, Vernon, Huntington Park, Walnut Park, Cudahy, South Gate, Lynwood and Commerce.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy College near Bell Gardens CA
Selecting the best physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you select should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You might decide to visit each of the schools to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Bell Gardens CA.
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