Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Rockford MI

How to Enroll In a Physical Therapy College near Rockford 49341

Rockford MI physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Rockford MI is an important first step to launching a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been disabled as a result of injury or illness gain back mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to ensure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. 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 relevant qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. 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?

Rockford MI physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in diverse settings, including Rockford MI hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Rockford MI medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees

Rockford MI physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Rockford MI area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer available in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.

Physical Therapy Online Programs

woman attending physical therapy school online in Rockford MIWhile not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy programs 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 close to the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Rockford MI home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapist Schools

By now you most likely have come to decision concerning a few of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Rockford MI area and across Michigan, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you want to be sure that you choose the school that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you must ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy College Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously 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 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 school and program you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.

What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. 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 Rockford MI physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Michigan Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Rockford MI area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both excellent training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Michigan or the state where you will be practicing. 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 program. Although licensing requirements vary 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 Offered? Ask if the physical therapy colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Rockford MI hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Rockford health care community and assist with job placement once licensed.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Rockford MI residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance department and find out what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may qualify for. Some physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Rockford MI area, verify 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 carry. 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 Rockford Michigan?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Rockford MI area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Rockford, Michigan

The Rockford area was first visited and inhabited by Native American cultures, such as the Hopewell, Mascouten, and Ottawa tribes. There have not been archeological finds of Native American settlements in the Rogue River valley, but their trails branched through the area and were noted by early surveyors.

The first important settler of what would become the city of Rockford was Smith Lapham, who had come to Kent County in 1843 after living in Washtenaw County for 18 years. Smith Lapham came to the banks of the Rogue to assist in the completion of a dam and sawmill begun by a William Hunter. Hunter gave Lapham 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land on the east side of the Rogue for his trouble, and Lapham stayed there for the rest of his life. Hunter shortly left the area.

Lapham built his own sawmill on his side of the river, which was completed by 1844. Other settlers soon followed, including John Long, Freeman Burch, and William Thornton. By the fall of 1845, the settlement had about 5 houses. Since the settlement existed largely on land owned or sold by Smith Lapham, it became known as Laphamville. In 1856 it was first platted as Laphamville by William Thornton.

Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapist School near Rockford MI

Picking the ideal physical therapist school is an important initial decision you need to make to launch a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that numerous variables will lead you to your final decision. You might want to go to different colleges to see their facilities and speak with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper training and education, you can fulfill your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Rockford MI.

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