How to Choose a Physical Therapist School near Albany 56307
Obtaining a physical therapy degree near Albany MN is an essential first step to launching a rewarding career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help patients who have been incapacitated due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to research the ones you are thinking about to make certain they will supply a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the closest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we cover what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in a variety of locations, including Albany MN hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they create a program of treatment to address the mobility issues and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also strive to stop any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close partnerships with other Albany MN medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short summaries of degree levels that are available in the Albany MN area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and usually include 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). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an important element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in some 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 phased out and is no longer available in the USA. A number of licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
While not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the course of study may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Albany MN residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and costs for commuting are reduced. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning several of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you intend to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Albany MN area and across Minnesota, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you choose the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the potential schools these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapy School Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are considering have earned accreditation from a regional or a national agency. 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the school and program you select have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with some Albany MN physical therapy centers or other medical care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any advice about your college options. It might also be prudent to check with the Minnesota Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the colleges.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a two important statistics that you need to find out 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 dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, how many of them are being hired with the support of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Albany MN area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care community is good or even exceptional. It also verifies that the school has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you enroll in provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing requirements for Minnesota or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internships Provided? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have partnerships with Albany MN clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to obtain practical training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Albany health care community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Albany MN home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT colleges provide some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the physical therapy college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Albany MN area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Albany Minnesota?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Albany MN area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $31,577, and the median income for a family was $41,118. Males had a median income of $31,858 versus $18,966 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,383. About 6.0% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.0% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,561 people, 1,030 households, and 657 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,213.7 inhabitants per square mile (468.6/km2). There were 1,071 housing units at an average density of 507.6 per square mile (196.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.6% White, 0.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.
There were 1,030 households of which 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.2% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.01.
Pick the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Albany MN
Deciding on the ideal physical therapist college is a necessary first decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the health care profession. As we have discussed in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your college of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that many factors will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit each of the colleges to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me realize my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the right choice. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Albany MN.
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