How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Lafayette 94549
Earning a physical therapy degree near Lafayette CA is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in every state, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are considering to ensure they will deliver a quality education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover 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 work in varying locations, including Lafayette CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help individuals that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Lafayette CA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise 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 field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degrees that are available in the Lafayette CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order 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 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an important element along with the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding 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 Therapist Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature 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 in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Lafayette CA home. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on-campus options, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online option the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your preliminary questions, such as the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Lafayette CA area and across California, you’ll have to research other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Moreover, you want to make sure that you select the college that is right for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Lafayette CA physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college options. It might also be a good idea to contact the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may indicate that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Lafayette CA area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even exceptional. It also confirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that satisfies 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 therapist college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are assessing have associations with Lafayette CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional connections in the Lafayette healthcare community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Lafayette CA residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of aid is available. At a minimum they should help in getting 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, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Lafayette CA area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn 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 Lafayette California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lafayette CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lafayette (formerly, La Fayette) is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. As of 2011, the city's population was estimated to be 24,285. It was named after the Marquis de La Fayette, a French military hero of the American Revolutionary War. Today Lafayette is known for its pastoral rolling hills, good schools, and wealthy inhabitants. In 2016, the median household income in Lafayette was over $140,000, more than twice the statewide average and about two and half times the national median.
Before the colonization of the region by Spain, Lafayette and its vicinity were inhabited by the Saclan tribe of the indigenous Bay Miwok. Ohlone also populated some of the areas along Lafayette Creek. The indigenous inhabitants' first contact with Europeans was in the late 18th century with the founding of Catholic missions in the region. These initial contacts developed into conflict, with years of armed struggle, including a battle on what is currently Lafayette soil in 1797 between the Saclan and the Spanish, and eventually resulting in the subjugation of the native population.
Most of what is currently Lafayette was given as a Mexican land grant, Rancho Acalanes to Candelario Valencia in 1834. The name Acalanes seems to have come from the name of a native village in the area, Ahala-n.
Choose the Right Physical Therapy College near Lafayette CA
Picking the best physical therapist school is an important first decision you have to make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional 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 variables will lead you toward your final decision. You may decide to visit each of the campuses to see their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Lafayette CA.
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