How to Select a Physical Therapist Training Program near El Cerrito 94530
Getting a physical therapy degree near El Cerrito CA is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are considering to ensure they will furnish a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in 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 considered along with cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as El Cerrito CA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. 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 frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other El Cerrito CA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly 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 degrees available for individuals to pursue 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 concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief explanations of degree levels that are offered in the El Cerrito CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential component in addition to the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in some states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online part of the course of study can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s El Cerrito CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you would like to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the El Cerrito CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate 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 organizations for their reviews also. Call several El Cerrito CA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your program selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should 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 dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the El Cerrito CA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also verifies that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. 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 supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have associations with El Cerrito CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates develop professional connections in the El Cerrito health care community and assist with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing 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 speak with some 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 choose will have to be within driving distance of their El Cerrito CA home. 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 area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Support Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial assistance may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapist program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the El Cerrito CA area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near El Cerrito California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the El Cerrito CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
El Cerrito, California
El Cerrito is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, and forms part of the San Francisco Bay Area. It has a population of 23,549 according to the 2010 census. El Cerrito was founded by refugees from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It was incorporated in 1917 as a village with 1,500 residents. As of the census in 2000, there were 23,171 people, 10,208 households and 5,971 families in the city. The top 20 employers in the city, according to the 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, include such entities as the West Contra Costa Unified School District, the City of El Cerrito, Lucky Stores, Pastime ACE Hardware, and Honda of El Cerrito.
El Cerrito was founded by refugees from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. They settled in what was then Don Víctor Castro's Rancho San Pablo, and adjacent to the ranch owned by the family of Luís María Peralta, the Rancho San Antonio. A post office opened at the settlement in 1909 and the refugee camp became known as Rust, after Wilhelm F. Rust, its first postmaster. The village's residents did not care for the name and changed it to El Cerrito in 1916, in reference to the prominent Albany Hill just south of the village (the name means "little hill" or "knoll"). A year later, El Cerrito was incorporated as a village with 1,500 residents.
El Cerrito is located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. The hilly areas of El Cerrito provide views of its neighboring city, and of the Golden Gate Bridge. El Cerrito is located along Interstate 80, and nearby Interstate 580. The city is less than 30 miles from two major airports. El Cerrito is bordered by Albany and Kensington to the south, the Richmond annex to the west, East Richmond Heights to the north, and Wildcat Canyon Regional Park to the east. Local landmark Albany Hill is in Albany, just across the border with El Cerrito. (El Cerrito—Spanish, "the little hill"—takes its name from Albany Hill.) The Hayward Fault runs through El Cerrito. In addition, El Cerrito is within 150 meters (490 feet) of Berkeley to the southeast.
Select the Right Physical Therapist School near El Cerrito CA
Selecting the right physical therapist school is a necessary initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that many variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might want to go to different schools to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right selection. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in El Cerrito CA.
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