How to Select a Physical Therapy Program near Lathrop 95330
Earning a physical therapy degree near Lathrop CA is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper education and training. 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 ensure they will provide a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover 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 Lathrop CA hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Lathrop CA health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees
There are 3 physical therapy degree options available for students to enroll in 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 target either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Lathrop CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become 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 be accepted for enrollment. The programs are typically made available by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to complete and usually include 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to complete, making the overall investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is mandated, not only 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 attainable in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as common as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Lathrop CA residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition might be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you probably have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the Lathrop CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you want to make certain that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As previously 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 enroll in 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 enroll in are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Lathrop CA physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your program selections. It may also be prudent 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 School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are reviewing. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Lathrop CA area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps excellent. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for California or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have partnerships with Lathrop CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Lathrop medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for 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 classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Lathrop CA residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might 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 to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Offered? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. Some physical therapist colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Lathrop CA area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out 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 illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Lathrop California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Lathrop CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Lathrop is a city located in San Joaquin County, California, United States. The 2010 United States Census reported Lathrop’s population was 18,023. The city is located in Northern California at the intersection of Interstate 5 and SR 120.
Lathrop was platted when the railroad was extended to that point. A post office has been in operation at Lathrop since 1871. The city was named for the maiden name of the wife of Leland Stanford. In September 1869, four months after the railheads of the transcontinental railroad met at Promontory, Utah, the completion of the San Joaquin River Bridge at Mossdale crossing at Lathrop actually completed the west coast link.
On August 14, 1889 Chief Justice of California David S. Terry assaulted United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field, at the train station in Lathrop. Field's bodyguard United States Marshal David Neagle (formerly assigned to Tombstone, Arizona) shot and killed Terry. The events led the United States Supreme Court decision In re Neagle.
Pick the Ideal Physical Therapist College near Lathrop CA
Deciding on the right physical therapist school is an important initial decision you have to make to start a rewarding career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your final decision. You may 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 realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Lathrop CA.
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