How to Choose a Physical Therapy Program near Costa Mesa 92626
Getting a physical therapist degree near Costa Mesa CA is a critical first step to starting a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will furnish a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover 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, including Costa Mesa CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems 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:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Costa Mesa CA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee 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 considering getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather 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 Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Costa Mesa 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 earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 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 classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not only 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of 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 Therapy Online Schools
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Costa Mesa CA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Costa Mesa CA area and across California, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs 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 choose an online school, it may also earn 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. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact a few Costa Mesa CA physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program 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 schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Costa Mesa CA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have relationships with Costa Mesa CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional connections in the Costa Mesa medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Costa Mesa CA home. Students who have chosen 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 importance. One thing to keep 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Most DPT schools supply some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what type of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Costa Mesa CA area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Costa Mesa California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Costa Mesa CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Costa Mesa, California
Costa Mesa is a city in Orange County, California. Since its incorporation in 1953, the city has grown from a semi-rural farming community of 16,840 to a primarily suburban and edge city with an economy based on retail, commerce, and light manufacturing. The population was 109,960 at the 2010 United States Census.
Members of the Gabrieleño/Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño nations long inhabited the area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish expedition led by Junípero Serra named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the area's first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain.
In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted 62,500 acres (253 km2) to Jose Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the communities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today.
Enroll in the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Costa Mesa CA
Deciding on the best physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit different schools to see their facilities and talk with active 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 additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Costa Mesa CA.
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