How to Select a Physical Therapist School near West Branch 48661
Receiving a physical therapy degree near West Branch MI is a critical first step to starting a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are considering to ensure they will supply a quality education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a college just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be considered besides cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including West Branch MI private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers 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 touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other West Branch MI medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degree Options
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these choices, the one degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are offered in the West Branch MI area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or can 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 degrees are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and take about 2 years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential initial step to becoming a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they typically require 4 years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required in order to become a licensed practicing 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 three years to finish, making the overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal component in addition to the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the completion of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the school campus or nearby a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s West Branch MI home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of cases more economical. Tuition might be significantly less than comparable 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 advantages may make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapist degree you want to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT colleges within the West Branch MI area and across Michigan, you’ll have to explore additional qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Find out if the programs you are considering have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 choose an online program, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Ranking? Along with accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Contact some West Branch MI physical therapist clinics or other medical care facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any insight about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Michigan Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the West Branch MI area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or perhaps excellent. It also confirms that the program has a wide network of contacts to assist students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the school you choose provides both excellent training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Michigan or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have associations with West Branch MI hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students form professional relationships in the West Branch healthcare community and assist with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their West Branch MI home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial assistance to their potential students. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have a financial assistance department and find out what type of assistance is obtainable. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any grants you may qualify 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, learn what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the West Branch MI area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near West Branch Michigan?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the West Branch MI area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
West Branch, Michigan
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, West Branch has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,139 people, 1,006 households, and 489 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,445.3 inhabitants per square mile (558.0/km2). There were 1,147 housing units at an average density of 775.0 per square mile (299.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.9% White, 0.5% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.7% of the population.
There were 1,006 households of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.9% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 51.4% were non-families. 45.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.99 and the average family size was 2.74.
Enroll in the Ideal Physical Therapy Training Program near West Branch MI
Choosing the best physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you need to make to start a rewarding career in the healthcare profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. But there are other critical questions that you need to ask concerning your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that numerous factors will lead you to your final decision. You may decide to visit different colleges to view their facilities and talk with current DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in West Branch MI.
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