Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Atwater MN

How to Find the Right Physical Therapy Program near Atwater 56209

Atwater MN physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Atwater MN is a critical first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been debilitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, many mandating that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a superior education and comply with your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is enroll in a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be considered besides location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.

What is a Physical Therapist?

Atwater MN physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists practice in varying locations, including Atwater MN 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 earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a program of treatment to resolve the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also endeavor to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Strokes.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Sciatica.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Atwater MN health specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to take note of for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degree Options

Atwater MN physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degrees offered for students to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these choices, the only degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Atwater MN area:

  • Associate Degrees train students to become physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually provided by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapy education to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. While they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential first step to practicing as a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order 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 3 years to complete, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential component along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion 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 eliminated and is no longer offered in the United States. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Online Schools

woman attending physical therapy school online in Atwater MNAlthough not as prevalent as the more traditional alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online portion of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Atwater MN home. Online programs are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be significantly lower than similar on-campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.

What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs

By now you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning a few of your initial queries, such as the type of physical therapy degree you intend to obtain, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are so many PT colleges within the Atwater MN area and throughout Minnesota, you’ll need to research other qualifications also so as to further reduce your list of school options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you select the school that is best for you. That’s the reason we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy programs you are considering. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions before making a final selection.

Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited?  Find out if the programs you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online program, it can also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Also, check that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial assistance.

What is the Program’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s essential that the college and program you select have excellent reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Get in touch with some Atwater MN physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any advice about your college selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Minnesota Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the schools.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should find out about each of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out due to displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Atwater MN area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the college has a wide network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the program you select furnishes both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Minnesota or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional exams.

Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Atwater MN clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Atwater healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.

Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Atwater MN home. Students who have decided 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Find out if the colleges you are considering have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of help is offered. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College 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 especially important if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Atwater MN area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Atwater Minnesota?

If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Atwater MN area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.

Atwater, Minnesota

Atwater is part of a consolidated school district with the cities of Cosmos and Grove City, which comprise the "ACGC" school district. Their mascot name is the Falcons. School colors are teal, black and silver. Currently, students in grades 5-12 attend classes in the neighboring town of Grove City. Younger students from Atwater attend ACGC North Elementary located approximately one-quarter mile from the downtown.

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,133 people, 468 households, and 312 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,100.0 inhabitants per square mile (424.7/km2). There were 494 housing units at an average density of 479.6 per square mile (185.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.2% White, 0.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 2.0% from other races, and 0.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population.

There were 468 households of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.3% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.91.

Choose the Best Physical Therapy Degree Program near Atwater MN

Picking the ideal physical therapy school is a necessary initial decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the medical profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and accreditation. However there are additional important questions that you should ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist school, keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the campuses to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me achieve my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the best selection. And with the proper education and training, you can achieve your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Atwater MN.

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