How to Choose a Physical Therapist School near Bridgeport 93517
Getting a physical therapist degree near Bridgeport CA is an essential first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Bridgeport CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Bridgeport CA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing 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 offered in the Bridgeport CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only 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. Some 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 Therapy Colleges Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees 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 near the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Bridgeport CA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Bridgeport CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you select 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 therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional 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 enroll in an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for 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 also. Get in touch with some Bridgeport 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 recommendations about your college options. It might also be a good idea to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Bridgeport 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 excellent. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have associations with Bridgeport CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent manner to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional relationships in the Bridgeport health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. 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 converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Bridgeport 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 concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps 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 often charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bridgeport CA area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Bridgeport California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Bridgeport CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Bridgeport is a census-designated place (CDP) in and the county seat of Mono County, California, United States. It lies at an elevation of 6463 feet (1970 m) in the middle of the Bridgeport Valley. Bridgeport is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 395 and State Route 182. The population was 575 at the 2010 census.
The first post office at Bridgeport opened in 1864. The ZIP code is 93517, and the community is in area codes 442 and 760. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 21.7 sq mi (56.3 km2), 99.96% of it land, and 0.04% of it water. The US Marine Corps' Mountain Warfare Training Center is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of Bridgeport on State Route 108.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Bridgeport had a population of 575. The population density was 26.4 people per square mile (10.2/km²). The racial makeup of Bridgeport was 484 (84.2%) White, 1 (0.2%) African American, 43 (7.5%) Native American, 1 (0.2%) Asian, 0 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 25 (4.3%) from other races, and 21 (3.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 148 persons (25.7%).
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Bridgeport CA
Selecting the right physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you enroll in should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are other relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak with current 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 following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Bridgeport CA.
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