How to Choose a Physical Therapist College near La Canada Flintridge 91011
Earning a physical therapy degree near La Canada Flintridge CA is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the appropriate training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are looking at to ensure they will provide a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is choose a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including La Canada Flintridge CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other La Canada Flintridge CA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone considering going into 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 long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the La Canada Flintridge CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy training to prepare students to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of 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 a requirement 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 three years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not solely for graduation but in a number of 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 attainable in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
Although not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s La Canada Flintridge CA home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly less than similar on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools 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.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you probably have made a decision regarding some of your initial questions, such as the type of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the La Canada Flintridge CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s why we have put together a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously mentioned, 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 school, it may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you choose have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’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. Call a few La Canada Flintridge CA physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your college options. It may also be prudent to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the La Canada Flintridge CA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the college has a wide network of contacts to help students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with La Canada Flintridge 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 most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the La Canada Flintridge healthcare community and assist with job placement once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their La Canada Flintridge CA residence. Those who have chosen 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the La Canada Flintridge CA area, make certain that they are offered. 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 need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near La Canada Flintridge California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the La Canada Flintridge CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
La Cañada Flintridge, California
La Cañada Flintridge is a city in Los Angeles County, California, with a population of 20,246 in 2010. It is located in the Crescenta Valley and far western end of the San Gabriel Valley, to the northwest of Pasadena. It is the home of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA.
During the Spanish and Mexican eras, the area was known as Rancho La Cañada. Before the city's incorporation in 1976, it consisted of two distinct communities, La Cañada and Flintridge. La Cañada comes from the Spanish word cañada (pronounced "canyada"), meaning canyon, gorge, or ravine; Flintridge was named after its developer, United States Senator Frank P. Flint.
Flintridge comprises the southern part of the city, covering the northern flank of the San Rafael Hills, but more generally including most areas south of Foothill Blvd. The eastern part, even north of Foothill Blvd., was also originally considered Flintridge and is still home to the Flintridge Riding Club and Flintridge Preparatory School.
Select the Right Physical Therapist College near La Canada Flintridge CA
Selecting the ideal physical therapist college is an important first decision you have to make to launch a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you pick should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in La Canada Flintridge CA.
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