How to Choose a Physical Therapist College near Hanford 93230
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Hanford CA is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including Hanford CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Hanford CA medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something 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 prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degree options available for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degrees that are available in the Hanford CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Schools Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so 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 necessitates that the student live near the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online portion of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Hanford CA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision concerning a few of your preliminary queries, like 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 considering there are numerous PT schools within the Hanford CA area and across California, you’ll need to research other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 enroll in an online school, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist school and program you enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call some Hanford CA physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your college options. It may also be prudent to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate might 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 Hanford CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional 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 needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Hanford CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Hanford medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for 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 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 speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapist college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Hanford CA residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? The majority of DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hanford CA area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Hanford California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Hanford CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Hanford is an important commercial and cultural center in the south central San Joaquin Valley and is the county seat of Kings County, California. It is the principal city of the Hanford-Corcoran metropolitan area (MSA Code 25260), which encompasses all of Kings County, including the cities of Hanford and Corcoran. The ZIP Code is 93230 (93232 for post office boxes). The city of Hanford is surrounded by communities that do not fall within the city limits but use the same zip code. These communities include Grangeville, Hardwick and Home Garden.
Hanford is located at 36°19′39″N 119°38′44″W / 36.32750°N 119.64556°W / 36.32750; -119.64556 (36.3275, −119.6457). It is situated in the south central portion of California's San Joaquin Valley, 28 miles (45 km) south-southeast of the city of Fresno and 18 miles (29 km) west of the city of Visalia. The city is 249 feet (76 m) above sea level and has a flat terrain. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), none of which is covered by water. The only natural watercourse is Mussel Slough, remnants of which still exist on the city's western edge. The Kings River is about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) north of Hanford. The People's Ditch, an irrigation canal dug in the 1870s, traverses Hanford from north to south.
Hanford has a climate typical of that of the San Joaquin Valley floor with hot, dry summers and cool winters characterized by dense Tule fog. The wetter season occurs from November through March. The average annual rainfall over the ten years from 1997/98 through 2006/07 was 8.97 inches (228 mm). The 30-year normal precipitation (1971–2000) is 8.29 inches (211 mm).
Select the Right Physical Therapy College near Hanford CA
Selecting the right physical therapy school is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with active 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 additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Hanford CA.
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