How to Choose a Physical Therapist College near Covina 91722
Getting a physical therapy degree near Covina CA is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are considering to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not 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 must be evaluated 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists work in diverse settings, including Covina CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Covina CA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are three physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on 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 Covina CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to finish 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the total investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, 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 holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Covina CA residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Covina CA area and across California, you’ll have to look into other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 select an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for 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 as well. Get in touch with a few Covina CA physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It may also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you should find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Covina CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements vary 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 tests.
Are Internships Provided? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Covina CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means 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 can help students and graduates establish professional connections in the Covina health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Covina CA residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Covina CA area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Covina California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Covina CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Covina is a city in Los Angeles County, California, about 22 miles (35 km) east of downtown Los Angeles, in the San Gabriel Valley region. The population was 47,796 at the 2010 census, up from 46,837 at the 2000 census. The city's slogan, "One Mile Square and All There", was coined when the incorporated area of the city was only (some say slightly less than) one square mile.
Covina is often confused with West Covina which is actually larger in both area and population, located to its south and westside. Irwindale lies to the west, as well as the unincorporated area of Vincent, and the city of Baldwin Park. Azusa and Glendora are to the north, the unincorporated community of Charter Oak to the northeast, San Dimas to the east, the unincorporated areas of Ramona and Via Verde, and the city of Pomona to the southeast.
Present day Covina was originally within the homelands of the indigenous Tongva people for 5,000 to 8,000 years. In the 18th century it the became part of Rancho La Puente in Alta California, a 1770s Spanish colonial and 1842 Mexican land grants.
Select the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Covina CA
Selecting the right physical therapy school is an important initial decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to different campuses to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Covina CA.
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