How to Enroll In a Physical Therapist College near Brainerd 56401
Receiving a physical therapist degree near Brainerd MN is an essential first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness gain back function and mobility. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the necessary training and education. A PT must additionally become licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are considering to make certain they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a college just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that must be considered in addition to location and cost. But before we cover 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 is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, such as Brainerd MN hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and often pain caused by illness or injury. After patient diagnosis, they design a program of treatment to resolve the mobility problems and reduce or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Although the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close association with other Brainerd MN medical professionals, including doctors, chiropractors, registered nurses and dentists. They may also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work under them in diagnosing and treating their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering going into the physical therapy profession, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists routinely lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees
There are 3 physical therapist degrees available for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees concentrate on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or prepping them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short explanations of degree levels that are offered in the Brainerd MN area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The degrees are most often offered by community or junior colleges, and take about 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is usually part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to advance to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important first step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they typically take 4 years to finish and usually 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 must also 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 investment of time seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is required, not just for graduation but in a number of 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 United States. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in prior to the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Programs
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus alternatives, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Because of the hands-on structure of the training, internships and clinical lab work are incorporated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live close to the college campus or nearby an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Brainerd MN home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on-campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Topics to Ask Physical Therapist Programs
At this point you most likely have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you want to obtain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to spend for your education. But since there are numerous PT colleges within the Brainerd MN area and across Minnesota, you’ll need to look into other qualifications also in order to further narrow your list of college choices. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you enroll in the school that is ideal for you. That’s why we have compiled a list of essential questions that you must ask the physical therapist schools you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing schools these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online school, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Additionally, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to ensuring that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for getting student loans or financial assistance.
What is the College’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also search for online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Contact a few Brainerd MN physical therapy clinics or other healthcare facilities that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can give you any recommendations about your school selections. It might also be a good idea to contact the Minnesota Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you should know about all of the physical therapy colleges you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students left because of dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, how many of them are being placed in jobs with the help of the school’s job placement program, particularly in the Brainerd MN area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the health care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also verifies that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s imperative that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports 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) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Find out if the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing have relationships with Brainerd MN clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only a terrific means to get hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are additionally a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they can assist graduates and students establish professional relationships in the Brainerd medical community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Brainerd MN home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously 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 decide to enroll in a college 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Provided? Most DPT colleges provide some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial assistance office and find out what type of aid is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. A number of physical therapist schools provide scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Brainerd MN area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Brainerd Minnesota?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Brainerd MN area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Brainerd is a city in Crow Wing County, Minnesota, United States. Its population was 13,592 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Crow Wing County, and is one of the largest cities in Central Minnesota. Brainerd straddles the Mississippi River several miles upstream from its confluence with the Crow Wing River, having been founded as a site for a railroad crossing above said confluence. Brainerd is the principal city of the Brainerd Micropolitan Area, a micropolitan area covering Cass and Crow Wing counties and with a combined population of 91,067 as of the 2010 census. The Brainerd area serves as a major tourist destination for Minnesota, and Baxter is a regional retail center.
Brainerd is the home to one of five medevac helicopter flight stations in the state for "AirCare," operated by North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, a Level 1 Trauma Center. This station covers the central part of Minnesota. The city is also known for the Brainerd International Raceway, which hosts races frequently throughout the year and has a national drag racing meet annually in August.
The area that is now Brainerd was traditionally territory inhabited by the Ojibwe. Brainerd was first seen by European settlers on Christmas Day in 1805, when Zebulon Pike stopped there while searching for the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Crow Wing Village, a fur and logging community near Fort Ripley, brought settlers to the area in the mid-19th century.
Select the Best Physical Therapist School near Brainerd MN
Selecting the ideal physical therapist program is an important first decision you have to make to launch a rewarding career in the medical profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you pick should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your college of choice as well. As you begin your search for a physical therapist program, bear in mind that many factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You may decide to go to different colleges to see their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this school help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can achieve your dream to become a licensed physical therapist in Brainerd MN.
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