How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Swartz Creek 48473
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Swartz Creek MI is a critical first step to beginning a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been incapacitated as a result of injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will supply a superior education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence 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 the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including Swartz Creek MI hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously touched on, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Swartz Creek MI medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, 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 going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degrees that are available in the Swartz Creek MI area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may 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 require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate 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 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 complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important component along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just 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 phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Schools
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Swartz Creek MI residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you most likely have made a decision regarding several of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want 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 schools within the Swartz Creek MI area and throughout Michigan, you’ll have to explore other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of school options. Also, you want to make sure that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s why we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are considering. Ask each of the competing schools these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s important that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Call a few Swartz Creek MI physical therapist centers or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school options. It may also be prudent to contact the Michigan Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might 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 placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Swartz Creek MI area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the Program Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the college you enroll in provides both superior training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Michigan or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are reviewing have associations with Swartz Creek MI hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent way to obtain hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Swartz Creek healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Swartz Creek MI residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some type of financial aid to their potential students. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial assistance might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Swartz Creek MI area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Swartz Creek Michigan?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Swartz Creek MI area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Swartz Creek, Michigan
Swartz Creek is a city in Genesee County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,758 at the 2010 census. The city is a suburb of Flint and has incorporated land formerly within Flint Charter Township, Gaines Township, and Clayton Township, but is administratively autonomous from all three.
The Indians travel the trail that paralleled the Swartz Creek to reach the maple trees on what would later be the Crapo Farm and to fish, fruit gathering and hunting while the trail terminated in the Lansing area.
The Miller Settlement, and future core Swartz Creek community, was founded in June 1836 when it was first settled by Adam Miller, a German, and his family of eleven children in then Flint Township at its original size of 9 township survey areas. On March 11, 1837, just weeks after Michigan became a state, the southern area that would make up the community was placed into Mundy Township.Flushing Township was formed on March 6, 1838, split off from Flint Township, and included the northern part of the settlement. Two settlers were buried on the Miller property before that acre was deeded to Flushing township by Adam Miller.
Choose the Right Physical Therapist Training Program near Swartz Creek MI
Selecting the right physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that a number of factors will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to visit each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me accomplish my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Swartz Creek MI.
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