How to Select a Physical Therapy Degree Program near Muskegon 49440
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Muskegon MI is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to get the proper education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are looking at to make sure they will furnish a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you do not want to do is enroll in a college simply because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying settings, including Muskegon MI 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 mentioned, 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 design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to prevent any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Muskegon MI health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also manage one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapy degrees available for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Muskegon MI area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically provided by community or junior colleges, and require two years for completion. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a portion of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy education to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take four years to finish and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must 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 most cases. Clinical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in several states for licensing also.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Muskegon MI home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you most likely have made a decision regarding a few of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Muskegon MI area and across Michigan, you’ll have to research additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Moreover, you want to make certain that you enroll in 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 therapy colleges you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Find out if the schools you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it may also earn 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. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing and even 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 select have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research 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 as well. Contact several Muskegon MI physical therapy clinics or other medical care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your college selections. It may also be prudent to contact the Michigan Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapist programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the teachers, 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 Muskegon MI area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Michigan 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 therapy school. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have relationships with Muskegon MI hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great means to obtain practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Muskegon health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big 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 undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Muskegon MI home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid department and see what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Muskegon MI area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask 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 Muskegon Michigan?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Muskegon MI area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Muskegon (/mʌˈskiːɡən/) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, and is the largest populated city on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan. At the 2010 census the city population was 38,401. The city is the county seat of Muskegon County. It is located at the southwest corner of Muskegon Township, but is administratively autonomous.
Human occupation of the Muskegon area goes back seven or eight thousand years to the nomadic Paleo-Indian hunters who occupied the area following the retreat of the Wisconsonian glaciations. The Paleo-Indians were superseded by several stages of Woodland Indian developments, the most notable of whom were the Hopewellian type-tradition, which occupied this area, perhaps two thousand years ago.
During historic times, the Muskegon area was inhabited by various bands of the Ottawa and Pottawatomi Indian tribes, but by 1830 Muskegon was solely an Ottawa village. Perhaps the best remembered of the Indian inhabitants of the area was the Ottawa Indian Chief, Pendalouan. A leading participant in the French-inspired annihilation of the Fox Indians of Illinois in the 1730s, Pendalouan and his people lived in the Muskegon vicinity during the 1730s and 1740s until induced by the French to move their settlement to the Traverse Bay area in 1742.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Muskegon MI
Selecting the best physical therapist program is an important first decision you must make to launch a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have addressed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you pick should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Muskegon MI.
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