How to Pick a Physical Therapist Program near Belmont 94002
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Belmont CA is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered along with location and cost. But before we cover 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?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Belmont CA hospitals, health clinics, 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 touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Belmont CA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Belmont CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a component of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a practicing licensed 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 total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several 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 available in the USA. A number of practicing 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 instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Belmont CA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your initial queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Belmont CA area and across California, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make certain that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As earlier 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 select an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with several Belmont CA physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low 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 hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Belmont CA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Belmont CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Belmont health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are considering 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Belmont CA home. Individuals who have decided 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are considering have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Belmont CA area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Belmont California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Belmont CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Belmont is a city in San Mateo County in the U.S. state of California. It is in the San Francisco Bay Area, on the San Francisco Peninsula halfway between San Francisco and San Jose. It was originally part of Rancho de las Pulgas, for which one of its main roads, the Alameda de las Pulgas, is named. The city was incorporated in 1926. Its population was 25,835 at the 2010 census.
Ralston Hall is a historic landmark built by Bank of California founder, William Chapman Ralston, on the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University. It was built around a villa formerly owned by Count Cipriani, an Italian aristocrat. The locally famous "Waterdog Lake" is also located in the foothills and highlands of Belmont.
One of two surviving structures from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition is on Belmont Avenue (the other is the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco). The building was brought to Belmont by E.D. Swift shortly after the exposition closed in 1915. Swift owned a large amount of land in the area.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near Belmont CA
Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary first decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead 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 critical question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Belmont CA.
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