How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Cathedral City 92234
Receiving a physical therapy degree near Cathedral City CA is an essential first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Cathedral City CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Cathedral City CA health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is offered to practice as 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 explanations of degrees that are offered in the Cathedral City CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by junior or community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor 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 USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although not as common as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Cathedral City CA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you most likely have come to decision regarding a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Cathedral City CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering 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 college, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting 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 as well. Get in touch with some Cathedral City CA physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program options. 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 schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapist programs you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Cathedral City CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have relationships with Cathedral City CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to receive hands on 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 Cathedral City health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Cathedral City CA residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Cathedral City CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cathedral City California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cathedral City CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Cathedral City, California
Cathedral City is a city in Riverside County, California. Colloquially known as Cat City, the population was 51,200 at the 2010 census. Located between Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, it is one of the nine cities of the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs area) in Southern California. Cathedral City has the second largest population in the Coachella Valley, after Indio.
The city's name derives from "Cathedral Canyon" to the south of the town, so named in 1850 by Colonel Henry Washington because of its rock formations that are reminiscent of a cathedral. The city started as a housing subdivision in 1925, but it was not incorporated until 1981, and it has grown significantly in population since then.
Cathedral City had a downtown revitalization program started in the late 1990s, with much completed by 2005. A new city hall was built as was the IMAX/Mary Pickford movie theater complex, and a total of 130 acres (0.53 km2) of new or remodeled stores.
Select the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Cathedral City CA
Selecting the right physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Cathedral City CA.
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