How to Select a Physical Therapist College near La Mesa 91941
Getting a physical therapy degree near La Mesa CA is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered in addition to 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 the options for education.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as La Mesa CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. 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 people that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other La Mesa CA medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather 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 Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the La Mesa CA area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can 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 programs are typically offered by community colleges, and require 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 designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 investment of time 7 years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Schools Online
Although not as common as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s La Mesa CA home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, including the type of physical therapy degree you intend to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the La Mesa CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you pick the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are reviewing 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 select an online program, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact a few La Mesa CA physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your school options. It may also be prudent to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two relevant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist colleges you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the La Mesa CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even exceptional. It also affirms that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria 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) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have associations with La Mesa CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the La Mesa medical community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom 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 colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their La Mesa CA home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their potential students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid office and find out what kind of aid is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapy program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the La Mesa CA area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn 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 Mesa California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the La Mesa CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
La Mesa, California
La Mesa is a city in Southern California, located 9 miles (14 km) east of Downtown San Diego in San Diego County. The population was 57,065 at the 2010 census, up from 54,749 at the 2000 census. Its civic motto is "the Jewel of the Hills."
La Mesa in Spanish means "the table", or alternately "the plateau", relating to its geography. La Mesa was part of a larger tract, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and was used by Spanish Missionaries.
La Mesa was founded in 1869 and The City of La Mesa was incorporated on February 16, 1912, under the general laws of the state of California. As such, it does not have a city charter but operates under the laws of the state of California in all respects not specifically covered by any city ordinance.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist Degree Program near La Mesa CA
Picking the best physical therapist college is an important first decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might want to go to different schools to view their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in La Mesa CA.
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