How to Choose a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Cerritos 90703
Getting a physical therapist degree near Cerritos CA is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate those you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered in addition to 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Cerritos CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues 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
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Cerritos CA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are offered in the Cerritos CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just 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 attainable in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure 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 in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Cerritos CA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like 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 colleges within the Cerritos CA area and across California, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have earned 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 choose an online program, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Cerritos CA physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school options. It may also be prudent 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 Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Cerritos CA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports 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 therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have associations with Cerritos CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Cerritos health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Cerritos CA residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cerritos CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cerritos California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cerritos CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Cerritos (Spanish for little hills), formerly named Dairy Valley because of the preponderance of dairy farms in the area, is an affluent suburban city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and is one of several cities that constitute the Gateway Cities of southeast Los Angeles County. It was incorporated on April 24, 1956. As of the 2010 census, the population was 49,041. It is part of the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim, California Metropolitan Statistical Area designated by the Office of Management and Budget.
Cerritos was originally inhabited by Native Americans belonging to the Tongva (or "People of the Earth"). Later, the Tongva would be renamed the "Gabrieleños" by the Spanish settlers after the nearby Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. The Gabrieleños were the largest group of Southern California Indians as well as the most developed in the region. The Gabrieleños lived off the land, deriving food from the animals or plants that could be gathered, snared or hunted, and grinding acorns as a staple.
Beginning in the late 15th century, Spanish explorers arrived in the New World and worked their way to the California coast in 1542. The colonization process included "civilizing" the native populations in California by means of establishing various missions. Soon afterwards, a town called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (Los Angeles today) would be founded and prosper with the aid of subjects from New Spain and Native American labor.
Select the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Cerritos CA
Choosing the ideal physical therapist program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to launch a fulfilling career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Cerritos CA.
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