How to Select a Physical Therapy College near Fullerton 92831
Earning a physical therapist degree near Fullerton CA is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must receive the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to make certain they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss 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 diverse settings, such as Fullerton CA private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to address the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Fullerton CA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapy degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are offered in the Fullerton CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist training to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order 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 finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal 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 taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Fullerton CA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of instances more affordable. Tuition can be significantly less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you probably have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, including the type 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 Fullerton CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier mentioned, 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 college, it may also earn 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. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with a few Fullerton CA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Fullerton CA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you choose furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Fullerton CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can assist students and graduates establish professional relationships in the Fullerton health care community and help with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are looking at 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Fullerton CA residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what type of aid is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Fullerton CA area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Fullerton California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Fullerton CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Fullerton was founded in 1887. It secured the land on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Historically it was a center of agriculture, notably groves of Valencia oranges and other citrus crops; petroleum extraction; transportation; and manufacturing. It is home to numerous higher educational institutions, particularly California State University, Fullerton and Fullerton College. From the mid-1940s through the late 1990s, Fullerton was home to a large industrial base made up of aerospace contractors, canneries, paper products manufacturers, and is considered to be the birthplace of the electric guitar, due in a large part to Leo Fender. The headquarters of Vons, which is owned by Albertsons, is located in Fullerton near the Fullerton-Anaheim line.
Evidence of prehistoric animal habitation, such as saber-toothed cats and mammoths, is present in Ralph B. Clark Regional Park in the northwest of the city.Europeans first passed through the area in 1769 when Gaspar de Portolà led a Spanish expedition north to Monterey. From the description recorded in the diary of Father Juan Crespi, it seems likely that the party camped on July 29 near present-day Laguna Lake, in the Sunny Hills area.
After establishment of Mission San Gabriel Arcangel in 1771, the local Tongva people were dubbed "Gabrieliños" by the Spanish. In 1837, the Fullerton area became part of Rancho San Juan Cajón de Santa Ana, granted to Juan Pacifico Ontiveros, a Spanish soldier.
Pick the Right Physical Therapist School near Fullerton CA
Selecting the ideal physical therapy program is an important initial decision you have to 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 select should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school 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 field so you can make the best selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Fullerton CA.
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