How to Choose a Physical Therapist College near Cottonwood 56229
Getting a physical therapist degree near Cottonwood MN is an important first step to starting a fulfilling career in the medical care field. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated as a result of illness or injury regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number requiring that the licensee hold a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before choosing a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to evaluate the ones you are looking at to ensure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing standards. What you do not want to do is choose a school just because it happens to be the closest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with cost and location. But before we talk about 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’s Job Description?
Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, such as Cottonwood MN private practices, hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are experiencing a lack of mobility and in many cases pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. While the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are abundant, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries.
- Heart attacks.
- Sports injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Knee Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Cottonwood MN medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, registered nurses and dentists. They may also oversee one or more physical therapy assistants who work for them in diagnosing and treating their patients. One thing to bear in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift patients and heavy equipment, and kneel, crouch and stand for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degrees Available
There are three physical therapy degrees available for individuals to pursue at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the only degree that is available to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees focus on either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or preparing them to advance to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Cottonwood MN area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to become physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The degrees are usually made available by community colleges, and take about 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 designed as pre-physical therapy education to prepare candidates to move up to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral initial step to practicing as a PT. Similar to most bachelor’s degrees, they normally require 4 years to complete and often include an internship program of a minimum of 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a practicing licensed 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 three years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in most cases. Practical or clinical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in several 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 attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists having a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapist Online Colleges
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapy degrees offered, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online part of the curriculum may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Cottonwood MN home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more affordable. Tuition can be somewhat less than comparable on campus options, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And many of the online schools are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits can make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are motivated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you probably have come to decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the kind of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to spend for your education. But because there are so many PT schools within the Cottonwood MN area and throughout Minnesota, you’ll need to look into additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of college options. Also, you need to be sure that you choose the school that is right for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask all of the potential colleges these questions before making an ultimate decision.
Is the Physical Therapy Program Accredited? Ask if the programs you are looking at have earned accreditation from a national or a regional agency. 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 enroll in an online college, it can also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you choose are accredited, not simply the school. Also, make sure that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation may be mandated for state licensing as well as for getting student loans or financial aid.
What is the College’s Reputation? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the college and program you choose have outstanding reputations within the physical therapy profession. There are multiple ways you can look into a PT school’s reputation, starting with asking for 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 also. Get in touch with some Cottonwood MN physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any advice about your school 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 submitted against the schools.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of significant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapist schools you are looking at. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students dropped out because of displeasure 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 Cottonwood MN area? If a college has a higher job placement rate, it suggests that its reputation within the health care field is good or even outstanding. It also affirms that the program has a broad network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Does the College Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in provides 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 required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) along with a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed as well as passing scores on supplemental tests.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have partnerships with Cottonwood MN hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to receive 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 develop professional connections in the Cottonwood healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapy school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Cottonwood MN residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Most DPT schools offer some form of financial assistance to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are examining have a financial assistance department and see what kind of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in securing a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others offer work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is beyond your budget, ask what financial assistance may be available.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Cottonwood MN area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Cottonwood Minnesota?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Cottonwood MN area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Cottonwood County, Minnesota
Cottonwood County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 11,687. Its county seat is Windom. The county was formed in 1857 and organized in 1870.
Cottonwood County was established May 23, 1857 and formally organized on July 29, 1870. It was named after the Cottonwood River - a translation of the Dakota Sioux name, "Waraju" - which runs through the northeast corner of Germantown Township. The river received its name from the abundance of cottonwood trees on its banks.
Minnesota Governor Austin appointed three county commissioners when the county was established. They met at a private home about six miles northwest of Windom on the Des Moines River at Big Bend. During this meeting, they designated the commissioners districts and changed various county officers. In the fall of 1870, the first general election was held. The first deed on record was filed on January 10, 1870. The first land assessments were made in 1871, and in 1872, the first taxes were paid.
Choose the Best Physical Therapy Training Program near Cottonwood MN
Deciding on the best physical therapist college is an important first decision you must make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have covered in this article, the DPT or PT degree program and school you choose should both have exceptional reputations and accreditation. But there are other important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice as well. As you start your search for a physical therapy college, keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you to your ultimate decision. You may want to go to different colleges to view their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the field so you can make the ideal selection. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Cottonwood MN.
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