Physical Therapist Schools | Get Your Physical Therapy Degree – Big Lake MN

How to Choose a Physical Therapy College near Big Lake 55309

Big Lake MN physical therapy school student with volunteerEarning a physical therapy degree near Big Lake MN is a critical first step to launching a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to obtain the necessary training and education. A PT must also be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So prior to enrolling in a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate those you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the lowest tuition. There are other important qualifications that need to be evaluated besides cost and location. But before we cover what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and what the educational options are.

What is a Physical Therapist’s Job Description?

Big Lake MN physical therapist helping patient walkPhysical therapists work in varying settings, including Big Lake MN hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously stated, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they develop a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to prevent any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:

  • Arthritis or Osteoporosis
  • Car or motor cycle accidents
  • Head injuries.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Fire injuries.
  • Knee Replacement.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Cerebral Palsy.

Licensed physical therapists work in close partnerships with other Big Lake MN medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them assisting with diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for long periods of time on a daily basis.

Physical Therapist Degrees Available

Big Lake MN physical therapist applying acupuncture to patientThere are three physical therapist degrees offered for students to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief summaries of degrees that are offered in the Big Lake MN area:

  • Associate Degrees educate students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community colleges, and require two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
  • Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapy training to prep candidates to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be a candidate for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. As with most bachelor’s degrees, they normally take four years to complete and commonly incorporate an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
  • Doctorate Degrees are required 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 overall commitment 7 years in most cases. Clinical or practical training is an essential element along with the extensive lab and classroom instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not only for graduation but in several 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 having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.

Physical Therapist Colleges Online

woman attending physical therapy school online in Big Lake MNWhile not as prevalent as the on campus alternatives, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. However, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Big Lake MN home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition can be somewhat 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 advantages may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.

Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges

At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision regarding several of your preliminary questions, like the type of physical therapist degree you intend to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Big Lake MN area and across Minnesota, you’ll have to explore other qualifications as well so as to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to be sure that you select the school that is best for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of critical questions that you need to ask the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions prior to making an ultimate selection.

Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited?  Ask if the colleges you are considering have received accreditation from a national or a regional agency. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you enroll in an online program, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapy program and school you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with ensuring that you obtain an excellent education, accreditation may be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial aid.

What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the college and program you pick have excellent reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are several ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, beginning with asking for 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. Get in touch with a few Big Lake MN physical therapist centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school selections. It may also be prudent to check with the Minnesota Attorney General and school licensing authority to find out if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.

What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapy programs you are looking at. One is their graduation rate. A low rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. After the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the help of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Big Lake MN area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to help students gain internships or jobs after graduation.

Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the program you choose furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing criteria for Minnesota or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy program. While licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask if the physical therapist schools you are assessing have partnerships with Big Lake MN hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Not only are internships an excellent manner to get practical training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Big Lake health care community and assist with obtaining employment once licensed.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Big Lake MN home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose 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 normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some type of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have a financial aid office and see what type of help is offered. At a minimum they should help in getting a student loan or any scholarships you might be eligible for. Some physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is too expensive, ask what financial assistance might be available.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the physical therapist program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Big Lake MN area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Big Lake Minnesota?

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

Big Lake, Minnesota

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.92 square miles (7.56 km2); 2.11 square miles (5.46 km2) is land and 0.81 square miles (2.10 km2) is water.[1] A portion of the city lies along the Elk River.

Located about forty-one miles northwest of the Twin Cities, Big Lake was once a popular location for escapes from the city, its lakes dotted with summer cabins. Now it is considered an exurb of the metro area,[7] with a significant portion of residents commuting into the Cities daily.

The lake for which the town is named was once an important part of the Twin Cities economy, as in the days before modern refrigerators, much of the ice for metropolitan iceboxes was harvested from Big Lake.[8]

Pick the Ideal Physical Therapy Degree Program near Big Lake MN

Picking the right physical therapist college is an important initial decision you must make to start a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and college you choose should both have exceptional reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask pertaining to your school of choice also. As you start your search for a physical therapist college, keep in mind that many variables will lead you toward your final decision. You might decide to go to different campuses to see their facilities and talk to current 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 following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the best choice. And with the proper training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a licensed physical therapist in Big Lake MN.

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