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

How to Find the Right Physical Therapist Program near Austin 55912

Austin MN physical therapy school student with volunteerGetting a physical therapy degree near Austin MN is an important first step to launching a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must get the proper education and training. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s important to evaluate those you are looking at to make certain they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that must be evaluated besides location and cost. But before we cover 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 Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Austin MN physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in a variety of locations, such as Austin 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 earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are struggling with a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to deal with the mobility issues and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any advancement of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:

  • Osteoporosis and Arthritis
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Heart attacks.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Hip Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Austin MN health specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They can also manage several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering getting into the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapy Degrees Available

Austin MN physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapy degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the single degree that is attainable to practice as 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 brief explanations of degrees that are offered in the Austin MN area:

  • Associate Degrees prepare students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Candidates must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are most often provided by community colleges, and require two years for completion. Clinical training, which may be in the form of an internship is typically a portion of the program.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy training to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are a requirement if you want 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 3 years to finish, making the total commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the considerable lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in some states for licensing also.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been eliminated and is no longer attainable in the United States. Some licensed physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapy Degrees Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Austin MNAlthough not as common as the more traditional options, there are some accredited online physical therapy degrees 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 necessitates that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Austin MN residence. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat lower than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These advantages can make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are dedicated enough to learn at home.

Questions to Ask Physical Therapist Programs

At this point you probably have made a decision concerning several of your initial questions, like the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to earn, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT schools within the Austin MN area and across Minnesota, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of college choices. Also, you need to make sure that you choose the program that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing. Ask each of the competing schools these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the schools you are looking at have received accreditation from a regional or a national agency. As earlier 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 enroll in an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you select are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial aid.

What is the School’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can research a PT college’s reputation, beginning with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You may also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Get in touch with a few Austin MN physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations about your program selections. It might 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 Rate? There are a two significant statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapy schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may indicate that students dropped out because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Austin MN area? If a program has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the school has a wide network of contacts to assist students gain internships or employment upon graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s important that the school you select furnishes both superior training and a course of study that satisfies the licensing requirements for Minnesota or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapist program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on additional tests.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are interested in have relationships with Austin MN clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great manner to obtain hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they can help graduates and students form professional connections in the Austin medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.

What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy 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 several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Austin MN home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 Assistance Offered? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial assistance to their potential students. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial assistance office and see what type of help is available. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any grants you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist schools offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is too expensive, learn what financial aid might be available.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapy school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Austin 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 carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Austin Minnesota?

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

Austin, Minnesota

Austin is a city in Mower County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 24,718 at the 2010 census.[6] It is the county seat of Mower County.[7] The town was originally settled along the Cedar River and it has two artificial lakes called East Side Lake and Mill Pond. The town was named for Austin R. Nichols, the first settler in the area.[8]

Hormel Foods Corporation is the largest employer in Austin, and the town is sometimes called "SPAM Town USA".[9] Austin is home to Hormel's corporate headquarters, a factory that makes most of North America's SPAM tinned meat, and the Spam Museum. Austin is also home to the Hormel Institute, a leading cancer research institution operated by the University of Minnesota with significant support from the Mayo Clinic.[10]

Fertile land, trapping, and ease of access brought first trappers and then the early pioneers to this region. The rich gameland attracted a trapper named Austin Nichols, who built the first log cabin in 1853.[13] At that time there were "about twenty families in the area."[8] More settlers began to arrive by wagon train in 1855, and by 1856, enough people were present to organize Mower County.[8] It was in 1856 that the settlement adopted the name Austin, in honor of its first settler. That year the first hotel opened to travelers and the first physician moved to town, Dr. Ormanzo Allen. The first newspaper, the Mower County Mirror, was started in 1858.[8]

Select the Best Physical Therapy School near Austin MN

Choosing the ideal physical therapy school is an important initial decision you have to make to start a fulfilling career in the healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional relevant questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, bear in mind that a number of variables will lead you to your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me accomplish my goal of becoming a practicing licensed 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 necessary training and education, you can fulfill your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Austin MN.

A Few More Interesting Locations in Minnesota

  • Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Maynard MN
  • Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Wabasso MN
  • Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Grand Rapids MN
  • Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Slayton MN
  • Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Mountain Iron MN
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