How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Degree Program near Andover 55304
Earning a physical therapist degree near Andover MN is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to illness or injury regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary education and training. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, 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 investigate those you are looking at to ensure they will deliver a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be considered along with 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?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Andover MN private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and often pain due to injury or illness. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also try to prevent any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Andover MN medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapist degree options available for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only 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 prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are short descriptions of degree levels that are offered in the Andover MN area:
- Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are most often provided by junior or community colleges, and require two years to complete. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is usually a portion of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist training to ready candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated 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 commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely 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 offered in the United States. A number of licensed physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Programs Online
While not as prevalent as the more traditional options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, clinical lab work and internships are combined with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online part of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Andover MN residence. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in a number of cases more affordable. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online option the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Schools
At this point you probably have come to decision regarding some of your preliminary queries, such as the type of physical therapist degree you want to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Andover MN area and across Minnesota, you’ll have to look into additional qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you want to make sure that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have compiled a list of important questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a regional or a national organization. As earlier mentioned, 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 school, it can also receive 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, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the Program’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Andover MN physical therapist clinics or other health care facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your college selections. It might also be prudent to contact the Minnesota Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been submitted against the schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of useful statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy colleges you are considering. One 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, how many of them are being hired with the support of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Andover MN area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to assist students get internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select provides both superior training and a course of study that supports the licensing criteria for Minnesota or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required 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 number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have relationships with Andover MN hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional relationships in the Andover healthcare community and help with job placement after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the physical therapist college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Andover MN home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Help Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at have a financial assistance office and see what type of assistance is offered. They at least should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you may qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the physical therapist school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Andover MN area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Andover Minnesota?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Andover MN area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.83 square miles (90.21 km2), of which, 33.88 square miles (87.75 km2) is land and 0.95 square miles (2.46 km2) is water. County Roads 9, 18, 78, and 116 are the main routes in the community. U.S. Highway 10 is in close proximity to the city.
As of the census of 2010, there were 30,598 people, 9,811 households, and 8,357 families residing in the city. The population density was 903.1 inhabitants per square mile (348.7/km2). There were 10,091 housing units at an average density of 297.8 per square mile (115.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.2% White, 1.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.0% of the population.
There were 9,811 households of which 47.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.2% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 14.8% were non-families. 10.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.11 and the average family size was 3.35.
Pick the Right Physical Therapy College near Andover MN
Deciding on the best physical therapist college is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a rewarding career in the healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask regarding your school of choice also. As you begin your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that numerous variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this college 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 field so you can make the ideal choice. And with the proper training and education, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Andover MN.
A Few More Interesting Locations in Minnesota
Business Results 1 - 10 of 137