How to Pick a Physical Therapy School near Alexandria 56308
Earning a physical therapist degree near Alexandria MN is an important first step to beginning a rewarding career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the proper training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research those you are considering to ensure they will supply a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has the lowest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss 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 is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of locations, such as Alexandria MN hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier stated, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Alexandria MN medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee 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 getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Offered
There are 3 physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Alexandria 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 obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually offered by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is normally a portion of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to finish and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 finish, making the total investment of time seven years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in a number of 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the USA. Some licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Colleges Online
Although not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are a number of accredited online physical therapist programs offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Alexandria MN residence. Online programs are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition can be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapist Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have come to decision regarding a few of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Alexandria MN area and throughout Minnesota, you’ll need to research other qualifications also so as to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you enroll in the college that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a regional or a national 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 select an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapist school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to ensuring that you receive a quality education, accreditation might be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Reputation? In addition to accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist community. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You may also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Alexandria MN physical therapist clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to check with the Minnesota Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two relevant statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate might indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Alexandria MN area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides both exceptional training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Minnesota or the state where you will be practicing. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internships Offered? Find out if the physical therapy colleges you are assessing have relationships with Alexandria MN hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive hands on experience in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Alexandria medical community and assist with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Alexandria MN residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? The majority of DPT schools supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are examining have a financial aid department and find out what kind of help is available. They at least should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you might be eligible for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapist college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Alexandria MN area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Alexandria Minnesota?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Alexandria MN area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Alexandria is a city and the county seat of Douglas County, Minnesota. First settled in 1858, it was named after brothers Alexander and William Kinkead from Maryland. The form of the name alludes to Alexandria, Egypt, a center of learning and civilization.
The village of Alexandria was incorporated February 20, 1877. Its city charter was adopted in 1908, and it was incorporated as a city in 1909. W.E. Hicks was pivotal to the early development of the town. He purchased the townsite in 1868 and established a mill, hotel, newspaper, and store. He donated property for a courthouse, jail, and two churches: Methodist and Congregational.
The population was 11,070 as of the 2010 census. Alexandria is located near Interstate 94, along Minnesota State Highways 27 and 29. Lake Carlos State Park is ten miles north of Alexandria. In 2013, Alexandria was picked as a "Top 10 Best Small Town" by the Livability website. The city is often abbreviated as "Alex" (pronounced "Alek").
Choose the Ideal Physical Therapist Training Program near Alexandria MN
Choosing the ideal physical therapy college is an important initial decision you have to make to begin a rewarding career in the medical field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you decide on should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other relevant questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You might want to go to each of the colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Alexandria MN.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Minnesota