How to Select a Physical Therapist Program near Cayucos 93430
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Cayucos CA is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are looking at to ensure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. 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 Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse locations, including Cayucos CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Cayucos CA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Cayucos CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order 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 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Cayucos CA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you probably have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the Cayucos CA area and across California, you’ll have to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. 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 enroll in an online program, it can 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. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Cayucos CA physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your school options. It might 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 Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Cayucos CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a large network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have relationships with Cayucos CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive practical experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the Cayucos medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Cayucos CA home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and see what kind of aid is obtainable. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer 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 finally you must verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Cayucos CA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cayucos California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cayucos CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Cayucos is a census-designated place located on the coast in San Luis Obispo County, California along California State Route 1 between Cambria to the north and Morro Bay to the south. The population was 2,592 at the 2010 census, down from 2,943 at the 2000 census.
Prehistorically the local area was inhabited by the Chumash people, who settled the coastal San Luis Obispo area approximately 11,000 to 10,000 BC, including a large village to the south of Cayucos at Morro Creek.
The first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish Portolà expedition, camped in the vicinity of today's Cayucos on September 9, 1769. Coming from the previous campsite near Morro Bay, Franciscan missionary and expedition member Juan Crespi noted in his diary that "In the four hours that we traveled, making at the most three leagues, we encountered eight arroyos by which the water from the mountains runs to the sea, along whose edge we traveled. We halted at the eighth watering place in a moderately broad valley, into which enters an estuary fed by an arroyo of good water coming from the mountains." Crespi translator Herbert Bolton noted the camp location as Ellysley Creek (further along the coast to the northwest), but the description sounds more like Cayucos.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Cayucos CA
Choosing the right physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Cayucos CA.
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