How to Choose a Physical Therapy School near Spirit Lake 83869
Earning a physical therapist degree near Spirit Lake ID is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the proper education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s essential to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. 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 the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Spirit Lake ID hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain caused by injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Spirit Lake ID health professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more 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 quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the single degree that is attainable to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Spirit Lake ID area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often offered by junior or community colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep students to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 finish, making the total commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
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 United States. A number of practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
Although not as common as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Spirit Lake ID home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be significantly lower than similar on campus alternatives, and costs 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 alternative the right choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, like the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are so many PT schools within the Spirit Lake ID area and throughout Idaho, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you enroll in the program that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask each of the potential schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Find out if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 enroll in an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist community. There are several ways you can investigate 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 some Spirit Lake ID physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Idaho 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 useful statistics that you need to know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Spirit Lake ID area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also affirms that the school has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Idaho or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have relationships with Spirit Lake ID clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to receive hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Spirit Lake health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Spirit Lake ID residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Most DPT schools offer some type of financial support to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial aid office and find out what kind of assistance is available. 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 offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Spirit Lake ID area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Spirit Lake Idaho?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Spirit Lake ID area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Spirit Lake, Idaho
Spirit Lake is a city in Kootenai County, Idaho, United States. The population was 1,945 at the 2010 census, up from 1,376 in 2000. It is part of the Coeur d'Alene Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the entire county.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,945 people, 739 households, and 530 families residing in the city. The population density was 849.3 inhabitants per square mile (327.9/km2). There were 797 housing units at an average density of 348.0 per square mile (134.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.3% White, 0.2% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.8% of the population.
There were 739 households of which 38.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.3% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.06.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist School near Spirit Lake ID
Picking the ideal physical therapist program is an important first decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. But there are additional critical questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, keep in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to visit each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me reach 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 options so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Spirit Lake ID.
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