How to Choose a Physical Therapist School near Live Oak 95953
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Live Oak CA is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary 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 school. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research those you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with 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 what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in diverse settings, including Live Oak CA private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Live Oak CA health professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy field, it is quite 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 Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to become 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 brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Live Oak CA area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and usually include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 3 years to finish, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not solely 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 eliminated and is no longer available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online part of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Live Oak CA home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the right choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT colleges within the Live Oak CA area and throughout California, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further narrow your list of college choices. Also, you need to make certain that you choose the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the programs you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with ensuring that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call several Live Oak CA physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your school options. It might also be prudent to check with the California Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students left due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Live Oak CA area? If a school has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a course of study 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. While licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist programs you are evaluating have associations with Live Oak CA clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great means to get practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may help students and graduates form professional connections in the Live Oak medical community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Live Oak CA residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance office and find out what type of help is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Live Oak CA area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Live Oak California?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Live Oak CA area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Live Oak, California
Choose the Best Physical Therapist School near Live Oak CA
Selecting the ideal physical therapy program is a necessary first decision you must make to start a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are additional important questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist program, keep in mind that many variables will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Live Oak CA.
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