How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near La Jolla 92037
Receiving a physical therapist degree near La Jolla CA is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are looking at to make certain they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. 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 cheapest tuition. There are other relevant 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 address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as La Jolla CA hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other La Jolla CA health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee 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 field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the single 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 readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the La Jolla CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often made available by community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. 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 prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 3 years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, 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 available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s La Jolla CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you most likely have come to decision concerning several of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the La Jolla CA area and across California, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to be sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 enroll in an online college, 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 simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Call a few La Jolla CA physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest 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 find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the La Jolla CA area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare community is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have associations with La Jolla CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional relationships in the La Jolla medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind 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 colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their La Jolla CA residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school 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 often charge a higher tuition for those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial support to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the La Jolla CA area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near La Jolla California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the La Jolla CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
La Jolla (/ləˈhɔɪ.ə/; Spanish: [la ˈxoja]) is a hilly seaside and affluent community within the city of San Diego, California, United States, occupying 7 miles (11 km) of curving coastline along the Pacific Ocean within the northern city limits.
The population reported in the 2010 Census was 46,781. The 2004 estimated population was 42,808. La Jolla is surrounded on three sides by ocean bluffs and beaches and is located 12 miles (19 km) north of Downtown San Diego, and 40 miles (64 km) south of Orange County, The climate is mild, with an average daily temperature of 70.5 °F (21.4 °C)
La Jolla is home to a variety of businesses in the areas of lodging, dining, shopping, software, finance, real estate, bioengineering, medical practice and scientific research. The University of California San Diego (UCSD) is located in La Jolla, as are the Salk Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (part of UCSD), Scripps Research Institute, and the headquarters of National University (though its academic campuses are elsewhere).
Choose the Best Physical Therapist School near La Jolla CA
Selecting the right physical therapy school is an important first decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are other critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many factors will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to see their facilities and speak with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me realize 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 accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in La Jolla CA.
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