How to Find the Right Physical Therapist College near Hermosa Beach 90254
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Hermosa Beach CA is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health 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 may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research those you are looking at to ensure they will supply a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be considered besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, including Hermosa Beach CA private practices, hospitals, 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 earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Hermosa Beach CA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Hermosa Beach CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by junior or community colleges, and take about two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take 4 years to finish and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 available in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Degrees Online
While not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Hermosa Beach 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 similar on campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Hermosa Beach CA area and across California, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make sure that you select the program that is right 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 reviewing. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few Hermosa Beach CA physical therapist centers or other health care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your program options. It may also be a good idea to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students left because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Hermosa Beach CA area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides both excellent training and a curriculum that supports the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have partnerships with Hermosa Beach CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Hermosa Beach medical community and help with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on 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 opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Hermosa Beach 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. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose 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 commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hermosa Beach CA area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, 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 may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Hermosa Beach California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Hermosa Beach CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Hermosa Beach, California
The city is located in the South Bay region of the greater Los Angeles area and is one of the three Beach Cities. Hermosa Beach is bordered by the other two, Manhattan Beach to the north and Redondo Beach to the south and east.
The city's beach is popular for sunbathing, beach volleyball, surfing, paddleboarding and bars. The city itself extends only about 15 blocks from east to west and 40 blocks from north to south, with the Pacific Coast Highway running down the middle. Situated on the Pacific Ocean, Hermosa's average temperature is 70 °F (22 °C) in the summer and 55 °F (13 °C) in the winter. Westerly sea breezes lessen what can be high summertime temperatures in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the county and help keep the smog away 360 days of the year.
A paved path, called The Strand, runs along Hermosa's beach from Torrance Beach in the south approximately twenty miles north to Santa Monica. The Hermosa Beach pier is at the end of Pier Avenue, which is one of the beach community's main shopping, eating and partying areas.
Select the Ideal Physical Therapy College near Hermosa Beach CA
Picking the right physical therapy college is an important initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you enroll in should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, bear in mind that many variables will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to 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 achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Hermosa Beach CA.
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