How to Pick a Physical Therapy College near La Palma 90623
Receiving a physical therapy degree near La Palma CA is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about 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 a variety of locations, including La Palma CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other La Palma CA medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the single 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 prepping them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short explanations of degrees that are available in the La Palma CA area:
- Associate Degrees train students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and take about 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 designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an important component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only 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. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Degrees Online
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s La Palma CA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning some of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT schools within the La Palma CA area and throughout California, you’ll need to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Moreover, you need to be sure that you choose the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier 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 may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT school’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few La Palma CA physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your school selections. It might 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 schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of significant statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the La Palma CA area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also affirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment after graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies 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 therapy school. While 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 Internships Sponsored? Inquire if the physical therapy programs you are evaluating have partnerships with La Palma CA hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships 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 secondary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the La Palma medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their La Palma CA home. Students who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapist program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the La Palma CA area, check 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 enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near La Palma California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the La Palma CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
La Palma, California
In 2013, La Palma was ranked 31st in the "Best places to live" among small cities (50,000 or less) in the United States by CNN's Money magazine. In 2007, it was ranked 16th best place to live in the US. The rankings are based on the small-and-friendly neighborhood vibe, high-ranking schools, low crime-rate and the lowest police response time in Orange County.
La Palma was incorporated on October 26, 1955. It was originally incorporated as Dairyland, and was one of three dairy cities in the region (the other two being Dairy Valley in Cerritos and Dairy City in Cypress) but when the dairies moved east in 1965, the name of the community was changed to La Palma, after the region's Spanish heritage and its main thoroughfare, La Palma Avenue.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.83 square miles (4.7 km2). 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) of it is land and 0.02 square miles (0.052 km2) of it (1.32%) is water. This makes it the smallest city in Orange County in terms of area.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist School near La Palma CA
Picking the best physical therapy school is a necessary first decision you must make to start a fulfilling career in the health care field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous factors will guide you to your final decision. You might want to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in La Palma CA.
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