How to Choose a Physical Therapist Degree Program near Bellingham 56212
Getting a physical therapy degree near Bellingham MN is an essential first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been debilitated due to illness or injury gain back mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, many mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s important to investigate those you are considering to make sure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a college simply because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Bellingham 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 diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are suffering from a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems 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
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Bellingham MN medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They can also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to bear in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and kneel, crouch and stand for long periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degree options available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degree levels that are available in the Bellingham MN area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are typically provided by community colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the program.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapy education to ready candidates to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral preliminary step to practicing as a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to finish and commonly incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are required 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). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the total investment of time 7 years in the majority of cases. Practical or clinical training is an essential element in addition to the considerable classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment 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 available in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the existing licensing mandate for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Colleges Online
While not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are a number of accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, even more at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Bellingham MN home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more economical. Tuition may be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online option the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to learn at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
At this point you most likely have made a decision concerning some of your initial queries, including the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to attain, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But since there are so many PT colleges within the Bellingham MN area and across Minnesota, you’ll have to research other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school options. Also, you want to make certain that you pick the college that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapy schools you are considering. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Find out if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a regional or a national organization. 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 choose an online college, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy school and program you select are accredited, not simply the school. Additionally, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT school’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact some Bellingham MN physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can give you any insight 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 schools.
What is the College’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two useful statistics that you should know about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may mean that students left because of displeasure 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 Bellingham MN area? If a program has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you select provides both excellent training and a course of study that satisfies 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 therapist college. Although licensing requirements differ state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are interested in have partnerships with Bellingham MN hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they can help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Bellingham medical community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher 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 an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the physical therapist school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Bellingham MN residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 might be required 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 Provided? Most DPT schools supply some type of financial support to their prospective students. Find out if the schools you are considering have a financial aid department and find out what kind of aid is available. They at least should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. A number of physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a school because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the physical therapist school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Bellingham 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 credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Bellingham Minnesota?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Bellingham MN area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
As of the census of 2010, there were 168 people, 82 households, and 52 families residing in the city. The population density was 420.0 inhabitants per square mile (162.2/km2). There were 106 housing units at an average density of 265.0 per square mile (102.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 100.0% White. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.
There were 82 households of which 18.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 8.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.6% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.05 and the average family size was 2.50.
The median age in the city was 53.8 years. 16.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 13.8% were from 25 to 44; 35.6% were from 45 to 64; and 29.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.8% male and 48.2% female.
Select the Right Physical Therapy Degree Program near Bellingham MN
Choosing the best physical therapist school is a necessary first decision you need to make to start a fulfilling career in the health care profession. As we have addressed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you select should both have excellent reputations and accreditation. However there are additional critical questions that you should ask regarding your school of choice also. As you commence your search for a physical therapy school, bear in mind that many variables will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different campuses to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Bellingham MN.
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